The entrepreneur, untold and unheard of …

shimla

Bored of my daily struggles, I board an early morning bus to Shimla for the weekend, hoping to find solace in the mountains and satisfy my craving for some peace. Halfway through into the journey, the bus halts and I move out to grab a bite. I discover a small enclosure that has now been converted into a dhaba by the cliff. Six other vehicles stand parked adjacently. While I slurp the overpriced tea from my kulhad and grab a packet of potato crisps, I gaze at the breathtaking view of the hills. The location is grim, yet the setting so apt – the result, a ‘monopoly’ of sorts that many would envy. As I get back into the bus and move ahead, I am taken aback by the boldness of the move.

Somewhere deep within, the entrepreneur, untold and unheard of, continues to amaze me.

Having just arrived, I step into a local Volvo that ferries people from the outskirts to the city centre. I sigh in suffocation as I watch more passengers being forced into the bus than what it can actually accommodate. I peep out of the window to find the conductor, lobbying and shouting amongst several others, in an attempt to attract attention. My frown dies out and I am left with a startled grin as I witness ‘customer acquisition’ at its best, happen day in, day out. I eventually make a futile effort to decipher, which among the end and the means impresses me more.

Somewhere deep within, the entrepreneur, untold and unheard of, continues to amaze me.

Relatively fresh into a city new to me, I come across a random ‘hustler’ who promises to find me lodging of my choice. At a point where the Internet is a luxury, I give in. He takes me around at least half the town, going to extreme extents to ensure he does not lose out on his customer. I marvel as he negotiates at each hotel, trying to fit in the right balance of comfort, cost and of course, his remuneration. Back in college, I could never have imagined somebody making a living out of a business like this – a ‘dalal’ for hotels.

Somewhere deep within, the entrepreneur, untold and unheard of, continues to amaze me.

With Shimla brimming with tourists and Dussehra round the corner, the marketplace is all decked up. Making my way through the crowd, I am constantly on the lookout for local handicrafts and souvenirs. I feel proud as I strike a 50% bargain over a keychain, only to later discover that I ended up paying twice the price. As I traverse Mal Road, I soak in the atmosphere of what appears nothing short of a ‘big billion sale’, perhaps not worth a billion bucks, but definitely equivalent in fervour. Every shop, however minuscule in operation, has a story to tell.

Somewhere deep within, the entrepreneur, untold and unheard of, continues to amaze me.

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