The Eternal Journey

The Eternal Journey

12 years and a few realizations ago...



Rohit was a very happy man, an achiever so far. At 25, he was a Gold Medallist from IIT Kharagpur, a 100 percentile in CAT, a Silver Medallist from IIM Bangalore and the most sought-after guy in the campus placements, ending up with a hefty paycheck in the most sought-after consulting company on campus with a posting in Amsterdam. However, life ahead wasn't that easy. After almost a 2-month honeymoon in office, he was put to work under the most unpredictable boss and slowly his life became hell. His indecisiveness in the earlier months finally ended up in two years with the same company with nothing significant on his resume.

A bright summer morning in Amsterdam. Rohit was speeding in a cab to his Office. While his mind was inactively imagining another routine day at office, his fingers were in action, browsing on his iPad when something suddenly caught his eye.

Rahul Sharma : The Youngest Entrepreneur who made a difference

He was taken aback by the headline and clicked the link. To his surprise, it was his classmate Rahul Sharma. The article described Rahul Sharma as a very daring entrepreneur and a visionary.

He had done what no one in the country till then had even dared to do. He established the country's first bio-fuel industry that produces bio-fuel from biomass and plastic waste. 5 years ago, when he established the firm, he had no funds to operate it. He sought some help from a Professor in IIT Madras and started trial production with little funding from the department. Slowly leveraging the network of the professor, he attracted a couple of Angel Investors and that gave a turn to his fate. And then, there was no looking back... 

"Sir, We have reached office." said John, his driver. Rohit got down and reached his cubicle, a beautiful 3m x 3m space that overlooks the River Amstel. Eager to complete reading the article, he went back to his ipad and clicked on the embedded video. Rahul was responding to the truckloads of questions being asked by the journalists. Summarising all the questions, which were primarily about the secret of his success, he started.

Let me narrate to you my story and the specific incidents that made me who I am. 

It was an interesting and a challenging journey from an Underdog to an Achiever. I had always been a mediocre student back at school. I was more interested in Sports and Quizzing than my studies and thanks to that, my grades in 10th and 12th took a hit. Well, I scored a First Class in both. However, I was always subject to ridicule by my teachers at school and treated as good for nothing. TEACHERS you know.  

I had a very good friend at school. He was the heartthrob of the school, being a Topper in studies, an excellent speaker and debater and moreover, from an affluent family. One day, on my way to the NGO, I went to his home to take him along. His parents gave me a good hearing and behind my back advised their son, "Never dare roam around with such useless fellows, lest they end up spoiling you and your career. You should maintain a level in the kind of friends you choose" They had declared me useless that very day. And surprisingly, my friend stopped being close with me since then. 

Chemistry was the only subject that interested me and I was very eager to pursue it. My mom, as usual, believed in me while my dad felt that I was hopeless and I made those statements only to fool my mom's sentimental self. To him, An engineer or a doctor were the only two things that mattered and everything else was useless. While my friends used to write mock-tests for JEE, I was busy with EEJ, Earnest Experiments towards Jeopardy. Heat was brewing between me and my dad and one day, the volcano erupted. Result, Yours truly was kicked out of home

My good friends got into IITs while I remained in Indore and took up B.Sc in the Government College, thanks to my Chemistry Lecturer Mr. Shinde. However, all along, I never gave up my interests in Sports and my NGO. My interest in Organic Chemistry kept me glued to the unused laboratory in my university and I had endless resources to conduct experiments. 

One day, while I was with the NGO, we were visiting a slum to identify underprivileged children with the objective of getting them out and providing them a good education. There, I came across a bunch of rag-pickers among which were mostly kids and few teenagers. The teenagers were fighting with the kids and beating them to steal even their share of the rags. We went and rescued the kids and tried counselling the teenagers. We were shocked to find them completely under dope. We later understood that they earn peanuts for the rags that they exchange with the dealers and they end up spending that little amount in drinks or dope. This incident again shook me from the core. 

By the time I reached my final year of Graduation, I decided not to look for an employment, instead, create employment. So, I started looking for ideas to get into business. In a different incident, I came across Mr. Pillai, a professor in IIT Madras, who was conducting experiments on extracting automotive fuel from bio-mass. And that was my messiah in disguise. 

I decided to establish a small firm that can extract fuel from plastics and biomass and I chose teen-aged rag pickers for the task at hand. The rest is history. 

"Mr. Sharma, What message do you have for the viewers?" came the next question.

Firstly, I'd just want to inform two persons in my life, my father and my friend. If you both haven't behaved the way you behaved with me, I don't think I would have become what I am today. Thank you both. 

Secondly, I follow a very simple philosophy in life. 
Observe / Experience -> Learn / Internalize -> Do /  Practice / Demonstrate -> Set an Example. 

And I don't believe in giving messages, but, right now, I would want to talk aloud to the 'would-be' parent in me. 
"Dear Rahul, Now that you have achieved what you wanted to, please remember to treat your kids like how you wanted to be treated by your parents. Do not try to rub your dreams on them. Know what they aspire for. Test whether it is their dream or just a fantasy. Support them if it is really their dream and correct them if it is their fantasy. But please don't nip their dreams in the bud. You never know what they can make out of themselves." 


I'd also like to tell budding entrepreneurs, "You are free to get some guidance from me, but don't get inspired by me. Know what your heart wants. and follow it. Have patience and perseverance. You will come out with flying colors."

As he finished watching the video, Rohit's eyes became moist. He felt very stupid of himself to have treated Rahul the way he did. He realized how unhappy he ended up, trying to satiate the egos of his parents all along, while his 'useless, good for nothing friend who got kicked out of his home' pursued his dreams and made it big. On one hand, his heart wanted to speak with Rahul and congratulate him but his mind did not give him enough guts to do so. He finally sat down to write to Rahul, a long mail asking for an apology. He began,

Dear Rahul,
12 years and a few realizations ago, I was your friend Rohit.......................

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Disclaimer: Few idle grey cells in me gave birth to this piece of writing. The characters in this tale are purely fictitious, and any resemblance to anyone living or no more, is a mere coincidence.

------ x ------

This post has been written as  part of the WIN ’14 Activity at BlogAdda

Write Over Weekend theme for this week : This time, your entry must contain the words write, inspire and network.
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About Uday Sankar Yerramilli