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RodinStar / Startup

Failure is a great teacher.

 

 

Awarded the

“RodinStar” Post 

of the week!!

 

Hello to everyone and wish every person a great new financial year ahead.

I think after a whole year I am logging in at therodinhoods.com and the first thing I read was Vinayak Talukar’s post. It wasn’t very hard to relate to his post and we both have “1” crore thing in common and we are still trying to float and determined to be where we left.

Last year! What a heck of a year that was just from very beginning to end. I lost every penny earned, companies’ goodwill, my personal goodwill, confidence and encountered the fear of losing my “MOTHER”.

I HATE 2015 but may be in future I will be thanking it for the man I will be. After reading Vinayak’s post I was in tears and I was travelling back in time; though story is different but end we lost what we had.

From very extrovert happy-go-lucky hardcore Punjabi guy I turned myself to great fake actor who acts to be the same but is not anymore. I assure myself that whatever is happening is for the good, future will be great and I will be laughing thinking of what is happening today.

I haven’t really discussed with anyone apart from very few special people and hiding myself under wraps has made me fragile. If people can share their failures then why can’t I?

2013 and 2014 were great years, we were doing great leaving a few hiccups everything was just at best place. Sales were increasing , profits were good and I had advance bookings. We had our kitty full.

We were on high hopes for the next year as it was very vital for settling us and could have been a game changer. Surprisingly it proved to be, but just in opposite way.

January 2015:

First month of year and we were riding high on the success of company. We were turning 3 years old and surprisingly we were doing well, really well. People wanted to buy our products; transformation from scrap to clothing was awesome. We were making mistakes and learning along with them. All the worries that every business has were there but it was fun.

13th January: So it was Lohri, again a reason for Punjabis to have booze and eat. It was my nephew’s first festival so that was a reason to celebrate but we never knew that would write a new chapter in our life.

Since morning mom was not feeling well and by night she disclosed she was not able to see clearly. Considering it to be a normal problem we waited till the next day and when that day turned to a year we never had time to realise.

February-April:

January was mess; Mom kind of lost her vision. Left eye was nearly gone. From Jalandhar treatment shifted to Chandigarh.

Wednesday suddenly became the most important day of the week, every week we were just waiting for something good. She was hopeful so were we. Small news of her recognising some face or reading a number plate from moving car was a great achievement.

As all the production was mainly outsourced I was always travelling for sales. Work was fine and being always travelling and talking to her on phone never made me realise that how helpless she had become. I had no idea of the darkness in her life, I was always on move, backpack was always packed until that one day when I was back from tour and silently sat in front of her, hoping she would soon realise I was there, but she never knew till I broke the silence.

Those 15 minutes will never be forgotten. Her eyes were trying to see her hands, she was rolling her eyes so that she could see at least something but everything was vain.

After that day for months I kept running from home. I found trains, flights and hotels more comforting. Even at home I was ignoring her. Mothers have some supernatural power they always know what we are going through – she tried to console by acting strong as if whatever was happening was not such big deal. She wanted me to sit beside her and talk to her like always till late night but I kept running away . It was hard to feel that emptiness, struggle to look for the ringing phone or her trying to reach the toilet by herself. I realised how strong she was and how weak the rest of us were.

29th April 2015:

Last Wednesday of the month was kind of “the day”. Back at home we all were waiting for a final call from the doctors.

On that day miseries just started to pile up.

That was first day I felt lost and so small that I couldn’t do anything. After 5 months I sat beside her and cried like a child. I felt I lost her, and that was the biggest fear I ever encountered.

From the beginning, since the company was founded by me, nearly all major decisions were solely taken by me. I had a meeting with my brother and with the assurance that he would able to take care of work, we were on time again with productions. Just supply had to be made so anyhow that was not big deal.

May-September 2015:

In the first week of May after listening to many no’s, yes or maybes from doctors, surgeons, godmen across half the country, we finally got a little positive reply from renowned surgeon in Delhi. So Hotel Mohan International at Paharganj was our new home in New Delhi for the coming months. And Sir Ganga Ram Hospital was our new temple. 

Things started to change, after numerous surgeries she was feeling better. She was able to count fingers from an eye whereas the other eye was gone.

Things were changing at the business front too. Markets were slowing down still we were less affected due to limited size of operations. Good pay masters became slow pay masters whereas slow pay masters became bad and bad were turning bad debts.

With every improvement in mother’s condition our motivation was rising too. We were above the red line; company wasn’t in losses though we were quickly eating up our earned margins.

For first time in 3 years we missed the sampling, every other unit was manufacturing and we were thinking about sampling. We were late, very late. Instead of putting our guns down we were trying to catch up as much as we could.

Fear was mounting high; we were not able to pay the creditors well enough. Payments yet to be taken from market were becoming just another figure on the accounting system. Although all the suppliers maintained trust which was a great morale boost.

We booked a comfortable quantity of orders, things were again rolling. Major stress was on paying suppliers as we had crossed our deadline.

Things never turn out to be as planned. As we were late on planning, everything was just off schedule. Every day was turning out to be a new challenge. Collections were falling and demand to disperse them was rising. As markets were touching bottom, confidence of suppliers was on the lower side too.

We were trying and were hopeful that as always we will be out of it, but this time our story wanted a new twist. While we were trying to mend things, something happened which was not expected.

After having fair amount of recovery in vision, my mom again lost her complete eyesight. We were again nowhere. Drove to Delhi and the silence of the doctor was very loud. He was not in a position to tell us what happened. We were asked to repeat what we did a few months back again, same tests, same pain, same sorrow and same questions – what next?

“Let’s give it some more time and everything will be fine” were the words of assurance when we met him last.

“Let’s go home”….mother said. She was sobbing but had not uttered anything until we made a highway halt. I was searching for something, some other way to help her out and while browsing I read about Chennai’s ‘SANKARA NETRALYA’.

In a low voice I asked her “want to go?”, she replied with a positive nod.

Chennai after affects:

We flew to Chennai, after 10 months we were at new place, new doctors, different language but everything else was the same. We just moved from a hotel in Delhi to a hotel in Chennai. Our home address changed again to Spring Hotel,Chennai and our new saviours were the team of Sankara Netaralya.

Not only had we moved southwards but our company did too. We registered loss for first time.

I always listen to my inner voice but that time being greedy, I was just ignoring it. I wanted to cancel all the orders beforehand leaving for Chennai so that all our parties could arrange the quantities of stock from other companies so that we could least save our market value as I had a bad feeling we were not going to make it. But sometimes you can’t be BOSS even after being one.

Once again on assurance of father, brother, suppliers and all the concerned parties that we could still make it through, I agreed and in a way that was a great chance to check where as a team we stood.

Our buyers showed great trust and were ready for accepting late deliveries. They actually loved us. That was the moment where I felt proud – those were the actual earnings I made. Not even a single party cancelled an order.

Days started at 6am and ended at 8pm. Daily same questions by different doctors, rewinding last 10 months and answering same if’s, but’s, how’s and why’s!! Every doctor wanted my mother to see their damn 2 fingers but she couldn’t and with every wrong answer things were becoming more complex.

Buffet breakfast of hotel and day at hospital were synonymous (boring), and the only best part of the day was dinner time when we used  to search for every food ordering site with Punjabi food. Mind it!
Taking dal makhni out of a Punjabi is next to impossible. 

It took us around 20-25 days to reach to senior doctors after being subject to nearly all doctors falling in between. Though all were good and helping, but we were lacking time and patience.

I was getting no news what was happening back at home or at work. Phone network was pathetic. By the time we used to exit the hospital I was just getting a list of missed calls from buyers, creditors but nothing good from anywhere.

Simple excel sheet were taking days to be mailed, and whatever I was getting was nothing, wrong data, unreliable statistics. 

Nights were becoming endless, for the first time in life I was keeping my phone off. I was dead, there was no one to blame or complain. I was seeing my ship drowning and couldn’t do anything about it.

I didn’t have the courage to call anyone or even listen what was happening back there. I felt finished personally and professionally. Every penny of investment was being spent on medicals or to creditors and rest was withdrawn for home expenses.

My positive attitude was suddenly negative. Starting thinking that one day somebody is going to sue me with cheque bouncing or fraud. Don’t know but I was reading about insurance policies about their clause of suicide. I had thought of nearly everything to have a graceful death like ramming car into train at an unmanned crossing or accidentally falling from a window of some high storey building

.

Soon my mom underwent 2 more surgeries with more or less same result “nothing”. Now I was left with bad debts, creditors, unsold stock, fresh raw material and an ailing mother.

Our company was still rich but only on books. We were missing real money. All the cheques received were bouncing and we were not going anywhere to take our money back. 

Thoughts of returning home were scary. Every minute while the flight was cruising towards Delhi, the more terrified I became. Whatever going through mind was unexplainable. I was 100 times more nervous than I was while making my first sale pitch. It was hard to digest what I was going through. We practically never made a loss but we had no option other than withdrawing a fair amount every month.

The fun part:

Returning home was not a good feeling. I was not in mood to meet anybody or discuss what actually went wrong. My phone was off. No communication at all.

Any question asking about work was most difficult to answer. We were late on paying bank interest, and everything else.

Satirically I was coming to know funny facts about myself like I ran away with people’s money but in reality I had only a few lakhs of credit and triple amount of debtor and stock.

The end part

After so many months we are still not out of problem completely but we are fighting together as a team. I really want to thank all the people who stood by me, they never said anything, and they just did what they wanted to without making me realise. They were silent and over the months waiting for me to say something. I want to thank all those lovely people who just called and disconnect after a few seconds of silence.

I want to thank those friends who used to slip thousands of rupees into my pocket so that other friends didn’t come to know that I am broke. Thanks to them for not ordering highly priced popcorn at the multiplex so that I didn’t have to share

.

I want to thank those new people in office who have been motivating me to do what I do best and are hanging around to see me where I was months back.

I wasted my months of life because of my own threats, my own insecurities.

I may not sum up great lessons with apt headings and fancy words but I can say that you can never lose until and unless you yourself want to. You can be short of money; you can be wounded but the day you gave up your passion or yourself that’s the end and no fucking power can do anything.

I had to tell my story. I wanted to accept that all the past months were actually an important part of life and there is no harm in admitting defeat but never to surrender.

We haven’t sold anything in the last 9 months but have met all the buyers practically all buyers in 6 states and said “sorry”. Kind words from them really helped us heal.

We are again ready to do what we are good at – “making clothes”. Time is still difficult but we are more determined this time.  

I want to end by wise words of a wise lady from Varanasi. “Vo bhi nahi raha, yeh bhi nahi rahega”.

Hope to meet great people out there someday.

@faith_khurana

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9 Comments

  1. Profile photo of asha chaudhry

    dear sahil,

    i have read your post at least 3 times now and i still don’t know what to say.

    i think everyone goes through such dark phases in life, and eventually we all figure out how to crawl out of the tunnel. 

    though i haven’t got a business that suffered i do know what it’s like to have a parent and parent in-law in grave medical trouble. and how your whole life just tumbles down owing to it.

    i’m sorry about your mom’s eyesight. but i know she is still your strength. so be positive always for her. and surround yourself with awesome friends/people who motivate you.

    thank you for sharing this story with all of us and a big salute for baring your soul. it must’ve been very painful for you to put it all down in writing. but i’m sure if someone else is going through this kind of phase, he/she will thank you.

    take care. 

  2. Profile photo of sahil khurana

    Thanks mam.it was great help from your side for more making corrections.

    While writing this thing I was feeling naked.took me week to actually post

    No grudges but actually few months back I was planning to write a article crossing sales of 1 crore this very financial year,hope same time next year we will be posting about something great.cheers to failures and great life that we have.

  3. Profile photo of asha chaudhry

    hi sahil,

    i messed up your post a bit on the top 🙂

  4. Profile photo of sahil khurana

    Thanks for messing.i wrote because I wanted to puke and purpose solved.thanks again for bieng caring so much for rodinhood community.

  5. Profile photo of Pannashri Gupta

    Dear friend, I hope you recover and go on to find success again. I hope your mother is much better now. Mothers are god’s gift to mankind. I can imagine your fears, pain and insecurity. Hope is the eternal elixir of life, so please don’t give up!! God bless you.

  6. Profile photo of sahil khurana

    Thanks.

  7. Profile photo of Alok Rodinhood Kejriwal

    Salute. That’s all I can say.

    Please ping me if I can help in any way.

    Obo. Jgd.

  8. Profile photo of sahil khurana

    Thanks sir,while waiting at railway station your reply is like a cool breeze . Will sure love to have your advice and guidance in life but before that I feel I need to balance my confidence and make sure than I am on correct track than I will come to you and ask for your help to make it better. Maybe whatever happened was for a lesson.when I started I had nothing but today I have all knowdladge and experience which I first handedly learned and earned.bieng from business class family ups and downs had always been part of life but somehow god always kept kicking our ass to be where we actually meant to be so koi gal nahi…and yes by any chance you are around Jalandhar do ping me.we are great host.thanks for your time and kind words again.good night sir.

  9. Profile photo of Vinayak Hanchate

    Dear Sahil………..Faith & Patience!

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