I have been away from this blog for a long time but that is not what is troubling me right now. The reason for the lack of updates is not that I have been terribly busy, which I have been, thanks for asking by the way. I have been thinking about lot of things about my life, the stuff I do at work and otherwise. Its good to introspect some time and raise questions about life and the direction of it. A lot of questions were raised including the reason for existence of this space, and the relevance of it in my life.
This month of May has been more of a learning experience for me. I have met a lot of new people travelled to a totally new place, but I witnessed something today which brought on the surface a lot of things which were simmering down under my mind. To set the context I would summarize about myself and my life a little. I am a 29 year old guy (man still sounds too old) with a business management degree from one of the finest B-Schools in India (No it is not my usual satire and I am not a shining diamond from the Chaudhary & Sons vulture venture) employed with one of the best known consulting firms in the country.
Coming back to today’s incident, I was returning from office early evening and it started raining cats & dogs. I was in a hurry to reach back home and log back in for work, but the lack of visibility from rain and the additional craziness of the Bangalore traffic slowed me down and I was actually observing the roads and surroundings while driving. This was when I observed a Paani-Puri wala on the side of the road. He had a small round stall of thin bamboo sticks like generally the street vendors have and he had a red cloth and a piece of plastic tied around to support Paani-Puris. He was standing on the footpath holding another huge sheet of plastic over his Paani-Puris to make sure they don’t get wet and spoiled. I could see him his hands keeping the sheet tight protecting his stall and getting drenched in the process.
The fact that it rained with utmost intensity and it kept raining till 2300 hrs it was highly unlikely that he would have got any customers for his Paani-Puris. Also given the highly windy rains for such a long period would have ensured that his Puris were all damp and he won’t be able to reuse them in any case. The way he was standing in the rain getting all drenched he also might have gotten sick. I think he knew all of this all along when he was sticking out in the rain protecting his business out there in the middle.
When I see people like him, is when my mind questions the littleness of things I do in my life. I tend to question my own work ethic in front of the dedication of this Paani-Puri wala, his love for his work & business compared to mine. I am saying this all in the light of that I have had one of the busiest months in my career and I haven’t slept for more than 4 hours since last few days. I have heard from so many colleagues that consulting is a high pressure industry and how we need to slog (which is true) but still I feel I have it lot easier compared to guys like these.
I also tend to wonder that what exactly holds me back to stick out like that guy for my work. I don’t think this has got to do anything to do with follow your heart and do what you love fad which is going around; I don’t really think that guy is following his passion of being a Paani-Puri wala (possible but too hard to believe). Is it because I have a qualifications that give me a comforting factor that I will be able to earn my living while he fights for his earnings everyday? Or is it because that irrespective of his size of business he owns it and feels responsible for it and I look and argue for every task that whose responsibility and job description it is? Or is it that despite being a Paani-Puri wala who might not even be educated has a clear sense of direction how he is going to move to the next phase of life by selling Paani-Puris while I clearly have loss of direction where I am going with all my work and what I intend to do with my life?
I really don’t know the answer, which might be simple or may be a complex mixture of everything above, but I am glad that two seconds of view of that Paani-Puri wala gave me a set of questions to think about and may be seek answers to them. So what do you guys think of these grass root level entrepreneurs, don’t they have a lot to teach us and make us ponder?