Monday, 14 December 2009

Interview Special

It is the era of "starting-up" and young, first generation entrepreneurs are a celebrated lot these days. As part of an interview contribution to The Viewspaper, I barged into the office of a young entrepreneur from Hyderabad. I felt like one of those modern-day journalists who hold the mic as if it were a scabbard and speak about all and sundry as critically as possible. They call it blade under the tongue approach. I mean, one feels empowered at such an opportunity(of being the journalist). The plight of Tiger Woods, I bet, would give an idea of what journalists can do

So that is that. Coming back to the interview under discussion, it was by and large a smooth affair. However, the parley did stand to offer an episode fraught with surprises. When asked, how he mustered the courage to quit a well paying job to start up on his own, the entrepreneur said it was slightly complicated.
He said: 'the motivation to start' came from the last discussion he had with his ex boss when the latter said "You're Fired". So the advice basically was,
  • Begin the groundwork for the start-up when you still hold the high paying job. But make sure you work well enough to avoid the pink slip.
  • Exploit the famous "Work From Home" option that most employers provide these days. It is a wise idea to "Work For Home" on such occasions.
I smiled at that, thinking it to be a nice gesture at such revelations. He didn't acknowledge though. From then on, he used the interview as an opportunity to lecture a juvenile sitting in front of him. I did ask a few witty questions to highlight the journalist at work but to no great avail. During that awfully long story, I kept doing the 'ucch ucch' and 'ummm' 'umm' regularly and said "it was tough to convince venture capitalists these days", trying to notch an opinion as a display of wit. He grabbed that chance to tell me they were looking for donations and bravely asked me if I could help him by "donating" whatever I could. To say I was shocked at this would be to cheat the reader grossly. I was flabbergasted would be a better way of describing the state of affairs. I was breathing hard (understandably) after the recent turn of events when his wife timed the "filter coffee" perfectly. I thought the wisest thing to do at that point was to cut loose and run. He tried delaying tactics on me by passing on the coffee mug to me and I acted smart by asking the wife if it was filter coffee to change topic and she replied saying it was not filter coffee but Bru. Then, I said it was really nice meeting him to close things down. I could have said I am not affluent enough to contribute by way of any donation at that moment or some such thing to that effect. But like the 'Wooster's pride' that Wodehouse talks of, there is this Sekhars' pride that emerge victorious on these occasions.

At the end of the day, I did manage to hold my purse intact by thoughtfully shooting questions like 'how much would the town bus cost me for my return journey' and 'how costly was the Hyderabad lifestyle in general' and all that sort of a thing, to prove my penury.

To say I had a tough time overall and that it was one of the weirdest conversations in life would be to grossly understate the affair. God Save these People.!

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