Thank you, Harshit.
I first met Harshit (Instagram) some 3-4 years ago (I don't recall how we connected but I do remember it was about a startup he was planning) at Starbucks, Powai (where else?). When we met, I am not sure if I were impressed by him but I did realise that he has this, unbound, ambition. I do remember that I tried to poach him. But he did not fall into my glibness and he said no.
We lost touch for a while and then out of the blues, he asked me to meet him.
Of course, I never say no to meeting new people (as long as meet me in a 3 KM radius of where I live). He volunteered to come to the office and we sat and talked and talked. Yet again, I did not think much of him.
Among other things, in this meeting, he talked to me about his admiration for Shahrukh Khan. And anyone that loves SRK is automatically a blood relative! Harshit went so far as to narrate word-to-word SRK's now famous speech (video, text) where he equates poverty with failure. SRK said, "I equated poverty with failure. I just didn’t want to be poor." I take inspiration from this piece. And so does Harshit! And we could've left that meeting on this shared
fandom obsession for SRK, but no.
While parting, Harshit asked me about things that I needed help on. I told him that I needed someone to do tech for an idea I was working on at the time and I needed someone to help me with growing business at C4E.
And without expecting anything in return, he connected me to Abhinav (who has now become a close collaborator on most projects). And he helped me meet a few potential clients (I could not convert any - not his problem).
As things moved along, we started meeting frequently and I realised that he is one heck of a conversationalist! To a point that I started sharing my deepest secrets with him. And instead of making fun of me or something, he started to offer help. He started to badger me to do more. And like a great pupil, I would continue to ignore. He became this persistent voice at the back of my head that would not leave me alone if I did not deliver!
Then one day he called and said that he wants to throw me (and some others) a challenge to do 100 pushups over the next 30 days. I said I can't do anything to do with fitness and I volunteered that I'd rather write 1000 words a day. He agreed and asked me to write a 1000 words and post them on a public forum.
Even though I accepted the challenge, I kept dilly-dallying. And he did not stop her badgering and pushing me. I hated him from the bottom of my heart. And I felt miserable about not being able to work. Here is one snippet from my notes about a meeting with him...
Eventually, I gave in and I started to write a 1000 words a day. Those words took shape of Shoulders of Giants (#SoG), a series of letters to select friends where I would share whatever I learnt in the day gone by.
I sent the first letter on the 27th of Oct 2018 (a copy is located here). Since then I have written a few (archived here). Oh, I can't write about SoG and not write about Krishna. While Harshit gave me the push, it was Krishna that helped me give shape to the thoughts and idea behind the letters. More on these some other time.
As I end this, I HAVE to say that the thing that I relate most to him, and what I've learnt from him, and what I respect him for is perseverance. He has this maaaaad perseverance of an obsessive, maniacal person. If he sets his eyes onto something, he gets it. Case in point? His Crossfit training. Since he moved to Lucknow, he is doing whatever it takes to become super fit and compete in the Crossfit games. He wakes up before 4:30 (which is inhuman), goes to the gym and sends one inspiring quote EVERY day! Every day! An archive is on his Instagram feed. That's some consistency and commitment. If I had that kind of commitment, I would reach my lifeGoals faster and sooner!
Oh, and Harshit is a clear example of a connection that I would've never made if I did not go out of my way and told the Universe that I wanted to meet more people. And it wouldn't happen if Harshit wasn't the same! Apart from being a friend, Harshit is superconnector (has connected me to some really interesting people) and a believer in me.
Lesson for me? And others? Go out, meet more people. And while you are at it, see this TED talk that talks about what makes a good life. Like they say, it helps to hustle :)
In the end, thank you, Harshit. For inspiring me to push myself harder. And specifically for nudging me to create SoG. I sincerely wish you were in Mumbai. I would've loved to spend more time with him. Maybe sometime in future. I remain hopeful :)