Kapil Billo steeled himself for the impending conversation and pushed the wooden door.
‘Sir, may I come in?’
The office of Ravi Sippal, the 38-year-old owner of Multitude Informatics seemed to be a small one. A simple wooden chair and table with a notebook computer open were the only furniture in the room until Kapil notice the mirror behind the chair where Ravi sat, making the room look bigger than it originally was. 25 years old Kapil had been preparing for this meet since his e-commerce venture E-ShopIndia was announced the winner for Best Startup of 2019-20.
Ravi seemed busy with work in his notebook but ushered him in as soon as he recognized Kapil.
‘You’re Kapil, right!’ He said, amazed at the young man, shaking his hand. ‘CEO of E-ShopIndia. Congrats for the award.’
‘Thank you, sir.’ Kapil said, his eyes a bit moist. ‘I followed your path. I know how much it meant to you to get the Best Startup award last year.’
Ravi’s brow furrowed looking at the eyes of the younger person.
Why are his eyes moist?
‘My father is Shantaram Billo sir.’ Kapil blurted out without thinking, speaking it before his mind can block his words, ignoring the lump that seemed to have formed in his throat.
Ravi was silent for a second, looking at the person sitting in front of him before understanding dawned on his face. Mixed feelings seemed to appear magically as he smiled and frowned simultaneously.
He suddenly remembered the day 14 months ago.
It was a tough time for him. Though his company, Multitude Informatics was just announced as the Best Startup in India for 2018-19, things were hard. He sometimes questioned his decision to leave a good job and starting up his own IT firm. With a tight budget and small projects, it was difficult to continue running behind his dreams at the time, but he still persisted.
Shantaram Billo, his attendant, had come to him asking for a loan of 1.5 lakhs. No bank was giving him the loan, so he came to Ravi in desperation.
‘What would you do with that much money?’
Ravi didn’t have that much spare money at the time, and giving that amount to the attendant didn’t seem like a very good idea.
‘Sir, my son has an idea of a startup. And he idolizes you. You got the Best Start-Up award and he was the one who was full of enjoyment.’ Shantaram’s eyes became moist. ‘He has good potential sir, and he wants to follow your path. Without the money, he won’t be able to go after his dreams. If only you can…..’
Now, looking at Shantaram’s son, Ravi smiled. He got up from his chair, crossed the desk and hugged the young man tight.
‘I know it was a very difficult time for you.’ Kapil said, a tear rolling from his left eye. ‘You managed to give the money without caring about your company’s finances. You didn’t even know me. Being an entrepreneur yourself, you didn’t think of any competition and just gave away that money for me. I know you had to sacrifice the profit of the company to give that amount.’
‘But you finally got what you deserved.’ Ravi said smiling, though his eyes were also moist.
In his mind, he remembered what he told Shantaram that day after he arranged the money and gave him.
Leadership is all about inspiring people and helping them. Without that no person can be an Entrepreneur.
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