Tuesday, March 25, 2003

It's been five years today. Five years since we started Agni. Gosh. Can't believe we came this far, and we still don't know where we're going, but hey the deal is to have fun, right?

Let me run through what happened. March 25, 1998. Boom time for software, and four engineers have just got their act together, decided to start a company and named it, for lack of web domain names, Agni Software. There's only one real problem. They don't know what the heck they're doing. Two of 'em have decided to take up full time jobs and work part time at the company. Chirag and I decide, what the heck, it's worth a full-time shot right now...so we make our way to our office, a 15x12 foot room in B.P.Rao's office. We have four computers, and some really cool carpeting, considering the rest of the "office" is red-oxide flooring. And we have an A/C, thanks to my mother's generosity. I still remember thinking - "What is this software business all about?" And an impertinent stubborn brain saying, you'll figure it out.

What did we do? Training. Consulting. Visiting Hyderabad and meeting the bureaucrats at BHEL. More training. Norway. And Norway Again. And Again. Till I was the midnight sun. Consulting at a company here in the day, heading back to office in the night. Arun and what's-his-name had joined full time in a month - we'd started generating enough revenue for salaries. Boy that felt good. Meanwhile Chirag had become a Dad, and of course, has never had any free time since, but that's a different story. Took us through ups, downs, marriages, heartbreaks, losses, gains, getaways to a water park, staying in office till 3 AM. Our personal life squashed under the towering influence of the company. A seemingly eternal liason with the computer that's still taking time to wear off.

Five years now. We started as four directors. Now, we're three directors and 22 employees. A 2000 sq. ft. office. No venture capital. Tons of projects done, and more to come. FinAcc is profitable. Exports have lived through the downturn and made the most of it. And yes, the bank won't complain about the balance for a while. Life has begun to look up. We're finally somewhere we wanted to be - and we're looking for someplace to go. It's been a long journey, but there's still more to do.

In retrospect, I don't know if it was worth it. I'll never know, perhaps. But there's one thing for sure. If this is my baby, there will be no more sacrifices. No more blood. No more tears. But ask for sweat and I'll give all I have. Give me my bread and I'm happy. Can't stay this way forever, and I won't ask for a fast car. I need to live beyond the call of an office, and I'm learning to in the last three months. Thanks to two of the most wonderful people I've ever known. Calvin. Mugs. Woof Woof.

It's time to go. One day I'll write about the hilarious things that've happened. Right now, I'm only thinking..."Five Years. Gosh".

Monday, March 24, 2003

We lost. That's it.

Friday, March 21, 2003

So you think you can tell?

Heaven from hell? Pure English from this?

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Time to look for a better job?

A piece on playback theatre
Theatre. It reminds you of a stage. A stage where biographies are carved in poetry and prose. Where actors come and pour out their dialogues in the deepest emotion, and you, the audience, gets trapped in the drama that's surreally close to life. The problem usually is, it's someone else's life.

Cut. Next scene, please.

You're taken away to a stage where there is no script. You, the audience, is the script. Your emotions are relived, your passions recreated. You dictate the screenplay, you judge the action. It's all about you: the stage, the sets, the people, the story. This isn't a distant dream. You can see it happen, live, in playback theatre.

The location is probably a rundown school or a small stage. There are no throngs crowding the ticket seller. The actors roam around before the show, building relationships with all and sundry. They seem like normal people, really. It's weird to the extent that you wonder if this is all worth your time. And then they show you.

They begin with fluid sculptures, a phrase that might not get you too far in your english exam. A range of emotions portrayed by five people wearing black t-shirts and jeans, brings to life the audience's views on anything they choose. "How do you like all this cricket mania?", asks the conductor. The crowd responds, "Disgusting, don't we have anything else to do?", "Brilliant, it's the best thing that happened", "Boring", "Heartbreaking", "Tension", "Mandira Bedi". And the conductor simply says, "Let's watch".
With no further ado, no discussion, no sign language and all hysterics, the actors come together to perform a rendition of all the emotions, perplexingly unaware of each other, yet blending together to form a melting pot of all that was said, and some that was not.

You're thinking, they've done this a million times before, they probably have it all chalked out. A few more fluids, and it dawns on you that they haven't. This is spontaneous.This is ad-lib. This is unfettered talent. This, my dears, is Playback Theatre.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

The Indians have gone berserk. The only thoughts processed are about "What the heck do I do tomorrow"? Tomorrow, for all of you who are un-initiated in the game of cricket, is the world cup semi-final between India and Kenya. Yes, I know. Kenya. Anyways. Chirag just came over and told me we're hiring a projector, have got the cable guy to wire the office, and the beer and everything else can happen right here, including fantasizing about Mandira Bedi, for which we have all been sent an introductory mail. If you don't know what a Mandira Bedi is, too bad. Tomorrow is the day. Actually, the night.

What is this insurance thing about anyway? If George Bush was an insurance salesman, by now Iraq would have bombed itself. (Context: I have just gotten off the phone with a VERY persuasive agent. "Quit" is not a word they have ever learnt. Or "No". Or "Exit". I don't even think they shut their computers down.)