Monday, February 20, 2012

Route to Roots

Hello friends,

After a really long time, I'm actually writing something. That's because after a really long time I'm actually free. First of all I would like to thank Farhan Ashraf, for suggesting this wonderful title 'Route to Roots' for the memoir that I'm going to pen down during my travel.

My last two years had been very enriching for me. I took some radical decisions: didn't take up campus placement, pursued the idea(thewittyshit.com) that I was passionate about, somehow managed to instill belief into my parents and family members about my decision, steered its growth to what it has become today along with my able partner, struggled to earn every little penny for the venture, so that we don't have to borrow money from our parents; lived with uncertainty when our 'right-hands' deserted us in the middle of the entrepreneurial road and kept on moving forward. It was the toughest and most fruitful period of my life. When your talented friends are making a lac a month, hanging on to something financially not quite rewarding works when you work not for money, but for satisfaction. It taught me a lot about conquering one's fear of uncertainty. I know that now I can manage without a penny for seven days, I can live without food for two days, I can live without bathing for ... oh leave it. Now I can clearly say 'been there, done that!'

On February 8th, I decided to leave the venture that I co-founded. Why did I leave? If that's the question that's circling in your mind, I would say that it's a personal question and I would not like to answer that 'now'. I quit. When I got free, I had a lot of options. I could have started applying for jobs in consulting, advertising or private equity firms, for all I am a fit candidate. I could have begun working on another start-up from the 7 innovative business ideas that I have in my mind. Or I could have continued writing chick-lit stuff and be complacent with it. No. This was not me. I am not going to again put myself in an assembly line situation. At least not immediately.

I had spent my last 2 years in such a state that almost every second minute the feeling of what's up with the venture circled my mind. In short, I was more like a machine, which when on, used to only work in a particular direction blocking every other part of it.

Now, being completely free, I had nothing special in mind. I am associated with this amazing bunch of musicians in the band called Avacara. I spent the entire night of 8th with them, jamming all night amidst smoke and mist with them. Music comforted me. I decided that I would learn Hindustani Classical music as it would help me in composition. For that I needed to go home, since my father is friends with a lot of musicians there. So be it. Going home was decided. My mother has not been keeping well lately gave all the more reasons to go home, which is in Dhanbad (Jharkhand). I decided to leave on 25th February to Dhanbad.

But my mother, who is a lecturer, is going to Chandigarh on an academic trip on 16th March for two weeks and I would have been totally alone during that phase. When she told me this, I decided that it was time. Time to travel. It was time to break into the seamless length and breadth of my country, that has always enamoured me. To meet its people, to live their lives, to learn their inspirations, to get inspired from them, to hear their stories and to share mine, to give whatever little experience I possess and to take whatever magnanimous learnings they possess, to meet my readers across India, be a guest to them and hear what they would want to read from me someday and tell them that they would read about themselves sometime pretty soon.

I posted my desire about an India trip on a shoestring budget on Facebook asking for hosts and I was absolutely touched to see an overwhelming response from friends and readers across the country, who were willing to let me reside at their place for free for 2-3 days during my travel. I laid down the dots that my friends had responded and connected them. When I finished, I was astonished to see that it resembled a bird. A bird ready for flight.

I recalled my school days when I read biographies of Steve Jobs or Kalam Saheb or Einstein. All of them had faced this vacant phase where they didn't know what to do and they just kept on travelling and it gave them the next direction to proceed. They met people, they discovered ideas and ideals, they learnt something entirely new during this vacant phase that shaped their lives later on. I am sure this journey is going to cast a deep impression in my soul and is going to change my life in some way, making me a better person and definitely, a better and a more experienced writer.

I'm going to begin my journey from 16th March. I am going to travel alone; with limited baggage, limited money, no laptop, no internet, one diary, one pen and two books titled 'Into The Wild' and 'The Autobiography of a Yogi'. I'm going to meet students, entrepreneurs, my readers, designers, techies, musicians, photographers and more at all those places and going to include my experience with them in my book. The basic intent of this tour is to explore how does the city affect the ideologies and aspirations of people, in the meanwhile searching for the next big idea for another start-up. I am low on cash as I'd exhausted all my royalties(my only source of money) into the venture. I am searching for a sponsor for my trip.

P.S. If you can refer some organization which may be willing to sponsor my trip, I would be more than glad. Not boasting, but just to give you an idea: I have a reach over 60000 young people of the age-group of 13-25 in India via my books, and I would be releasing two books before releasing my travel memoir, so the number is supposed to cross 2 lacs by then. I can easily dedicate a chapter to the sponsor in that book and carry promotional materials(bags/caps) across. Also, part sponsors would be welcome, whose story would be subtly embedded in their cities' stories.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great stuff Harsh. Looking forward to meeting you in Kolkata. And also a suitable idea oldie you when we meet. :)
-Prateek

Anonymous said...

I have actually done this. But I found out before I left my state of Karnataka that staying with friends, I missed the whole point. So I carried on hitching rides on all kinds of vehicles and pitching tents in fields or living with hearty fellow Indians who I never knew but were more than happy to host me for an evening/day.
You are in for a fantastic time. Go for it and uou will come out of it enlightened and filled with indignation. Wish I can take another pilgrimage(only way to explain it) soon.

Anonymous said...

I have actually done this. But I found out before I left my state of Karnataka that staying with friends, I missed the whole point. So I carried on hitching rides on all kinds of vehicles and pitching tents in fields or living with hearty fellow Indians who I never knew but were more than happy to host me for an evening/day.
You are in for a fantastic time. Go for it and uou will come out of it enlightened and filled with indignation. Wish I can take another pilgrimage(only way to explain it) soon.

Buzz said...

@Anonymous above - I want to meet you friend. Do share your contact details.

saifi shahid said...

I am surprise you missed out on Kerala... Next time try that part of India as well. You will definitely love it..