Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Big Dreams


Since childhood we are told to not to dream with open eyes because usually those dreams remain just that. Dreams. Not reality. However, this is the story of a man who not only dared to dream when everybody told him not to but who spent his entire life molding that dream into a reality. This was a man who was born in ordinary situation with extraordinary dreams. 




Anuraag was the 5th child of a small-time teacher in a tiny village. He had 3 elder sisters, 1 elder brother and 1 younger brother.
Right from the childhood, he had to share everything, be it his favorite toys or books.  Although he didn’t mind sharing, he did mind not getting what he wanted. Every time he wanted something that his parents couldn’t afford, he would find a way to get that. When he turned 13, he started selling milk in the early mornings before going to school. If he could lay his hands on the early morning newspapers, he would sell them too. His goal was to save money and buy things that his parents couldn’t afford. He wanted to buy beautiful shirts for his brothers and delicate ribbons for his sisters. And for that, he would get up 5.00 am in the morning when the rest of the household was sleeping in their cozy cots.

When Anuraag turned 16, he joined Indian Navy as a seaman. In his dozen years of service, he served his country in 1962 war with China and other two wars with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971. Still that was not enough for him. He needed to do much more than that. He quit Navy and turned civilian. He got married and took up a small job with the state government. But there was something within him that didn’t calm down; something that was compelling him to reach beyond his reality and tread on an unbeaten path. He wanted to research that path and so he quit his job, making his wife and family angry.  Everybody started calling him eccentric. Each and every relative started advising him on how to be a responsible husband and a son. He listened to everyone politely. He never contradicted anyone. But then he went ahead started a business of painting houses with zero capital. This infuriated his family further. He was coming from a service class, not business class. His family said that he was going to blow whatever money he had saved until then; he was going to ruin the family name that his brothers were trying to earn through their jobs. He didn’t listen to anything. He just believed in his own ideas and dreams. He was filled with confidence that one day he will reach where he wanted to be. It was just a matter of time. He did that business for four years. Contrary to everyone’s belief, he managed to save a small fortune out of it.

Anuraag sold that small business and bought a state-wide dealership of one popular soft drink. Through aggressive marketing strategies, he became a major nation-wide dealer. The competitors noticed him. They started playing games, games that could have led to his downfall. But Anuraag saw through the games to realize what was coming. He analyzed the situation and realized that the amount of profit didn’t justify the cost of the games. So he sold off that business too. Although his competitors rejoiced, Anuraag wasn’t sad. He knew he had made money out of it and he was equally confident that he will again make money out of another business.

He found a new challenge for himself: show business. He wanted to host a concert in his city, a first of its kind in 80s. He poured all his savings in that event. He booked famous singers and comedians to entertain the crowd. He hired managers to execute the event flawlessly. He had calculated the costs and profits. He was happy about the potential profit margin. On the day of concert, his manger told him that they couldn’t sell a single ticket. The show was a failure. He had lost all his money. Still he kept his calm and went to see the live concert. When he reached there, the stadium was full. There was no place to stand. He tried to find the manager but couldn’t find it. His manager had absconded with all the ticket revenues, leaving him broke and penniless. He had only one road to salvation: filing for bankruptcy. But he refused to take that road as he believed that it was a road for quitters and losers. He was not a loser. He sold off everything to pay off his creditors from the concert.

As Anuraag was not the one to give up, he again started another business. He took out loans and subsidies to start manufacturing of plastic products such as tumblers and tubs. Somehow luck didn’t favor him. That business never took off. He again sold off everything and lost a good chunk of his wife’s savings. By now he even had 3 kids to take care off. Each and every relative and friend of his told him to quit the dreams of being a businessman and look for a job.

Still Anuraag was not ready to do that. He again started looking for another business. He found a new challenge in the manufacturing of raw materials of PTFE compounds. Even though he didn’t know what it was all about, he was quite fascinated by the usage of that material. Also, according to his research, only handful of companies manufactured it throughout the world and none in India. Anuraag was hooked to it. Before he could properly start his work on it, he suffered brain hemorrhage and paralysis attack on the right side. His family broke down. When he was in coma for 4 days, his family was praying for his life. The doctors believed that he was better off dead because if he lived, he would be like a vegetable with no control over his limbs. If he lived, he would live a life of an invalid.

The doctors, however, got a pleasant surprise for a change. When Anuraag came out of coma, he insisted to eat his food manually rather than using food pipe. When he had to answer nature’s call, he refused to use bed pan. He painstakingly walked to the washroom by clinging to the walls for support. When doctor told him that it will take 3 months for him to walk properly without any kind of aid, he started walking without any cane within a month. After 3 months of his paralysis attack, he was daily going for a walk. He defied science with his will power. He proved the saying “where there’s a will, there’s a way” over and over again.

Within 6 months, his medical problems were behind him. It was time to again concentrate on the business and he did just that. He was determined to not to give up on his dreams. He didn’t want to die poor. He wanted to leave a huge legacy for his children when he died. He started working long hours: researching the potential market, finding investors, and completing legalities of starting a public company. After working hard for 4 years, his dream started transforming into a reality. He had set up a mini empire of his latest business.

Now he just had to wait for another 4 to 5 years to start competing with the big guns of the corporate India. And he was willing to wait for that time. But the dream was not. It wanted its pound of flesh. The dream, which was Anuraag’s companion since childhood, was tired of Anuraag. It wanted the price of its company; the price for inspiring Anuraag throughout his life. The dream became possessive of him; it couldn’t stand to see other emotions touching its lover. For dream, it was the time for final payback and nothing but full devotion would satisfy it. Anuraag suffered another brain hemorrhage and paralysis attack. This time, however, his left-side was paralyzed. His heart gave out and he surrendered to his dreams within few hours. No prolonged illness and no suffering; just a short peaceful death.

When Anuraag died, he left property worth tens of millions of rupees for his children. A man who came from a middle class family in a small village left an inheritance that was sizable enough for his children to follow their dreams. The dreams that were nurtured by their father’s dreams.

PS: This is a real life story of a man whom I knew very closely. The name has been changed to protect his identity.

14 comments:

  1. Pankti very inspiring!!! There was a hunger in his journey. This hunger, the quest to reach the peak is normally the difference between success and failure!

    Well done!

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    1. Yes Sfurti, it is. Thanks for dropping by.

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  2. What a inspiring read..The Man keep moving on despite all the troubles and turn the odds in favor of him..Thanks for sharing this..I am very very Inspired..Hard Work and Remaining Focused are the two things we should always carry with us...

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    1. Yes. I had the good fortune to be very close to this man. And I always remember him when I get depressed. Thanks for dropping by. :)

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  3. A champion's journey. Not many have the courage to stand such downfalls over and over again. Really inspiring, Pankti.

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    1. Thanks Diwakar. I too am inspired by this man :)

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  4. Nice Pankti hope he rests in peace. I too would follow a similar dream but with one exception I would leave my entire wealth to the children who have parents. That way I would make them dream and carry Anuraags legacy forward!

    PS I am commenting with my domain because I know how much it hurts you to see self promotion on your blog. This is my way of saying get real :)

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    1. Thanks Vijay. BTW, I don't readers who solicit followership. I don't mind anyone leaving their blog links while commenting unless they blatantly want to strike a deal for mutual followership.

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    2. oops I meant no parents, Sorry

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    3. Lol. I understood that and so didn't point that out :P

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  5. This is so inspiring… not only as person, but Anuraag provides an example as an entrepreneur too. Our country needs more people as him and his story will inspire may. thank you for sharing.

    also, thank you for going through my blog… reading every article.. thank you!

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    1. Thanks Aersh.

      BTW, you don't need to thank me. Reading you was a pleasure. I rarely find good Indian bloggers with impeccable language, and when I find one, I enjoy their pieces. :)

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  6. Ahhwe... you warmed my frozen blood Pankti... whoever reads your story would understand the reason behind my freaking out for this and that :-P
    Very motivating and nicely written :-)

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