Finally, the bus arrived at the stop. I rushed in to get a seat. Hard luck, it was already overcrowded. I got the ticket and found a corner to stand. I have not travelled in a bus since I changed my job. Today I have to take a ride on the bus because of the odd-even formula applied on the Delhi roads. It was an important day for me. I had found an investor who could invest in my start-up. If I could impress him today, then I would get a little closer to my dream of being an entrepreneur. I always wanted to start a company of my own. During the last semester of college, we were four friends who were almost prepared to start a new venture. I remember the day when we were getting ready for the investor’s summit. It was a big event where start-ups can find big investors in a single place. I got a call from Paavni. She said,” Vedant, I want to meet you right now”. I was very excited about the next day event, so I went to meet her to share my excitement.
I reached her place. She asked me if I was serious about the risk that I was about to get into. It came as a shock to me, as I have many times told her about my aspiration of being an entrepreneur. I told her,” Yes, of course. This is what I always wanted to do”. Then she said that we would finish our final year next month. We need to get married within two years, which needs us to get settled as early as possible. If the startup didn’t succeed within this much time, we would not be in a position to talk to her parents about our relationship.
She said I should concentrate on finding a good job at this point in time. Once we get settled together, then I could pursue my dream of owning a company with the savings that we would have then. Next day, there would be a campus placement and I should concentrate on it, rather than an investor summit, she said. I had never given a thought to this side of the story. For me, my dream of start-up was as important as her. Tears flowed down from my eyes. I excused myself from her and went back to my room. I thought about every aspect of the situation that night and made a decision, perhaps the worst decision of my life.
I woke up the next morning, dressed up in formals, picked up my documents and moved towards the college campus to attend the placement drive by a top IT company. My friends went to the investor summit, and I appeared for the interview and got selected. I didn’t ask them about their day. Today I know that they got an investor and they are now a million-dollar company. For me, my love won over my dreams. I started working for an IT firm. Working as an employee was never my preference, which made me frustrated day by day.
I hated the work culture; I hated everything there. This started creating drift between me and Paavni. Gradually, I started blaming her for my mental disturbance. I used to tell her it was because of her I was living such a pissed-off life. Finally, the relationship for which I sacrificed my dreams was shattered. If I could re-live my life, I would move back to that day and change my decision. Rather than choosing my relationship, I would have chosen my future aspirations.
A sudden brake of the bus brought me back to the real world. I moved out of the bus and started walking towards the office, repeating my presentation several times in my mind. I knew this would be my last chance.
If I couldn’t convince the investors today, I don’t know how many more years and how much more effort would again be required. I reached the office with half an hour left for my presentation with investors. I checked the internet connection and sound quality and finalized everything. After a minute, I got a call from my boss. He said that he has an urgent meeting, so I needed to fill in for him in an ongoing interview. I thought I would finish it up within 20 minutes and would be back for my call.
I went to the meeting room, and the candidate was waiting for me. As I entered and looked at her, everything around stopped for a moment. It was Paavni. We were looking at each other; she gave a known smile to me; I reciprocated back. We both were in an interview room so we tried to behave formally. I quickly asked her about herself, although I knew her better than herself. She started her introduction, I quickly scanned through her resume to find the personal details section. It was definitely a sigh of relief when I saw the word “unmarried” on the resume. I looked into her eyes and realized how much I missed her. Although, I was moving close to my dreams of being an entrepreneur, yet that happiness was missing. It was because I had no one who would walk with me through all the trials of my future endeavours.
There was no one to share my success and failure. I came to know that she was being interviewed for a position within my team. She had excelled her skills. It could not be considered any favour in any way if I select her since she had perfect knowledge required for the job. While I was asking her questions, I was in another world parallelly. I was thinking about us working together. She would remain in front of me all the time. That feeling of love, which I had buried somewhere deep inside, suddenly emerged out.
It has been already 25 minutes since I entered the room. There were just 5 minutes remaining for the call to investors. My mind was continually saying to finish the interview, but my heart was on the other side. I just wanted to keep looking at her, for the next hour, for the entire day or maybe for the entire life. After five minutes, I logged out of Skype and switched off my phone and told her to present and explain her project. She stood up and started presenting. I remembered my words, “If I could re-live my life, then I would go back to that day where I selected her over my dreams and change the decision”. Today again, life came back full circle. Again, I am at that point where I have to select between her and my dreams. Then I asked myself why I took that decision. It was because I loved her, I loved her more than anything in the world.
With the success and failures, I wanted her to be by my side. I disappointed her and myself by blaming her for my failures. I was about to reach my goals; I was about to get a kick start to my startup but just like money minded robot. I missed her being a part of me. I missed her companionship. I can move forward in my life and be the owner of a million-dollar firm but who would love me like she used to do. With whom, I would share my ups and downs. I can always start a business, but I can’t always find true love.
She finished her presentation; I looked into her eyes; I saw the same shine. I saw the pain that she was hiding behind those eyes. I thanked her. She moved out of the room. I called my boss and told him “I have selected her”. Even though life gave me another chance, but I again chose her.