Rags To Riches


Like every day, after finishing most of the household chores; she picked out the newspaper and settled down to read it. She got to the business segment and momentarily froze.
In bold, written across the page was the headline “Shankar’s small ideas hit big time
Memories from a distant lifetime started streaming back in…

******

20 years ago
Sati: Hey Ma! I’m going to Shankar’s place. I want to play with him…
Sati’s mom: You should play with girls of your age. Why don’t you go to Geeta’s house instead.
Sati: Oh Ma. We all play together. Hey they are calling, I’m going.
With this she rushed out and jumped across the compound wall into Shankar’s house.
Shankar: Good. The three of us have been waiting for you to begin 3D Ludo.
Sati: Oh Shankar, once again! Not those 3D games again. Why can’t we play ‘house house’ again. It’ll be sweet. I’ll play the wife and you play the husband…
Shankar: After my game sweetheart.
Sati: You always say that…

******

Sati brushed those thoughts away and started reading the report.

3D Games company ‘Dimensionz’ has hit big time. The opening IPO reception was completely unexpected. Experts at the Dalal street are flabbergasted that a toys and games company could have such pull over investors. The owner of the company, Shankar has what it takes to become the next equity king. His opening speech had removed whatever few doubts that remained in the future of his company. Whether it is the company or his words that the investors trust, it is hard to say…

The pull of the thoughts in her head was too strong and she couldn’t resist any longer….

******

15 years ago
Shankar: So, that’s it Sati. That’s why I’m being sent off to boarding school.
Sati: But, Shankar!! Your father is in terrible shape already. The absence of your mom is nearly killing him. If you leave too…
Shankar: He is the one who took the decision to send me there you know.
Sati: But, Shankar!! You are so good at convincing people. Why can’t you talk him out of it? What will I do without you?
Shankar: Sweetheart. I’m only a child and so are you. I might be good at convincing people, but don’t forget; he is my Dad! If I’m good at it, he is god at it. I’ve heard they got a swimming pool and swimming is a compulsory course at the school.
Sati: You will forget me. You’ll meet new people. You’ll forget me. You are starting a completely new life. You’ll forget me.
Shankar: Oh shaddup. I’ll not forget you or Geeta or Chintu or any of you. You are all my friends.
Sati: That’s what Madhav had told us two years back before going to boarding school remember.
Shankar: Hey yeah. Madhav is also there. I almost forgot!
Sati: You’ll forget me…
Shankar: Oh dear. I’ll write to you often. Okay?
Sati: Oh Shankar. I’ll miss you…

******

Pushing the thoughts aside, she returned to her paper….

Dimensionz had humble beginnings. Four years ago; armed with a MBA from IIM Lucknow, Shankar refused lucrative offers of placement on campus to start off on his own. He started with a meagre 5 lakhs to set-up his first manufacturing unit. With only his peers to help and his dreams to power him; he set out marketing 3D chess. He struggled like most others and would’ve abandoned his dreams if not for the Indian Chess Championships. A small module was introduced in the championships for 3D games and it ended up garnering more attention than the normal games. There was no looking back after that…

******

4 years ago
Shankar (over the phone): Hi Sati. I’m in town. Want to catch up?
Sati: Where have you been all these years? You said, you’d write. You never did…..
Shankar: I know dear. I never got the time. I was too caught up in my curriculum.
Sati: We are not children anymore.
Shankar: And that’s what interests me even further.
Sati: I have a date with someone, Shankar.
Shankar: Wow. Nice. So, can’t we meet up after that?
Sati: There is no looking back Shankar. I am committed to him.

******

Struggling to come back to reality, Sati attempted focusing her moist eyes on the tiny font of the newspaper.

Shankar then released most of the known games in 3D format. It didn’t take long for me-too companies to start manufacturing products like Dimensionz. Ready for this, Shankar had already started his gaming community.

It works on a very simple basis. Every Dimensionz game board is loaded with an automatic system updater. Every individual playing on the board and winning can track their score online amongst the community of over million-children. In summers, the ‘Dimensionz zone’ all-India championships then invites the top 10 children from every city for over a 100 variety of games. The children from all over India battle it out with the best across the country and parts of this are streamed online. Says Eashwar, VP Finance at Dimensionz; “When Shankar proposed this idea to all of us, we all laughed it out. To us, this was a one-time work and investment. We didn’t realize that there was so much potential in things as simple as Snakes & Ladders.

******

1 year ago
Sati: Hey dear, what is that you are reading.
Sati’s husband: It is about a company by name Dimensionz. It makes those 3D games, you know. The owner Shankar is quite a charmer.
Sati: So what are you reading about?
Sati’s husband: He has come to us. He wants us to work on the IPO. I don’t believe he thinks investors will be interested in things like this.
Sati: Oh c’mon. You know the craze. Actually, I never believed in it either. But, look at the potential. People throng to those ‘Dimensionz Zone’ Championships.
Sati’s husband: Hey I think there is an interview today. Let’s listen to what he has to say.

[On the television]
Host: So, Mr. Shankar. The 3D gamer. Your games are a craze amongst children. So how did this whole idea about games come about?
Shankar: I don’t think it is the games that are a craze. I think it is the competition that gets them going. All of us are competitive by nature. The competition pool could be as small as the local community or the skool. But by enlarging the competition pool, the competitive spirit is tempted. The whole idea was to give these ordinary games an extra-ordinary presence. I realized at the very beginning that merely making 3D games was not sustainable. So we had to attach some service aspect to it. Put the competitive spirit and this service aspect together and bingo; you have a sustainable business model.

******

Sati folded the newspaper and realized that her dirty clothes had to be washed. Though a few trops trickled down the cheeks, she couldn’t help smiling thinking of how big her Shankar had made by taking small ideas.

3 years ago
Sati: Hey Shankar. This is Sati.
Shankar: That’s a voice I’d recognize even if I were in another life.
Sati: Oh you flirt! We barely talk and you say such things.
Shankar: Hunee, I’m waiting to go in for the chess championships. Our company’s games can hit big time if we get this thing right. So, if you don’t mind; can I buzz you later.
Sati: You always say that, but you never call. Anyways, I am getting married.
Shankar: Wow, congrats. Babie. I need to rush. But, I’ll call you in a short while. I want to know all the details….
Sati: Shankar, do you really believe that such small ideas of yours can hit big time?
Shankar: Babie, skepticism doesn’t get anyone anywhere.
Sati: Foolish dreaming neither does…
The line went blank.

*** The END ***

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