Creative Entrepreneur: Or what it is like to self impose depression

I’ve never been a financial savvy guy. I’ve not had a keen eye on investments, or on numbers. Stockpiling money, or what the ‘smart’ people call financial robustness has always felt a bit vulgar, or selfish to put it mildly. For me its always been about people; passionate, brilliant, rebellious creative people. And they can come from any sphere of life. A chef who finds a way fight for ethical practices in an assembly line culture of fast food, a musician who is more bothered about originality instead of selling out as soon as possible, or a writer who chooses to use words as information instead of pandering. And I’ve associated with them, in work and in spirit. Because i truly believed that if five smart folks were locked in a room, they will find a way to break down the walls. In both literal and lateral terms. Its always been about the bigger, better ideas; about bigger, better brains. I truly believed that the world will see value of a great idea, and choose it over the good ones. That if i can somehow find a niche that is primed for mainstream, there will be people who will find the same enthusiasm, and share the spirit of eureka, and no, im not referring in any way the mediocre consumer goods brand. 

But I’ve realized this over the last few years that ideas don’t matter, honesty even less so. I’ve learned that people with investment capabilities can give less of an eff about passion if that was physically possible. They care about mad creative people even less so. In fact, I’ve been repeatedly told not to be honest, to never mention that im fiscally challenged or that i think money will come if the idea is great. I’ve been warned about how to dress, how to speak, when to keep quiet. I’ve been told not to come across as someone overtly passionate as to not scare off the oh so elusive VC, or seed funder or angel investor or whatever self-fellating names they want to be called as. Because they dont want passion, they dont want someone on fire, they dont want someone who is all heart. They don’t want beautifully crafted pitch decks, they dont want art, they dont want design. What they want is an excel sheet. They dont want genre bending, vertical creating ideas; they could give less of a bird’s hindside about them, irrespective of all the jargons they throw around. They want projections, numbers and lofty ideas boxed in to the smallest row & column. Logic is irrelevant, common sense is irrelevant, data is irrelevant. The only relevant thing is what they see, and how they see it. And that’s fine. That’s absolutely fine. No one cares about a mad man screaming about intangible, when the world is run and ruined by ‘smart’ people with financial skills & ‘smarter’ investment bankers. They know how to make money through the power of arithmetic, and thats all that matters. This percentage there, that percentage here; Boom! Profit. Its all a numbers game. So it’s fine. Turns out the only way a creative person can scratch their itch and go free is by saving up, using their own money and persevere to a place where the same numbers people find value in their endeavours and figure out a way to milk it to their benefit. 

If i sound extremely naive, stupid or completely impractical; that’s because i do realize that i am. But I’m not supposed to be otherwise, am i? No one expects Warren Buffet to ace cubism, or Tim Cook to write a sonnet. Then what is this insanity where a writer, an artist, a musician with a dream and a potentially brilliant idea also needs to have the financial wizadry of a retired banker? I call them wankers actually. Because through these fifteen odd years of me building brands, I’ve come across CEOs & CMOs & COOs who can’t hardly contain their smugness, or wait to instantly judge you when they realize that you arent savvy in their skills, that you actually value people more than money, or that there are actual ethical lines you wont cross. Oh the disdain; but its actually extremely motivating. It’s actually freeing to not see your team, yourself or your subordinates as more than headcounts that you need to bill the client on, to see them more than work hour multipliers, and as people. I have never understood this culture, of time sheets, of man hours; because it’s really NOT a system. A dedicated resource will work first and foremostly for themselves, and then for you. It’s immeasurable how long it takes to get to a better idea, a bigger concept. So boxing that person in to timesheets is in every way counterproductive. And the person who is happily complying to this system, is doing so because it helps them not do their job, since the quantifying nature of what they produce is quantity and not quality. 

I’m ranting and raving because it costs nothing to do so. Im sure there will be others who find themselves on the opposite end of my belief system. And thats absolutely fine. Im not here to change your opinion, i dont know you, so i could give a damn. This is to reach out to the fencesitters and the ones who disagree to turning talent into numbers. Because numbers are demeaning, numbers are void of emotions, numbers are a very biased way of looking at ideas. Mostly because numbers are quantified through the lens of today, the dreamers are always ahead of that. And finally, numbers cant predict, they can only assume; numbers cannot calculate what doesn’t exist, they can only tell you what’s already been done. I effing hate numbers, and people who box themseleves and demean others by turning people into nothing more than decimals. 

The idea is dead. Long live the idea. 


आप कौन?

जाने दो
आज इसे बस जाने दो
सन्नाटे का ये बुखार
चढ़ता है, चढ़ जाने दो

रात को बिस्तर
खाली तो क्या
तकिये पे सर रख
मुझे अकेले बड़बड़ाने दो

जितने मिले, सब खोटे से
सबके अरमान छोटे से
हम मिले भी तो क्या ही मिले
होते होते होते से

शाम को टप टप
काम को टप टप
दिल की खाली होती टंकी
हम भरते रहे क्यों लोटे से

झूला, आँगन, चौखट छूटा
सर्दी छूटी, कम्बल छूटा
और छूट गया कंधे पर
रिश्ता एक ये टूटा फूटा

सब की फ़िक्र में लग लग के
अपनों से क्यों नाता टूटा
पराये तो फिर भी बेहतर थे
हमने खुद का आशियाँ लूटा

Old wooden ladder on a cement wall
an old wooden ladder is leaning up against a concrete wall


गुमनाम से ईटों वाला स्टेशन

वो गुमनाम से ईटों वाला स्टेशन याद है?
जहाँ दौड़ के पापा मिल्टन में पानी भर लाया करते थे
थोड़े बड़े हुए तो हम भी उतरा करते थे
एक हाथ गेट की हैंडल पे रख के
और दोनों कान ट्रैन के सिग्नल पे रख कर।

वो अकेला सा गुलमोहर याद है?
छाओं न सही, रंग तो भर ही देता था
उस अंधी धुप में खड़ा हुआ सबको ताकता सा
उससे वो गर्मियों की छुट्टियों की महक
अभी भी आती तो होगी झुलसती दोपहरों में।


मकड़ी का जाला











मकड़ी का एक जाला
लटका हुआ सा दिखा 
उसमे अटकी हुई एक ज़िन्दगी भी  
और दिखी भूख 
जीने की 
दोनों तरफ
आज फिर एक जाला देखा
लटका हुआ खुद को पाया 
और तुम मिले वहीँ नज़दीक 
ज़ाले में लिपटे हुए डरे
हमने भी डर कर थमा दिया 
एक टूटा पंख उम्मीदों का   
और फिर साल गुज़रा 
अब भी वो मकड़ी का जाला 
सालों से अब तो 
लटक रहा है छज्जे से 
और हम लटके हैं 
लिपटे अपने जालों में 
लिपटाये उन जालों को 
सांस दबा के बैठे हैं 
आज मिला एक लटका जाला

















तुम धूप हो
कभी ओस की बूँद पे चमकती हुई
कभी मरीचिका
गर्मियों के जलते दोपहर में
रास्तों को और लम्बा करती हुई
जला मैं भी
कभी होली के पापड़ की तरह
और कभी भुना मिला
भुट्टे की कालिख जैसे
सर्दिओं की दोपहरों में
अमरुद और संतरों के बीच
अपना बीज़ गिरा
मैं सूखा, पनपा
तुम्हारी तरफ पलटा
मेरा ठंडा बदन
सुकून सेकने
फिर भागा मैं
जलते लू से
वापस उसी अंधे कुएं में
जिससे निकला था
तुम्हे लपेटने को
अपने अंदर बाहर
अँधेरा बुरा सही
पर एक जानी पहचानी परछाई है
पर तुम
तुम्हे क्या कहूँ?
क्यूंकि तुम तो धूप हो।

Hope, is for the weaker kind.

What will you give me
That i dont already have
In the crevices of daydreams
Stuck on the edges of my heart

What will you show me
That my mind hasnt already seen
No the salty havent washed them away
I only see them more frequently now

Where will you fit another challenge
That hasnt already given me a medal
Maybe some are black & blue
But i look at them everyday with pride

How will you bend me out of shape
There is no more room to dent
It’s the fire in my belly, you see
Makes my shape amber

When will you show me a new way
I’m everywhere you ever went
Im not lost, dont confuse yourself
I am already on the way to me

What is there but for me to rejoice
The planet that lives my soul
I am the god of my own journey
And i own every path that leads to it



Most of the exciting stories in my life begins with ‘when I was a kid’, and justifiably so. Nostalgia is a powerful emotion, add to it a bit of genuine innocent curiosity, and what you have is a heady mix of a drug called childhood. Though my kinder years were not silver-laced to say the least, I somehow found some beautiful corners, within me. Through sun-soaked afternoons in a small town, through volumes of books and inspiration from the boob tube. Yes, mine were the happy days. Because happiness came from within me, I didn’t need people or material things to make myself happy. Just some white paper, a 6B graphite pencil, and some comic books did the trick. Rest was taken care of by the fact that there was nothing to distract me, no TV at all times, no computers, no gadgets and definitely no social media. My social life started at school, paused in the afternoon, and started back at the playground around the evening. In between, there was just me hunched over the latest edition of Reader’s Digest. We all did something to keep us busy back then, some slept, some read and others scratched their heads trying to invent a water heater with nothing more than some chicken wire, a metal blade and a slab of wood. There was no alcohol, no weed or the Internet. My friends knew ‘How I was feeling’, not based on a status message shared to the world as a plea of help, but by who answered the landline when they called. Our blogs were mental notes; maybe that is why we still remember so much of it, even after this long. Or maybe, because we had enough mind-space to spare for things around us, we could hold the attention when someone was telling us long irrelevant details of the day. There was an opportunity to spend time with yourself, which we don’t anymore. Now we just have too many things to distract us from ourselves. Maybe it is our inherent desire to be in denial, or stay on the surface, but whatever the reasons be, we are rolling with it.

We don’t seem to peep over our walls anymore. We sit, and we let the walls around us grow higher, making us inapproachable. We have found solace in anonymity. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for personal space and individual choices. But that is not the reason. It’s not that we have grown more self-aware, or have asked more questions. We have simply turned down the blinds, and closed ourselves up.