Book Review: Ikigai

In my recent memory, Japan has always held the crown for the longest living humans –  almost 20 years higher than the world average. Therefore, it isn’t a surprise that Japan also has the highest centenarians per capita, i.e., the highest ratio of people that are over 100 years old as a percentage of its population.  

Within Japan, the island of Okinawa (aka The Land of Immortals) has the highest rate of centenarians per capita. Okinawa also holds the global immortality title as it has the highest occurrence of centenarians in the world 

The nutritionally dense but low calorieOkinawa diet is credited to be significant factor behind this phenomenon. However, the legend of Okinawans is more than what they eat, which is what Ikigai: the Japanese secret to a long and happy life delves deeply into.  

The word ikigai translates to “the happiness of always being busy, and it is the reason we get up in the morning. What is ikigai, and how do the Okinawans follow it is the concept that reverberates throughout the book.  

Here are my favorite highlights from the book 

  • Okinawans live by the principle of ichariba chode, a local expression that means “treat everyone like a brother, even if you’ve never met them before.  
  • Eat only until your stomach is 80% full  
  • Most health problems are caused by stress 
  • The mind has tremendous power over the body and how quickly it ages 
  • If you keep moving with your fingers working, 100 years will come to you  
  • The last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way 
  • We don’t create the meaning of our life – we discover it  
  • We all have the capacity to do noble or terrible things. The side of the equation we end up on depends on our decisions, not on the condition in which we find ourselves.  
  • Accept your feelings. 
  • If we try to get rid of one wave with another, we end up with an infinite sea   
  • We shouldn’t focus on eliminating symptoms, because recovery will come on its own 
  • We can’t control our emotions, but we can take charge of our actions every day 
  • It is much more important to have a compass pointing to a concrete objective than to have a map 
  • Technology is great if were in control of itIt’s not so great if it takes control of us. 
  • The most important thing is to be disciplined in completing the cycle.  
  • If you are not truly being challenged, we get bored and add a layer of complexity to amuse yourself  
  • The most important thing is to focus on the journey 
  • Humor can break negative cycles and reduce anxiety  
  • A happy man is too satisfied with the present to dwell on the future  
  • The secret is smiling and having a good time  
  • Spending time together and having fun is the only thing that matters  
  • To live a long time you need to do three things: exercise to stay healthy, eat well and spend time with people  
  • Talking each day with the people you love, that’s the secret to a long life 
  • They celebrate all the time, even little things, Music, song, and dance are essential parts of daily life  
  • They ate an average of eighteen different food each day 
  • More than 30 percent of their daily calories come from vegetables  
  • Serving food on many small plates makes it easier to avoid eating too much 
  • An active body leads to a calm mind  
  • They concentrate on the things that they can control and don’t worry about those they cant 
  • To practice negative visualization we have to reflect on negative events but without worrying about them 
  • Worrying about things that are beyond our control accomplishes nothing.  
  • It is not what happens to you but how you react that matters  
  • Only things that are imperfect, incomplete, and ephemeral can truly be beautiful because those things resemble the natural world  
  • This moment exists only now and won’t come again  
  • To build resilience into our lives, we shouldn’t fear adversity  
  • Setback is an opportunity for growth  
  • Each moment will hold so many possibilities that it will seem like almost an eternity  
  • Life is not a problem to be solved  
  • Just remember to have something that keeps you busy doing what you love while being surrounded by the people who love you. 
  • Today is all you have. Make the most of it.  

How to sell anything to anybody

I did several part-time jobs while in college but the only part-time job that I held for all the four years of my degree was as a salesman in a jewelry store. The managing partner of the store and still like an elder brother to me, Haresh, gave me this book, How to sell anything to anybody by Joe Girard. Haresh considered this book to be his bible on sales, and once I read it, it was my sales bible too. However, this book is not about sales.

This book is about creating a systematic approach to

  • Recruiting new customers without burning a hole in your pocket
  • Getting your customers to like you
  • Getting your customers emotionally attached to the product
  • Attaining (and maintaining) a high closing percentage
  • Engaging with your customers even if they don’t buy right away
  • Engaging with your customers after you have made the sale 
  • Getting referrals from customers, friends, family and service providers (including your barber!) to grow your business
  • Creating a team around you to ensure you get the highest return for your own time

Joe Girard sold 13,001 cars in his sales career. That is a staggering number because his sales career ended in 1978 i.e. way before the internet; WhatsApp or Facebook made it easy to reach out to a customer.

Joe was profiling his customers, listening to their needs, adjusting his approach to sell his customer. He also made several sales by reaching out to his customer just at the time that their car was ready to be replaced!

How did he know when to call? He kept all this valuable information on his customer in a physical CRM i.e., way before Salesforce, Dynamics, PipeDrive, etc. made record-keeping infinitesimally easier. 

It is for these reasons that this book is a must-read for all founders whether they handle the sales function or not because as I had mentioned before this is a book about creating systems. Therefore I recommend that every founder know how to support the sales function whether they sit in tech, operations, HR, or fundraising.

I have re-read this book several times in my career. Most recently, I re-read this book to create a system to approach, engage, and recruit LPs for my fund. The system ensured that only 13% of the 115 crores we have in commitments came from distribution relationships. Therefore, in the remaining 87% of the cases, I utilized Joe’s system to recruit, involve, and close LPs. My team used a CRM to manage follow-ups and we created new content to reach out to our LPs.

This approach saved us almost one crore a year in paying out fees to distributors, which is a massive cost saving for a MicroVC fund like ours. What is the investment?

Rs. 280 and 8 hours of reading time.

You don’t require a finance degree to explain that these are fantastic returns on your investment and time.

Now it’s up to you…

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

There are some books that instantly connect with me because they take various vantage points I hold and put it together in a single coherent narrative.

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing has it all; good research, umpteen number of examples that are woven into a compelling narrative and an easy to understand explanation of marketing rules that any and every founder must follow. I found this book so engaging that I just couldn’t put it down. I finished reading it in a day (which could’ve been done in a couple of hours if I wasn’t so busy underlining or writing in the margins).

The book was written in 1993, by two marketing gurus and best-selling authors Al Ries & Jack Trout, so most of the examples they describe are dated. Yet, it amazes me how accurate their predictions about the decline of brands like New Coke, GM, IBM, 7UP, etc. were and how they pinpointed the exact laws of marketing that these brands flouted that got them there.

In fact, I can easily identify present day companies that are underperforming due to flouting a marketing law and companies that are winning by meticulously following one. It is extremely engaging stuff.

What did I like about this book?

Its simplicity. The laws are extremely easy to understand, and the marketing rationale is explained using real world examples. The authors avoided being verbose and have kept the book concise and engaging.

I love the way in which they’ve given the laws because if I ever find myself in a quandary regarding a marketing decision, I can simply just open the relevant chapter and read it, to guide my thinking. In a way it will be my personal bible for marketing problems.  

My favourite laws?

In order of preference:

  1. The Law of Sacrifice – this one hits close to home because I have seen how flouting this law has hurt several of our companies i.e. when they tried to do everything and ended up becoming nothing.
  2. The Law of Leadership – learning that a leading brand is perceived as the better-quality brand was an eye opener. It answered the question on why investing in a challenger has (for the lack of better word) challenges.
  3. The Law of Category – This taught me that when you cannot win a category… you should create one!
  4. The Law of Focus – the most successful marketing teams are pros at associating their product or service with a single word – a word that they’ll always own.

Who is this book for?

This book is for anyone who is involved in making marketing (digital or otherwise) and branding decisions for the company that they founded or are employed at. It can be helpful to adjust their marketing efforts to work for and not against their company.

This book should be in the purse, bag or back pocket of any founder or marketer – it just that relevant!


281 and Beyond

Vangipurapu Venkata Sai Laxman aka VVS Laxman played cricket for India for 16 years (at the international level). When his cricket career came to an end, only 12 other people had played more cricket than him, 2 of whom were his teammates (Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid). He was a vital cog in the Indian batting line up and one of the fab four of Indian batsmen in the 2000-2010 decade. Except at the time of retirement, he wasn’t involved in too many controversies. On the outside, it seemed as though Laxman had it all, but his autobiography reveals how many trials and tribulations his beautiful career faced beneath what looked like a shiny surface. In that sense, 281 and Beyond is like the behind the scenes video of a top-grossing movie.

In my opinion, 281 and Beyond is not a book about cricket. It is a book about a child’s journey to fulfill his childhood dream- to play cricket for his country. He describes how he went on to achieve his goal through discipline, performance, and hard work, only to realize that the toughest part wasn’t getting there but consistently performing to remain at the top.

The child is forced to grow up quickly by the constant scrutiny of a billion Indians, that hero worship their national cricketers, following their every move, carrying them high during the victory, but each believing that they could do a better job when their heroes fail. The anxiety of consistently performing at the top under different coaches, captains, the backdrop of match-fixing, and an inconsistent and poorly-managed selection policy and how Laxman overcomes each of these with runs made from the blade of his willow is the crux of this book.

What does it take for someone to continuously play to such a fickle gallery? How does one come back after a string of failures? How does one keep themselves sane against an insane backdrop? Laxman answers all of that, and beyond.

Why did I like this book?

I love autobiographies that are written from the perspective of the protagonist, in this case, VVS Laxman. I like to visualize the autobiographies that I read. So, when the author delves deep into the inner turmoil and emotions that they were feeling during certain key moments in their lives, it provides a greater level of understanding that makes them more real, relatable.

In this book, I appreciate the frankness with which Laxman has discussed why he believes he was wronged several times during his career, his opinion about teammates, captains, coaches and how much they contributed to his journey as a cricketer.

As a keen cricket follower, I could remember most of the performances and events that Laxman was referring to. So, not only did the book take me over my frustrations (on the defeats) and jubilations (on the victories) of those matches but also provided the context to what was happening behind the curtain i.e. in the locker rooms, the training sessions, the team bus, and even the hotel rooms. It helped me forgive the Indian cricket team (and Laxman) for several frustrations, except the humiliation at Barbados in 1997, a defeat whose aftermath he talks about on himself, his captain (Sachin) and the team – riveting stuff.

What I learnt from this book?

There is a lot of commonality between the lives of entrepreneurs and performers i.e. actors, sportsmen, musicians, etc. Both groups must innovate to stay ahead of the competition while consistently giving good performances to retain their target audiences. Both groups wish to leave behind a body of work that will be remembered for eons after they are gone. In both groups, competition is challenging and only a few make it big enough to be remembered, and even then, their moment in the sun could be eclipsed faster than it took to get there.

The ability to perform at the top and stay relevant in a rapidly evolving world is something that only a few have managed to do and yet people continue to sign up for these jobs. What is their motivation? Why do they keep coming back? Do they not fear failure? 281 and Beyond answers all these questions and more.

When I wrote the post on Things Not To Do If You’re In The Entrepreneur’s Inner Circle, I was only 40% of my way through this book. Completing it only vindicated my thoughts on how important the role of your inner circle is in your success. Throughout the book, Laxman credits his wife, parents, uncle, coaches etc. (i.e. his inner circle) for the roles they’ve played in his success – which at times was not to interfere at all.

Who is this book for?

This book is for anyone who wants to fulfill their dream but fears the negative consequences of failure. The toughest part (as you will learn from this book and real life) isn’t the quest to achieve your dream but to continue to live it.


My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Their Day

My ex-boss used to repeat this phrase so often that it has been permanently imprinted in my brain:

If you replicate 100% of the actions of successful people, you will get 75% of their results

The lesson was to copy the routines, strategies, and habits of successful sales- people so that their results could be replicated, and it worked! I also found that this approach could also be utilised in other areas of my life like working out, meditating, listening, learning, investing, managing etc. This is one of the primary reasons that I consistently read autobiographies of successful as well as not so successful people.

While these autobiographies provide the mental conditioning required for the long road ahead, very few provide details on the daily routine these people deploy to start, run and end every day. While I have always been in awe of how a Warren Buffet, a Richard Branson, an Amitabh Bachchan or a Brad Feld find the time to run a much larger operation than mine, write books/blogs/poems, make videos, devote time to their respective social causes, be famous and make it all look so effortless, I was certain that there had to be a secret to the system or hack that they were using.

To find an answer to the riddle, I subscribed to various podcasts, read multiple books on time management, signed up for several productivity apps or hacks, attended seminars and even bought expensive diaries and journals. These solutions would only work for a few weeks and also at the trade-off of my close ecosystem going insane. (Sorry, Sandy)

Invariably, I would find out that these systems were built for a machine and inflexible for the needs and wants of an entrepreneur’s time. Even worse, these systems would make me feel guilty if I missed out on a dot or a tick or on making a task list. I had to look for something better!

Then I came across a blog post in my news feed that listed out the morning routine for a regular joe like me and I was intrigued. I went through the website (where the blog was posted) and saw several examples of morning routines that I could identify with. I signed up for the newsletter trusting that I had finally found the answer I was seeking. But my prevailing habits won and I didn’t end up diligently reading those newsletters or making any changes to my routine.

At the beginning of this year, as I was cleaning out my inbox, I found several Morning Routine newsletters. That’s when I promised myself that I would make the change this year. I took the first step by buying the book ‘My Morning Routine’. I started to write down the elements from the morning (and evening) routines of people being interviewed that aligned with my own goals and life situations. Then, I began to incorporate those changes into my daily routine and have witnessed excellent results for the last 52 days of this year.

Who is this book for?

I believe that this book is for any individual who wants to focus on getting results versus getting busy. It is written as a collection of interviews of CEOs, artists, journalists, actors, entrepreneurs, authors, VCs and working parents.

In my honest opinion, it is a must-read for entrepreneurs and people working inside VC firms (especially you Nikita, Karishma and Sandesha)

My Morning Routine is available on Amazon


Book Review: The Art of Living

I was recommended The Art of Living by Thich Nhat Hanh by an author that I met during a scuba diving trip last year. It took me almost 4 months to finish the short and simple book because each chapter had a profound impact on the way I viewed the world and myself. When I finally finished the book, I felt like I could read it again, and again, and again because each time, it would deliver a deeper meaning or a new one altogether to what it had the previous time. It’s that sort of a book.

The objective of the book (as I understand it today) is to realise that we can create a heaven on earth, achieve a state of nirvana and be happy – on our own. We do not need to bow before an image or sculpture of god, pray to him/her multiple times a day, follow the myriad rules that religion has created or detach ourselves from the world to achieve nirvana or the state of “happiness”. Instead the book suggests that we focus our efforts on these 7 practices to achieve our goals, viz:

  • Emptiness
  • Singlessness
  • Aimlessness
  • Impermanence
  • Non-Craving
  • Letting go
  • Nirvana

The book is divided into chapters where Thich Nhat Hanh uses examples from his own life experiences supplemented by other teachings to delve into these 7 practices. The simple language makes it easy to grasp the concepts that are being discussed. Many examples instantly resonated with me, while some provided a deeper perspective into the things that I am experiencing (right now), several made me rethink my reactions with compassion.

One of the teachings that had a profound impact on me was how Thich Nhat Hanh dealt with the news of the pirates that attacked a Vietnamese ship, raped an 11-year-old girl and killed her father. The girl jumped overboard and perished as well. The story generated tremendous sadness, hurt and anger but Thich Nhat Hanh narrates how he used meditation techniques to quell the paralysis caused by anger. He reimagined the events from a deeper understanding including the perspective of the perpetrator i.e. the pirate that raped the child. The findings led to him say “I could embrace not only the 11-year-old girl in my arms, but also the pirate. I could see myself in them.” It was (and is) powerful stuff.

Who is this book for?

I strongly believe that this book is for anyone that has started to be (or are) disillusioned with religious discourses and wants to find a simpler (and believable) way to be happy and achieve nirvana. All of which, Hanh believes, and promises can be achieved on earth, whilst we are alive.

The book is available on Amazon


The Power of Meeting New People

Why did I pick up this book?
I did not realise that my skills at meeting new people were severely compromised as I always walk away with a ton of business cards and meaningful connections from all the start-up/venture capital networking events. That mirage was shattered about 3 weeks back when I found myself at a social event where I knew just 2-3 people and NONE of them were interested in start-ups. I realised that I did not have any interesting discussion topics to initiate and build a conversation on and found myself unusually tongue tied.
Initially I blamed this on being out of practice because as a salesperson I was a master at building rapport with my customers but as I dug deeper I quickly realised that most of those interactions were transactional in nature (where I was saving my conversational partner tons of money) so there was a reason why they were being kept in the conversation. I finally concluded that I did not have any skills at networking in a crowd that I had (seemingly) nothing to offer.
It was this realisation that initiated the quest to look for a book that will help me with overcoming this handicap. A few searches and reviews later I found a book that had tons of great reviews and a title that echoed with what I wanted to achieve.
Where can one buy this book?
I could not find a Kindle edition on so I opted to buy the paperback edition which is available here.
What is this book about?
Debra Fine introduces the concept of “casual conversation” which is, paraphrasing Debra, a way to open conversations beyond the usual “business talk” or “polite talk” that most of us engage in when we are at networking events. Debra encourages the reader to dig deeper into a conversation so that the reader can understand their conversation partner better and build a meaningful connection.
The author provides lists of topics to speak about, the should do and should not-dos, the pitfalls and even the way to exit conversations gracefully. The objective of the book is to get the inner introvert in most of us to learn the skills of conversation opening, maintaining and (most importantly) graceful ways to exit a conversation.

Learn how to avoid sitting by yourself at a networking event!

What do I love about this book?
I love Debra’s direct but structured approach. It is obvious that she is writing this book from personal experience because many of her simple tips and techniques seemed like common sense approaches when I read them but, in all honesty, I would not have done them without her nudge.
Secondly, the conciseness of the book must be appreciated because Debra could have gotten into deeper details and written a book with twice the number of pages and most like lost my interest half way through. However, the direct approach kept the book at a meagre 139 pages, so it can be read in under 3 hours and her recommendations put into practice. The conciseness would also make it easier to refer to those portions of the book that I want to get a refresher on.
The best chapter in the book is Chapter 8: Crimes and Misdemeanours because Debra lists out the 8 types of activities that lead to the murder of a meaningful conversation. There were parts of this chapter that made me chuckle and several parts that made me gasp in horror because I could vividly recollect conversational crimes that I was guilty of.
What I did not like about this book?
While I believe that the self-deprecating stories about the authors own struggles were important to share so that I could relate to her and it made me comfortable, there are multiple places where those stories seem forced and are overkill.
Who should read this book?
In one word, everyone!
I believe that this book provides a solid skeleton on how to make meaningful connections with new people, develop meaningful relationships, therefore, this book is recommended to anyone and everyone.

Book Review: The Maruti Story

Being born in the early 1980s, I have been a witness to Maruti’s slow takeover of the automobile market in India. I faintly remember sitting with my cousins in the trunk of our first Maruti-800 that my father & uncle bought together. It had the glass panel lifted so that we could avoid our heads banging into the glass each time the car hit the brakes or a pothole.  

My family had to sell the car due to a serious loss that the family business suffered, but in 1989 we bought a new car that stayed with us for a decade. A cream coloured Maruti-800 with the registration number MKO-1044. I have vivid memories of sitting in the front seat of that car while my uncle would drive me around town. This was also the car I learnt to drive in and the one I had my first driving mishap in. Once, while trying to park the car, I turned too sharply leaving me only cms (notice how I didn’t say inches because I was that close) away from a wall. In an attempt to help me avoid scraping my car, 4 watchmen from my building picked it up with their bare hands and hauled it into my garage. A few years later, that car got stolen, but by that time the family had bought a Maruti Esteem and also gifted me a Maruti 1000 to drive to junior college. We have owned many a car since then but a Maruti continues to hold a special place in our memory, all of which came flooding back when I read about the painstaking efforts and risks that individuals like RC Bhargava took in bringing a true “people’s car” to India through The Maruti Way 
Book summary: 
The book is narrated from the viewpoint of Maruti’s current Chairman, RC Bhargava, someone who has served the company since its incorporation in 1981. He tells the story of how an impossible project, provided with an impossible timeline was completed in a hostile business environment. The book narrates detailed stories on the various issues that Maruti faced e.g. import constraints, labour issues, political pressures, infrastructure constraints, etc. and how it solved these issues by utilising Japanese management techniques coupled with a dose of Indian pragmatism.  
Maruti’s management was treading on a thin line since it was a government sector company. had Despite being denied the freedom that private companies had, Maruti was expected to churn a profit and grow rapidly.  How Maruti achieved this improbable task and became India’s most valuable automobile company kept me hooked throughout.   
What did I love about this book? 
An automobile company has various moving parts (repair shops, suppliers, spare part stockists etc) within and outside the company, therefore there could be various issues that have conflicting motivations when looked at from different vantage points. The solution to those issues could pit two parties against each other unless the issues were fully understood, and all the stakeholders bought in on providing a solution.  
There are many things to learn through the book as Mr Bhargava divides different issues into specific chapters, explains the problems from various vantage points and exhaustively describes how these problems were successfully resolved by Maruti’s management.  
The chapter on “People” boldly stands out from the rest of the book. It is a chapter I can read again and again.  I rate this book alongside Simply Fly & the Virgin Way in my list of best books for an entrepreneur starting the journey in the Indian entrepreneurship space.  
What did I not like about the book? 
The book provides vivid details on how most of the problems were solved but very little depth on their failures. It felt as if I was reading a management book on the best practices to start an automobile company in India.  

Similarly, there were a lot of details about how Maruti 800 was chosen to be the first car to roll off the production line but surprisingly, provided very little information on the automobile launches that bombed e.g. the revamped Maruti800 in the early 2000s, the Omni, Gypsy, and even the first edition of Baleno.
Who is the book for? 
This book is apt for all entrepreneurs & founders. Since Mr Bhargava was a co-founder of Maruti, most of the challenges that he describes are easily relatable to, by founders. It is the way in which he finds creative solutions to resolve these problems and persistently continues to drive growth, that can be a lesson to all. 

Book Review: The Entreprenurial Bible

Book summary
This book is a collection of lessons from some of the top venture capitalists and angel investors in the United States. Through the chapters, VCs share their experiences on how to build value in a startup by describing important aspects of how to pitch to VCs, when to pitch to VC’s, how to negotiate with VCs, etc. In addition, the book talks about practices that align founder’s interests with the growth of their company and consequently the growth of the VC investment. Not only does this strategy give the founder more liquidity preferences but also lowers the risk of investing for an investor.
The book is written in the form of short essays contributed by various members of the VC ecosystem, with the author’s continuous narrative connecting the stories to his own anecdotes. Although ordered haphazardly, this book is a page turner due to the wisely penned stories and examples from such exemplary contributors.
About the author
Andrew Romans is the GP at Rubicon Venture Capital which is an early stage VC with offices in New York and San Francisco
Who should read it

  1. Entrepreneurs that
    • Are thinking about raising venture capital
    • Have raised venture capital
    • Are thinking about raising a new round
    • Are thinking about an exit
  2. Angel investors that
    • Are interested in investing in early-stage companies
    • Have invested in early-stage companies but want to do it better
    • Want to ensure that their investments are set up for success
  3. Venture Capitalists
    • You just should read it if you haven’t already

Why you should read it
This book is unique in that, it is the first book that I have read which offers a view from the different vantage points i.e. from the perspective of the entrepreneur, angels, venture capitalists (early and growth stage), private equity guys and lawyers on issues that invariably come up whenever any two of the parties engage on a deal. This smashes the enigma that some members of this ecosystem create (or maintain) and provides tips on how to have the upper hand on a negotiation table. It teaches the reader how to question, negotiate and close a negotiation successfully.
3 things I learned from this book

  1. The importance of providing founders (and early investors) with liquidity at various points in the life cycle of a venture to
    • Secure the commitment of the founders in the venture
    • Provide money to early-stage investors & founders to back early-stage companies thereby creating deal flow for the VC as well as grow the ecosystem

(The AVF team and I have started working on the viability of a structure described in the book along with our CA & Lawyers – more on this in a later post)

  1. The difference between patient capital and impatient capital and why it is important to match the start-up with the right kind of capital
  2. The preparation required by an entrepreneur (or even a VC) when pitching to investors
    • This was a big, big learning
  3. The difference between fundraising and raising a round of funding (very important!)

Where is it available

  1. This book is available on Amazon.
  2. It will be the first book for 2018 that I will be shipping out (physically or digitally) to all Artha investee founders (the team will reach out to you soon on this!)


The One Thing I Couldn't Relate to in Padman!

I finally saw Padman on Thursday night and I’ve got to confess, I absolutely loved it! I identify with the struggles and humiliation that Laxmikant Chauhan, the protagonist, goes through as he attempts to improve female hygiene practices ie convince the females in his home and village to use sanitary pads instead of a rag during periods. Even though his wife, mother, sisters and entire community abandon him, forcing him to leave his village, the fire within him continues to burn, driving him to achieve the improbable. Down and out on luck, Laxmikant encounters a lady who resurrects him and joins his fight. Her help transforms Laxmikant from a failed entrepreneur about to be beaten to pulp by his creditors, to one that receives international acclaim and success.  To thank her for all the help and support, he named his product after her. Then, when things were looking up for him his entire community, family, and even his wife wanted him back and he left the hand that took him to the peak to go back to the people who were fairweather friends. This is betrayal or to put it more crassly, spit in the face of those that stand by you and support you when you’re down.
This made me think about how in my own journey, I have encountered several such fairweather friends and colleagues. These people who I thought were my near & dear friends, didn’t take a moment to think before throwing me down the well when I was struggling, but when I seemed to be doing well, these same people touted that “they always knew I’d make it large.” I keep these fairweather friends at a very safe distance because their next attempt to bury me is awaiting the next trough in the long journey of success.
I keep close and regard those friends, family members and even colleagues who stood with me when I was struggling the most. People like Laxmikant Biyani who let me use his office rent-free when I didn’t have the capital to pay rent (and he has refused to take rent even now), my Chacha, Ramesh Damani who provided endless moral support over and above his investments in/with me and finally my team that started Artha when it was just a dream and stuck around when that dream struggled to breakthrough. Whenever I write my memoirs (and I will), they will feature prominently in it.
So, that was my peeve with Padman, why leave those that support you at your worst and go back to those that will be with you only when you are doing well? What lesson does the movie impart to the other Laxmikant Chauhan’s have been vilified by their own support system for doing things that are out of the box but continue the fight? What is the lesson to those people that have the heart & courage to support someone else in their fight?
I loved the movie until this plot twist occurred… the writers should have had the courage to script a new ending instead of opting for a Suraj Barjatiya type of impossible, unrealistic happy ending.
I wouldn’t go back, in the movie and in real life.