It all started with misfires, failure & anger.
A few decades back dad said, “I don’t see much future in you.”My school teacher told my mom, “Your son is weak in all subjects!” This marked the onset of a list, my failing list.
I applied at National School of design (I was a born painter). Still failed. Applied at Jamia Millia University for Mass Communication at Delhi & Rabindra Bharati. Successfully failed to even get selected. The security guard at Mudra didn’t even allow me to get in with my CV. Trikaya Gery( Now Grey worldwide ) liked my portfolio but rejected as I did not hold any professional degree on design. A dozen internship misfired. Worked 3 years in a design studio as an intern with only a promise of payment. They stole my design and never gave me recognition. I left them with anger. But Lady Luck had no intention to show up. Misfires continued. But I was shameless and kept on trying all avenues. In those days I couldn’t afford business magazines so rented second-hand books from stalls on the footpath. These were my sole source of inspiration. In one of these, I found 200 CEO’s addresses and details. To get one single attention I sent them my coloured print out creative CV (Cost me a fortune in those days). None replied back. Lost self-confidence & hope. Found strength, to try again.
My first job
Managed my first job as a Designer cum Visualizer. Found hope. My second boss was kind to give me a job in marketing. Got promoted 6 times in 5 years in that company. Found my path. But soon I realized, I had knowledge gap & was not future ready. The knowledge search began. Landed at IIM Calcutta. The late Subrata Sengupta (Ad man. Author. Academician. Our IIM’s Professor Subroto Sengupta, ex-CEO of Clarion Advertising) was kind enough to take me in his brand management course at half the fee as I couldn’t afford food and residential fees in those years. Found a teacher. This incident changed me, and my perception forever.
My good, bad and the ugly bosses ( Read horrible) :
There is a saying, “Damaged people are dangerous, they know they can survive”.
I found more Horrible bosses than the good ones. That actually helped me. It was a blessing in disguise, to be frank. They tried to break my confidence & underestimate my knowledge power. There is a saying “ They try to bury me, they didn’t know I was a seed”. Thus, Found growth.
Tried to move to Mumbai for the next 7 years. Successfully failed, but at last got a chance to visit Mumbai for a month (as a brand manager to study markets ) & fell in love with this city. Over Stayed for 6 months and went back to Calcutta.
‘Life in a Metro’
By that time I had realized Mumbai was my place. Mumbai taught me three things.
- If you have a skill you have a future
- If you want a future, sacrifice first
- If you sacrifice you win here
Mumbai took many things.
My savings pushed me hard, cornered me, even took my settled jobs along with recessions which were quite a blow on the face.
Meanwhile, Mumbai was kind too.
It gave me many great men who are still my mentors, well-wishers & friend. I once met Anurag Batra in a lift for 4 minutes. He gave me his business card. I texted him later and he replied too. Found a mentor. I was then an unknown marketing recourse of a sinking company. He never treated me like that, instead, he started inviting me to all his marketing conferences.
Three things I learnt in Mumbai
- Industry stalwarts are kind & and approachable, I leveraged this opportunity
- Avoid transnational relationship, people will remember you
- Never ask, offer help. You gain respect fast
Anger is good, so are rejections & misfires. Only you have to be a little shameless and ignore them.
At last out of anger, foundations for my own company was laid.
I was working hard out of anger all of my life. In the end, I created jobs for a dozen. Anger motivates you to keep moving forward.
Misfires build you. Never stop firing!