Entrepreneurship, Life, StartUp

Can we inject ‘fun’ back into the funeral?

Recently, my father was admitted in the ICU. Thankfully he is fine and back home. I spent four days in the ICU Waiting room and kept observing what was happening around me. What I saw and realised was that a constant state of emergency, which after a while becomes a routine. We have all observed this in hospitals. For attendants, even the doctors working in the Casualty Ward seem to be looking at emergency cases casually over a period of time. This is because 24 x 7 they are expected to be in a constant state of emergency which eventually becomes quite a routine for them. When relatives of an accident victim are all anxious and worried and in a hurry to save the loss of blood and life of the patient, the ward boys and doctors would not resonate similar urgency through their action or body language leading to a huge disappointment and frustration.

A similar phenomenon is seen in relationships as well. When a couple is dating and in a romantic relationship, there is a great deal of sensitivity towards each other’s emotions, likes and dislikes, moods and expectations. However, when that warm relation further leads into marriage, the routine sets in fast and the partner is taken for granted.

Here is one anecdote:

Wife sitting before the mirror and getting ready – to husband: “Ab aap mujh se pyar nahin karte!” (you don’t love me anymore!)

Husband reading newspaper, replies without looking at her: “Karta hun na! (of course, I do!)

Wife: “par aap meri parwah to nahin karte?” (But you don’t care for me?)

Husband: “Arrey Pagli, Pyar karne waale kisi ki parwah nahin karte.” (O Darling, people in love never care for anyone)

To me, an entrepreneur is the happiest person. A very confident and passionate individual. A person who has decided to take the destiny in his / her own hands and taken a leap of faith to follow the idea and start an enterprise. A person who sees a problem, a societal pain and is motivated to solve it or sees an opportunity and grabs it! Passionately marketing his /her vision to the fellow team members who would join as the founding team.

But unfortunately, I am getting a different feeling while dealing with some start-ups. As they embark upon their start-up journey, they find it difficult to maintain their daily dose of energy, optimism, enthusiasm and passion. At some point, these key differentiators between an ordinary employee and an entrepreneur evaporate fast.  I have sat through many start-up pitches where the founders stand before the panel as if they have been forced to speak. Right from stating their own names and rumbling the name of their start-ups, they rattle like a parrot and at the end of those 5 minutes feel exhausted. It seems like the routine has set in and the passion is lost.  With a little bit of struggle on the way and a couple of rejections, the passion and energy disappears and gets replaced by the 9 to 5 mind-set. The entrepreneurs start seeing problems and pessimism around, which may eventually lead them to shut their start-up, lose their team and look for alternatives.

Randy Komisar starts the first chapter of his book The Monk and the Riddle – with

         “We are going to put the fun back into funerals.”

This is a very inspiring and challenging statement. Can we put the fun back into funerals? If we do, we will revive many near death situations that we see around us. Be it the Casualty ward of the hospitals, where we find that emergency is becoming a routine or a relationship where the love, trust, mutual respect and compassion is taken for granted and in start-ups where the passion, focus and energy is replaced by negativity, hopelessness and subtle lack of confidence. The founding team needs to constantly introspect, reinvent and re-energise not just themselves but also the team and their stakeholders.

Like Randy Komisar, our famous Hindi Poet Dushyant Kumar also has a powerful thought to share. –

कैसे आसमान में सुराग नहीं हो सकता?
एक पत्थर तो तबियत से उछालो यारो|
– दुष्यंत कुमार

Kaise aasmaan me surag nahin ho sakata?
ek patthar to tabeeyat se uchhalo yaro!
                                                      – Dushyant Kumar

Why can’t you pierce a hole in the sky?
Throw a stone with your total conviction.


About rajivvaishnav

Rajiv Vaishnav Managing Partner Cornerstone Venture Partners Rajiv is Managing Partner at Cornerstone Venture Partners, a global tech VC fund focused on Consumer business enablers (such as Applied AI) and Enterprise / SME BI solutions (vertical SaaS, AR & VR applications, Blockchain for enterprise, etc.). Cornerstone is a Pre-series A / Series A fund, the first institutional support for promising tech ventures enabling growth and customer access in unique ways. Rajiv brings over 35 years of solid experience in building brands, developing teams, expanding the market share and building organisations from grass root upwards. He was heading the Ecosystem & Partnerships Developmentt at Jio-GenNext Hub, A Reliance Enterprise. In this role, Rajiv is responsible to evangelize the Start-Up ecosystem, identify and connect with the deserving start-ups, academia, government agencies, mentors, angel investors and VC networks globally. Since 2002 till end of 2015, Rajiv was an integral part of NASSCOM’s senior management team. He headed NASSCOM’s first regional office in Mumbai and grown to manage the membership outreach nationally. He initiated many path breaking initiatives at NASSCOM including Cyber Safety initiatives with enforcement agencies, start-up incubators with State Governments under 10K Startup programme, evangelised Animation and Gaming industry and nurtured it, lead the ISO Standards initiative to establish a Global BPO and Product Quality Framework Standards out of India. He helped establish NASSCOM’s emerge forum in its formative days. At NASSCOM, he was enthusiastic about developing new IT destinations in the country, and fostering platforms for Industry-academia interactions as he believed that these were the two most critical requirements for the Indian IT industry to maintain its globally advantageous position. Rajiv was a member of AICTE (WR) and of IQAC of the SNDT Women’s University and Trustee at Dewang Mehta Foundation Trust. With Harish Mehta, the first President of TiE, Mumbai and the first Chairman of NASSCOM, Rajiv co-founded TiE in India. He built the organisation bottoms-up and nurtured the start-up ecosystem in India since early 2000. He got early exposure to work with TiE in Silicon Valley and investors, entrepreneurs and mentors such as Kanwal Rekhi, Suhas Patil, Desh Deshpande, Sridhar Iyengar, Raj Jaswa, Shabir Bhatia, Raj Desai and many others… He has worked with Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC), Franchising Association of India (FAI) and US- Environment Resource Center (US-ERC). In the corporate sector, his experience includes stints with two U.S. Freight Forwarding giants Emery Worldwide and Air Express International in sales & marketing. In 2000, Rajiv was invited by the U.S. Government to participate in their International Visitors programme on US Trade and World Market. Rajiv has administered several outward trade delegations including those to International Franchise Expo ’99, USA, Emerging Companies delegations to CeBIT Australia and Silicon Valley. He has represented NASSCOM in the International Advisors Council to the Mayor of Luwan District in Shanghai, China and E-Sports Symposium in Seoul, Korea. Rajiv is a Science graduate from Mumbai University. He is passionate about music and literature. His blog url: www.rajivvaishnav.com
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5 thoughts on “Can we inject ‘fun’ back into the funeral?

  1. The recent problem at Mumbai airport led to Jet Airways flights being diverted to Hyderabad. The passengers who were in love with the airline could do nothing. The airline has become complacent, not communicating with the passengers etc. led to a lot of passengers being left disgruntled. Will it be Jet’s funeral? Time will tell.

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