Thanks to the super-duper expressway, we arrived in Baroda at 10 am, a full one hour before the event. Crosswords are usually spacious, but Crossword Baroda is airier, friendlier and more spacious than most. A sea of empty chairs lay before us and I wondered if anyone would actually turn up… on a Sunday morning at 11 am!
Well, we were in for a surprise. An energetic audience of 100 + kept me and the rest of the panel (Prof Basant, Shanker Maruwada and Sunil Handa) engaged for over an hour. The discussion kicked off with some obscure questions on capitalism, socialism and the fall of Lehman Bros (bas yun hi – nothing to do with the book!). But then it bounced back to the subject of ‘staying hungry’ – entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship!
“All the entrepreneurs have been successful but have they had to sacrifice anything along the way to reach there?” was one of the interesting questions raised.
My reply: “Definitely on the work-life balance front work has got much more priority. Family life has suffered. But then today’s corporate executives also lead very one-dimensional lives.”
Sunil Handa added:”If I call some of my students late in the night they are invariably in office… Jab company bahut zyada salary deti hai to vasuli bhi to legi.” The point hit home.
The audience was a mixed one – (from M S University), executives (many from Baroda Management Association) and a good number of women, including housewives. Later I learnt that some of them came for the event thinking ‘Stay Hungry’ must be a book on dieting…
But as I signed book after book (phew! I sure felt like J K Rowling that day!) one of them confided she enjoyed the event anyways. And she too has been thinking of doing something on her own now that her kids have grown up.
A total of 65 books were sold on the spot and the biggest kick was seeing Stay Hungry at the no 1 spot in Crossword Baroda’s non-fiction list. As we would say in IIM A, Thomas Friedman ki leli zigzag zigzag!
Many thanks to Mayur Shah and his team @ Crossword for an amazing event.