Wednesday 24 February 2010

Calcutta...Park Street...St Stephen's Court...Childhood...

Guest Post by Shankar Ghosh.

TODAY it is a burnt out ruin of a magnificent building where Munjal and I started our business many years ago with all of Rs 20,000, earned out of doing projects deep in the jungles of Assam on the shores of mighty Brahmaputra River. Our first office was very spacious and fully air conditioned all of 15 square feet. So on the unlikely event of a visitor dropping in one had to go out or stand with doors open. The rent was steep, Rs 3000 to be paid in advance, a price we had to pay to print the prestigious address on our business cards along with a phone and fax number,paid extra of course.

The once a month pastries from Flurry's downstairs when Shayoni (Munjal's Daughter ) would come down on Saturdays from Loretto House and then an aftetrnoon at the zoo (that’s the only outing I could afford) with the rhinos and elephants… and she and me became friends although born three decades apart.

Our first 386 computer and the extra we paid for printer use per page. And walking down all of 4 km to Munjal’s house for a cup of tea and some snacks and then again walking all of 7 km to my house so that the bus fare for next day is saved and can munch on ‘jhal muri’ worth Rs 2 on the way home.

Keeping up a brave face when friends working in big corporations would drop in and all I wanted to do was be left alone and face the realities of high ambition with Munjal. Still we flew to meet customers and stayed in good hotels - business we realized is all about creating an image and confidence and the willingness to walk the last mile even if everyone is telling you it is not worth the effort.

Our first big overseas sale - our first overseas collaboration - our first big project and my first overseas visit into the cold winter of Minnesota (-40C) all took place out of this office. Today it all seems so far away in tide of time but actually it was just 15 years back that we left the city for greener pastures in Pune and the mountains of Panchgani, which is my home today. But still it hurts in a nagging sort of way.

By Shankar Ghosh

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