Meet Amitraj, a fictional character drawing on the personalities, known to the writer, running startups in Bengaluru
Amitraj is a typical Bengalurean entrepreneur. Amitraj is also fictional, and someone I have made up for this column by agglutinating the personalities of some half a dozen people I know running startups in Bengaluru.
Amit is a name used by many South Indians, especially those active on social media, to poke gentle fun at the North Indian stereotype of someone clueless about the non-Hindi environment he lives in. But do not let the Amit in the name of my made-up entrepreneur fool you. Amitraj is the best sort of Bengalurean entrepreneur there is. He can converse in half a dozen tongues. And because he can, he is constantly engaging in conversations with everyone he meets in the course of his daily life in Bengaluru.
His day sometimes starts with realising that he has run out of toothpaste. But hey, he is a startup guy. He immediately opens an app that will run tasks for him such as buying a tube of toothpaste at a kirana store nearby and then schlepping it to his doorstep. Amitraj is waiting eagerly. The eagerness is as much for the toothpaste as it is for engaging in small talk with the delivery guy who will bring the toothpaste to him. When he comes, Amitraj asks him about how the job is, what he likes about the job, what he does not. He tut-tuts along with the delivery guy when he cribs about how people just use him these days to get booze delivered and not important things like toothpaste. He sends the delivery guy off with a generous tip and much goodwill.
Shiny-toothed, and otherwise freshened up too, Amitraj is ready to head to his workplace, a co-working space, his sixth in as many months. This is because he wants to try them all out before he decides where he will work out of for a longer term. He tries to make ‘I change my workspace as often as I change my underwear’ his trademark joke, but it only draws him dirty looks and he cannot understand why.
Amitraj fires up the latest carpooling app, where he knows there is someone who will take him halfway towards his office, and confirms his ride. He knows that the car driver he is pooling with only sticks to the main roads and tends to get stuck in traffic jams that could have been easily avoided, but he does not mind. He likes it even, for it allows him longer conversations with the driver, and more importantly, the constantly changing set of others who hop on to the car pool. Every day, thrilled with a new nugget of information or lived experience that he has added to his collection, he gets off the car, and opens a bike taxi app with his office as the destination.
Presently, pleasantly even, his motorcycle pilot reaches him. Amitraj hops on, and tells him about the destination. And by the time the bike is on its way, somehow finds himself deep in conversation with the bike pilot. Amitraj is reluctant to end it, after all it has only been a dozen minutes of meaningful talk, but the bike has reached his office, the fancy co-working space.
Amitraj is there for the next twelve hours or more. Often more. But in that time, he has ordered food thrice. Once each from the three startups trying to win the food delivery opportunity. And two out of three times he has conversations with the chap bringing in the food. He could not do so the third time for he was on the phone with someone who was interested in buying a tiny piece of furniture that he put up for sale, more as an experiment, on the portal of a startup that allows people to sell used goods.
Amitraj works hard at his startup idea. Yet, the startup hasn’t made even the tiniest dent in the market it is operating in. Yet. But if I were a betting man (or as they like to call them these days, a venture capitalist), I will definitely put my money on Amitraj making it big.
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