The birth of Happywagon

I’m going to start where I left off. – My previous blog post.

Life is about the people we meet. It truly is. Since my last post, almost a year back, we have grown from a team of 6 to around 20 people strong and there are currently more chairs in office than there is space. I guess, these are good problems to have.

So during the last year,  stars aligned quite a few times again and got us in contact with few brilliant artists and creators. The first of them being – Katie Abey from the UK and Angel Bedi from Delhi. We instantly bonded. It turned out that our core purpose of being in business, was common. And that was to make people happy with the work we do.

We started working and creating products together. People who didn’t know these artists, discovered their work through us. We could tell, that people loved what they saw. At stores, We often spotted people picking up these products and smiling wide.

We realised that there could be strength in numbers. We knew, If we could get more like minded people in the wagon along with us, our goal of spreading smiles and happiness wouldn’t be far away.

We decided to create an umbrella brand. A brand that would set us off on a journey together. So we could leave happy trails wherever we went and with whatever we did.

Quite naturally, we ended up naming our wagon (Brand) – Happywagon

It’s literally, just the start and it’s already got us feeling like the Scooby doo family. (especially when one of our pet members walks into office) Solving mysteries and hopefully spreading smiles as we keep wagoning along.

Image result for scooby doo wagon

We’re working hard to get Happywagon to your city, soon. Until then, we are always online on Happywagon.com  You can also find us on Instagram – @happy.wagon

Alicia in her own comical way describes this story in short. However, the only thing I don’t agree with is how nerdy she thinks I am. :/

Pearls of Wisdom From Sadhguru

A week back, during my visit to the Isha Yoga Centre in Coimbatore, I was among the fortunate 100 or so people to witness Sadhguru share some pearls of wisdom in an intimate arrangement.

Soon after he took his seat, there were people crying, sobbing, some shaking uncontrollably and others looked like they were shocked. There certainly was magnanimous radiance coming through this mystical being. I was simply stunned by the impact his aura could create, which I was witnessing for the first time, unfold before my eyes.

darshan_3

For the next two hours, what followed was pure wisdom. I gathered some pearls so you could also be positively influenced by these beautiful perspectives.

1. As the new year starts, leave behind the baggage. Our ideas, thoughts, prejudices and conclusions.

2. Choose to see the good in people. When we choose to see only the good in people, they will also start noticing the same in us. We call a rose plant, a rose plant not because of the 1000 thorns but because of few roses. It is wise to condemn an unpleasant quality, not the person.

3. Question: ” Sadhguru, what is the age of our soul? ” Answer: Please don’t get confused with meaningless philosophies. Live what is real in this moment. There is only life. Live life as best as you can.

4. Question ” How do I be conscious of earning money that is only satvic ( positive ) ”  Answer: Money is just a consequence of the actions we do. If we ensure our actions are positive, that should be enough. We should introspect to find out what we would like to create. If this creation is of some value to the world, the world will pay us back with money, which is just a currency.  If our actions are tuned to ensure money is earned, this is a surely a miserable way to live.

5. Question ” How to achieve mastery ” Answer: Becoming a master should never be a goal.  Continuous focus on what grips us, may lead someone to call us a master, someday.

6. In the end, a person got up crying with the mic in his hand to ask Sadguru his question. He wanted to know what he could do for his recently dead mother. He explained that for the last 7 years he tried to make her walk but couldn’t succeed. Sadhguru said, ” Your mother took care of you all her life. She made you walk when you were young. You must live this piece of life in way that all her hard work doesn’t go waste. Do justice to her struggles of upbringing. Just look forward and create a beautiful life for yourself. This is the best service you can do to your mother. “

How I lost 125 pounds and learnt 125 million life lessons.

I had gone into numerous Indian restaurants and had given away my cv in the hope of getting a part time job as a waiter. ( You end up doing all this and more when you’re studying abroad).

Recently, I got a call from one of them. I was promised a wage of 4 pounds per hour. (Rs. 320) As I prepared myself to get there it started to feel a bit weird. I was getting ready to look good. Wait, to look like a good Waiter. I got myself to the restaurant after a million yes no fights between my mind and heart. I don’t know which one was saying yes and which one was saying no. Probably both were confused and were switching sides. 

I went in, the boss of the restaurant, a typical one with no hair on his head and probably no grey matter inside it, asks me not to come in his way as he is busy talking to customers who come in. I was asked to stand aside like a pillar for 15 minutes. 

Then he started asking me to deliver stuff to tables. Told me the table numbers. My hands started shivering on taking a tray full of drinks to the table. The bottles shook like there was a mini earthquake in the tray. I finally somehow managed not to spill the drinks over the customer which I thought I would when the richter scale readings of the tray were shooting up. 

Whenever he asked me to, I kept going behind him with a tray full of food in my hand. Once when I went up to a table carrying food. I didn’t notice that it did not have plates, before my mind could work, he whispered to me “where will you keep the food? On your ass? All of a sudden common sense strikes and I think/learn that plates need to be delivered first and then the food. 

I got philosophical about it right at that moment as I do about everything else. I thought to myself, how on earth am I expected to know all this before carrying the food unless someone teaches me, right at that point I thought – “The most common yet important things in life might never be taught to you, life does the teaching”  

So for a lot of common sense knowledge like this in the context of running a badly managed Indian restaurant – my boss was the angelic messenger life sent to me. 

It was getting harder by the day. I used to calculate the number of hours and multiply them by 4 to see how many pounds I would have earned by the end of the day. And then would try convincing myself that it was a lot, trying to generate good feelings along with a raised tolerance level to the humiliating behaviour of my boss. 

I got stuck with him on a sunday. On sundays the restaurants here aren’t busy and close early. I was a happy kid until I got there. He made me work like a donkey cleaning the whole kitchen floor/walls/ceiling etc etc. Sink, fridge and everything else you can imagine. All the instructions came with sentences which started and ended with the two most endearing words – fuck/fucking eg: fucking clean the sink, it smells like fuck. 

 This went on for about a week. I had virtually earned 125 pounds on my excel sheet.

A friend was working at another restaurant and he used to share the picture of his work environment which was exactly opposite to the one I used to tell him about. “Grass is greener on the other side” But this was a case of facts and the grass on his side, definitely wasn’t as burnt as mine. 

One fine day he came upto me and said that I have got a place for you at my restaurant so leave working at your ‘fucking’ restaurant. I did. I called my ex-boss to ask for my money. He said he woudn’t pay. I knew he wouldn’t. 

I lost 125 pounds and learnt 125 million life lessons. 

How I broke few rules this valentine

 “The only sensible way to live is without rules.” – The Dark Knight.

The valentine that went by was one of those days when I actually lived the above statement and got an opportunity to break few rules, some of which were a bit dangerous but at the end of the day all of them left me with lessons I’ll never forget. Wait. This blog post is not about wooing your sweetheart in new ways but about how few of my friends and I decided to sell roses on the streets that day. Crazy idea I know. You see, all of us are studying Entrepreneurship, believe in love, breaking rules and  didn’t have anyone to take on a date. There was possibly nothing else we could have done that day.

So here we were three days before the 14th, talking to different flower vendors asking them for bulk prices. We got a good deal by the end of the day. My friend Gokul bought these beautiful roses and we hid/kept them in a cool place.

On the 13th, we sat down to unpack those roses which were tied up in bundles of 20. Chipped off the thorns and few leaves, packed and rolled them in acetate cones. They were now looking sellable. (Long night it turned out to be).

The day had finally arrived when a bunch of single friends hit the streets to sell roses. If we were unable to sell them, we would lose around 200 pounds ( INR 20,000 approx. ) amongst the 4 of us. It was good enough motivation.

We looked out of our windows and there were very less people outside, valentines was in the middle of the week  but still it looked like a sunday. Disheartening. We decided to sell in the city center and left. We had two buckets full of red roses when we reached the city and people started flocking towards us, we finally started selling. It was a thrilling feeling.

However, life as it is known, had to happen. A protective father of a daughter who was also running around selling roses in the city came upto us and to our surprise asked us if we had a street permit to sell the roses? In quick succession he asked us if we were selling the roses? I quickly realized that we were in trouble and told him we weren’t selling. He kept asking the same question over and over again and I kept saying ‘NO’. He said if we were found selling he would call the police. I told him I am taking all these roses home for a few friends who wanted it for their girlfriends. Long story short – we somehow got away with it and literally ran back home.

We had sold only a few roses in the city. The place where we lived didn’t seem to have too many students who were interested in gifting roses. It was already lunch time and we had just sold around 20 odd roses. I knew something different had to be done.

I asked my friends to keep selling around our place while I decided to go to the city to find a flower vendor who would buy all of these red roses from us. I spoke to a couple of flower shop vendors. One was interested. He said “I can only give you a price on looking at the roses.” I asked my friends to come over to the city and we showed him our roses. They were very well packed and looked better than the roses he was selling.

He offered to buy all of that at a fair price. We sold all the roses to him and came back home.

I realized that if I had played by the rules that day, I would have probably just ended up taking a girl out on a date and may be I would have given her a rose which I would have bought off someone who wasn’t playing by the rules but certainly was making money, learning life and some really valuable business lessons which are no where found in any B-School’s curriculum.

This post is to say a big thank you to Gokul, Sruthi, Aparna and the critics. May you all have less rules and break them too.

 

Coping with the NEW

After hours of preparation, contemplation, admission, immigration and registration, I finally landed up in the University of Nottingham for my masters degree. It has been more than a month, and I am glad I have finally managed to find some time to make love to my blog.

So, the last month has been all about meeting new people, understanding new cultures, listening to new stories, visiting new places, learning new things and of course coping with them. You see the common thing among each one of those was that they were all “NEW.”

In the last month or so, I have met some good people and very good people. I have seen some good places and very good places. I have learnt some good things and very good things. I have had some good food and very good food. Nothing was or is bad. Nothing at all.

This is what a life of complete newness does to you. It forces you to be non-judgemental. (The moment you start judging, you start slaughtering your experiences even before they are born.) It lets you live life in the moment. It lets you live life the way it should be.

All this probably starts after your initial high comes to an end. That’s when you start missing the lovely people who are back home in your country. That’s when you start feeling completely lost, lonely, sad, and contemplative. And in my opinion that’s when you start coping. Living.

A life of newness is worth it, and anything worth it is hard as hell. There’s no magic formula to put up with the harsh realities. All you can do is just smile. Be humble. Be flexible. Be open to life and its lessons. Be positive and be love. It pretty much sees you through your hard times. It certainly has seen me through.

I have to admit that life today is nothing close to what I expected it to be. (Perhaps. it never is and never will be.) A month in a new country among new people has already taken me through a series of radically different emotions, some were evident, some weren’t and some were evident in spite of me not wanting them to be.

Life in the new – It’s messy, It’s muddy and it’s foggy. But it’s completely worth it.

Have you recently coped with anything new? I hope you have and I hope you continue to.

P.S. If you understand hindi, listen to this song on youtube, here. If you don’t and you are interested, drop me an email and I will try and translate it for you. 🙂