“Happy New Year, Prakashbhai.”
Prakash stopped, surprised. He turned left, saw Venkat grinning at him and returned the good wishes for the New Year.
What does he want? Prakash wondered as he walked to his desk. Venkat had followed him inside their office; he was now standing above Prakash. “So, Prakashbhai, any new New Year’s resolutions? Or still dreaming about the same old things, huh?”
Before Prakash could answer, they were joined by another one of his colleagues, Janak. “What’s happening? Early morning conference, huh?”
“Hahaha, no, no, just asking Prakashbhai about his New Year resolutions,” Venkat winked at Janak.
“Ah, yes, he loves making resolutions, no?” Janak asked.
“Yeah,” Venkat smirked. “You remember the resolutions he made last year, don’t you? What was it, Prakashbhai?”
Prakash was annoyed, which was exactly what Venkat wanted. Janak hopped in on the ride to have some fun as well. “I remember what Prakashbhai had said last year…his New Year’s resolution was to leave this job and start his own company.”
“Oh, yes,” Venkat acted as if he’d just remembered that. “But that didn’t happen, did it? Do you have the same resolution again this year, Prakashbhai?”
Prakash looked at his two colleagues; they were staring at him, a smirk plastered across both of their faces, waiting for him to take the bait, eagerly expecting him to get into a mud-fight with them. But Prakash wasn’t in the mood to get dirty, unnecessarily.
He turned away, not feeling the need to say anything to them. Prakash knew they were right. His resolutions hadn’t been realised. He had resolved to quit his job and start a company of his own, but the year had gone by and he had failed to do anything about it. What Venkat and Janak didn’t know was that he had made the same resolution the year before last as well. His dream was now over two years old, but nowhere near coming true. He had spent enough time working for others to know that he could do this for himself. He would earn a lot more, he would be a lot happier, he would have better control over his life’s paths. Yet, he was where he had started, still stuck behind the starting line.
Later that evening, after dinner, Prakash took his business plan file out of the cupboard. It had occupied that place under a pile of shirts for a long time. From time to time, Prakash had added and amended the plans in it. The dream had evolved, at least on paper. He went through the file again; the plan was well laid out in front of him. He had learned in management school that most new businesses failed because they were not planned properly to begin with. Well, if planning was the tough part, he had already done it.
What was it that was stopping him from executing the plan, then? Why don’t I make my resolutions come true? Fear, he realised. I’m afraid of losing, I don’t have the balls to go out and do something by myself. Working for someone else was easy, you did your job and you were paid for it even if the company suffered losses. If you got sacked, or lost your job for some reason, you would eventually find another. Prakash compared that to running a business, and he realised why he hadn’t put his plan into motion.
He knew he had to make a choice. He could either keep his job and live reasonably well, or he could take a risk to achieve his dreams. Taking the risk would make him the owner of a company; he would probably be able to afford a car, a finer house, and better things for his family. But what if it doesn’t work out? What if I lose even what I have right now?
That night, sleep eluded Prakash. He was groggy when he reached office, and groaned when he saw Venkat’s face. Venkat wasn’t saying anything, but Prakash could see he was itching to rib him again. And very soon, as expected, Venkat and Janak were back at Prakash’s desk for their morning dose of fun.
“Looks like you didn’t sleep well last night, Prakashbhai,” Janak said. “Dreaming about your company, huh?”
Venkat found this to be very funny. Guffawing, he managed to add, “The only thing Prakashbhai is good at is dreaming.”
That was too much for Prakash to take. He’d had enough of the two jokers; they were getting on his nerve. He got up from his chair, determined to shut them up once and for all.
“Yes, I was dreaming about my company,” he told them. “I want to quit this job and start out on my own…that is my New Year resolution for this year also. You’ve a problem with that?”
Prakash’s outburst didn’t faze Venkat and Janak. “No, no, why would we have a problem with that?” Venkat said.
“No problem at all,” Janak chipped in. “Just remember to wake up once you reach office. You might get fired from this job before you can leave it if you keep dreaming.”
The look of anger and frustration on Prakash’s face was all they wanted. They walked away from his desk, the sound of laughter following them. Prakash was seething, but he was happy to get them off his back. He eventually did calm down, but the feeling of helplessness persisted.
Venkat and Jana didn’t talk to Prakash after that morning; they just kept smirking at him from a distance. And then, after about a month, Prakash stopped coming to the office. They inquired about his whereabouts and found out from the office grapevine that Prakash had quit. This piece of news left them astounded. They couldn’t make themselves believe that Prakash did indeed have the guts to leave a good job and venture out on his own. They kept making fun of their ex-colleague, saying that he would probably fail to build a good company, but secretly feeling extremely jealous of him.
A few more days passed, Venkat and Janak forgot about Prakash. They found someone else to make fun of, about something else. Then one day, Venkat received an email from Prakash. The subject read: ‘Thank you.’ Intrigued, Venkat opened the mail, it said:
You’ll be happy to know that I’ve started a company of my own. It’s called ADY Enterprises. It’s been a few days since we went on the floors, and we already are a team of 5 people. We have started out well and I’m sure ADY will do really well.
I just wanted to thank you for pushing me into this huge step forward. If it wasn’t for you making fun of my dreams, I wouldn’t have gone ahead with this. You irritated and bugged me so much that I had to prove it to you as well as myself that I could do this.
So thanks for that. And thank Janak too on my behalf.