The CEO And The Chhola Wallah
A CEO of a big venture capital fund comes down the elevator from the 33rd Floor. He’s having a tough day. There’s news that one of his large recent investments isn’t faring too well. It’s been down valued by 25 per cent and the CEO there has jumped ship forcing one of the founders to take over the role
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A CEO of a big venture capital fund comes down the elevator from the 33rd Floor. He’s having a tough day. There’s news that one of his large recent investments isn’t faring too well. It’s been down valued by 25 per cent and the CEO there has jumped ship forcing one of the founders to take over the role.
As the elevator descends he stares out at the Gurgaon skyline. He is perspiring lightly under his new linen suit and it’s not from the heat. He stares at his mobile phone at a number he has scrolled to. It’s a new Chinese fund that wants to enter India and has begun talks with him to head their set-up.
He realises that timing is crucial. For the past four years he has blazed a successful trail securing two very high profile exits with huge gains.
But now things are slightly out of control. Not that everyone knows it though. Two other companies that he has steered high ticket investments into are also on slightly shaky ground. In one of them the cofounder who is actually the brains of the outfit, has just been caught cheating by his wife and is on the verge of mental collapse.
In the other company the ticking time bomb is an incorrect accounting procedure that took place nine years back but is about to rear up and damage the company severely because a senior official in the ministry is refusing to look the other way.
He stares at his phone and wonders. Should I?
At ground level just across the road there is a Chhola Wallah. He’s having a tough time also. For a long while things were very good and he was selling 100 plates of Cholley Kulchey per day at one spot. Life was perfect. He would get up at 6, have enough time for a cup of tea with his wife and then help his daughter dress for school. He’d then get his stuff together and walk his cart about five kilometers and set up below a tree. Customers would begin almost immediately — some wanting a late breakfast, others an early lunch. A steady stream would keep coming in and on some days he would be all done by 6 in the evening giving him more than enough time to get home in time to watch the new mythological serial.
But now dark clouds were looming. Competition had cropped up in the form of a new Samosa Cart opposite and legendary as his Cholleys were some of his customers had started flirting with the girl who manned the cart.
To make matters worse one company from where he got many of his customers, had set up an in-house canteen which cut down business by another 20 per cent.
So now the Cholla Wallah had to figure out the way ahead. Longer hours? Maybe two spots at two different times in the day? Or even the new brainwave he had yesterday —getting up at 4 and spending an hour making a special pickle to add to his menu.
He stares at his cart and wonders.
How should I?
The CEO has reached the ground floor. To makes things easier he has asked his driver to come to the other side of the road to avoid a long U-turn. He crosses at the zebra crossing and then pauses to wait for the car. The delicious smell of Cholley fills the air. He turns and sees a Cholley Wallah there.
The Cholley Wallah smiles.
The CEO looks at him…then gives him a salute!
This article was published in BW Businessworld issue dated 'Oct. 17, 2016' with cover story titled 'The Luxury Special 2016'
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