entreprenuership

Pathways

The pathways aren’t often straight lines. Sometimes they are not clear. Many other times, they need to be created.  The undergrowth to be cleared. Concrete and stone coming together to make a permanent path. At other times, what’s required is walking through the undergrowth. A few more walks for a few more days and the pathways emerge.

Have you noticed that people look for pathways that have been created and simultaneously yearn for the rush of creating new pathways? It is often the case.

‘Creation of new grand pathways is not for everyone’, someone told me a few weeks ago.  I argued that creating new pathways in the brain is so important to keep things alive. To keep the mind young and fresh. It is the basis for curiosity. It is something that each one of us can do. Pick up a new task. Go by a different route. Talk to a new person. Listen like never before. Whatever. New neural pathway a keeps us moving forward.

These constantly add flourish to who we are even as new discoveries emerge.  That is the true story of several entrepreneurs who set up path-breaking ventures 🙂

Moped memories



‘That’s the morning round’, says the milkman when you chat him up. He is quite happy. And sports a perdurable smile that is instantaneously strikingly envy provoking! You notice that it’s a can load of milk. Another can on one side. Yet another in the front.

Zipping in and out of narrow streets. Every household’s door knocked and delivered. An important vehicle in the distribution chain.

That causes you to wonder. How much can you accomplish in two wheels ? Especially when the two wheels are not big fat wheels that would take you long distances or are powered by engines that would equal an entire top notch stable.

There was a time, when going to school in a ‘moped’ was the thing! When classmates used to haul themselves and those heavy satchels into the school bus, you would dream of ‘zipping by’. It is completely another matter though, that the needle on the speedometer moving up by another centimeter would mean the engine having to quiver like a frail patient in an air-conditioned room with 106 degree fever and ratchet up a noise that could wake up someone in Hawaii.

But if anyone cared, it wasn’t you. For, you had a moped! You had mobility. You had freedom. You were a teenager looking into the future filled with possibilities and the two thin wheels of the moped had ‘arrived’ you.

Like all things, this status changed. In a blink of an eye, the big bad bikes replaced mopeds as the aspirational status symbol for boys. As life progressed and as the boy morphed into a man the moped was a relic, alive only in his memory.

But then, the moped continues to live on. Like with the milkman. In a very different avatar though. The moped had now dons the mantle of a partner for businesses.

Quite often, slipping to don the role of a load carrier.


These are small retailers. Hoarding their mopeds with merchandise, that any lay person would think that one more gram could appear to break the chassis. That’s when the man will haul himself atop all of his merchandise and drive off with a palpable disaffection for any sentiments and focused solely on getting ahead with business.

Safe travel is fortuitous and living is more than just merely ‘getting by’! The milkman and the shopkeeper represent a world that not many peep into. Taking for granted all that’s delivered at home when the only bones that are to be moved are those in the fingers, to dial a number.

But there is world out there. Still on the moped. Underpowered and over-delivering ! Spare a thought. Say hello. Sprinkle a smile. Pass an encouraging word. Give way..

If not for anything else, atleast for those moped memories from those teenage years!

The coronation !

The bells ring clear. Infact, the clang of the cymbals in the hands of the doll, bring about a watering in the mouth that would have made the man Pavlov beam with enough pride that could give the proudest of film stars some hair pulling!

A quick sprint to the balcony shows a genial man with the bamboo pole and a gait that is familiar. The old familiar gait. He looks much older now. 30 odd years have passed. Perhaps more. And they show. With cymbals clanging and the horn tooting.

Thirty plus years could have flown by. But Its time for some toffee now !

Memories of the genial gent, bending to wrap a tender wrist with the pink & white toffee that hitherto resided on the bamboo pole, come rushing back. He use to tie in the shape of a wrist watch ! Over the next half an hour, the kid would walk five and a quarter inches above ground ! Some thing that best of Swiss watches wouldnt give him later in life !

The years show on him too. The bulges and balding are pronounced. The glint of the sun from his Rolex makes him squint. Many watches have sat on the wrist. Many have gone too.

Today, as the cymbals clang, he rushes to the road with the mouth still in hyper ‘water’ mode !

Off comes the expensive watch.

Much to the amusement of the genial old man, here is a balding bulging chap, in crisp jeans and T-Shirt that would cost as much as the old man’s entire years supply, perhaps two.

Holding out his hand and asking for a new wrist watch ! A pink and white wrist watch made of cheap candy that hitherto resided on the bamboo pole.

The cymbals continue to clang with a ferocity that would have announced a king’s coronation.

He wasnt complaining. This infact was a coronation of sorts. He was crowned the kid he was. Armed with the pink and white watch on his wrist, chasing the white cloud and blue sky.

It looked like time had stood still.

The Iron in town !!

Of the many businesses that you see on wheels, here is one that i don’t get to see that very often in Mumbai ! Wearing pressed clothes is indeed a pressing requirement ! And how about a ‘presser’ on wheels !


In the southern districts we have this push cart iron. The chap who ‘irons’ , ushers his cart around and presses your clothes for a fee ! A common sight in Madurai ! Its not common in the big cities where electricity rules and ‘powered’ irons press !

So, theres this chap who comes home pushing his cart around. He carries with him a simple soul. And will charge your a rupee to press shirt. Perhaps two. And he has a cart which consists of a ‘bed’, a solid stone slab for keeping this solid brass iron and a slot for storing his coal !

And Yes. He uses coal !



Now that’s some heavy duty metal ! It indeed is heavy ! The chamber that houses burning embers of coal sometimes look downright scary. With a feisty burning crimson ! And when he presses your shirt, with the might of this muscle, the crimson coal and the hardened metal, you can almost hear your shirt squirm !

Call me old fashioned. Call me backward. But, there is a certain charm in this cart. And in the iron. The iron that houses the crimson coal that can kill either with the heat or with the weight ! And of course, the lazy elegance of his pressing of clothes. A ‘lazy nonchalant elegance’ that would get David Gower some company.


It may be a common sight down there! And it indeed is something to experience. To just stand there and see your shirt pressed with a rather different energy !

A charm that resembles a old world locomotive that is gushing into a station ! Perhaps its to do with the coal. Perhaps its got to do with the heat. Perhaps it is do with the steady solid style.

Or just perhaps, its the nostalgia of the old times. Or of another place.

Where ‘pressing’ gets a languid tone.