Have you been in a position where you almost gave up: when you were ready to pack up and leave your city of work because you no longer had the means to support yourself and your family?
My friend Gaurav has been there and almost did that.
His story will evoke diverse emotions: despair, failure, grief, and struggle before happiness and success.
His story is inspirational for you and me. Like most stories, it begins from the past.
Fear of Constant Comparison Troubled His Early Life
Gaurav was born into a family of doctors. He was an average student. He feared the pressure to live up to the high standards achieved by his parents and elder sibling right through his student life. And thereafter.
He struggled to match up. It was a long and hard struggle.
Things looked up briefly when he was selected to join the journalism course at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Dhenkanal. This branch – the first after New Delhi – had begun operations just the year before. An adverse comment by the Director of the institute in week one in front of the entire class affected Gaurav deeply. He did not wish to continue. His parents visited the campus to counsel him. Some of his friends (including this writer) tried to change his mind. Gaurav stayed back and completed the course.
A Career Which Took Long To Take Off
It took him nearly a year to find his first job, longer than all his course-mates. He finally found one, worked for a while before he switched job for growth. Things began to go well here till the publication he worked for shut down, one fine day.
Gaurav was crestfallen. He had just begun to enjoy his role. Now, he was back to square one.
He took a call to start a Public Relations firm along with a colleague who had lost his job too. Gaurav had immense goodwill and secured his first client immediately. From thereon, the firm went on to acquire 15 clients in a span of two years.
Things were going well. Till differences with his partner led Gaurav to quit the firm.
The Biggest Blow Which Ripped Him Apart
Around this time, Gaurav had the BIGGEST setback of his life.
Gaurav and his wife lost their firstborn at birth.
Losing the enterprise, he had founded, was already painful. Losing a child was devastating.
He lost the will to fight. Destiny was testing him, again and again.
He could no longer afford to pay rent for accommodation. Even finding the means to put food on the table was becoming difficult.
Gaurav and his wife Meenakshi decided to leave Delhi and go back to Odisha, their state of birth.
Both Gaurav and Meenakshi are warm, affectionate, and well-meaning. They have the most endearing qualities which make them feel like your own family. To see them go through trials and tribulations seemed blatantly unfair.
We All Face Challenges, How’s This Different?
Ups and downs in life happen. You and I have had our share of challenges too. So do most people. How’s this different, you may wonder?
In the case of Gaurav, the period extended over 12 years when he repeatedly faced personal and professional setbacks. But he remained optimistic and practiced ‘good Karma’.
Until it seemed like he had reached a dead-end. The only way it appeared then, was to turn around. And that meant going back and rebuilding his life, hoping the new place brings a new beginning.
Good Karma Pays and How
Gaurav had great relations with everyone who crossed his path. He would help even when he did not have the means to help. Those who knew him had high regard and respect for him. One of them – Kunal – reached out to partner with him to start a Public Relations Consultancy. And Value 360 Communications was born.
15 Years Later….
Cut to April 2022.
Value 360 was awarded the Giant Consultancy of the Year 2021 last week by a recognised industry body.
Value 360 had already won the Large Consultancy of the Year twice successively in 2020 & 2019, awarded by the same industry body. But this was bigger.
It now has over 250 employees and has recorded revenue of nearly 50 crores in the last financial year.
What Goes Down, Comes Up
- From being the last in his journalism class to secure employment to perhaps the most successful, not just in his batch, but all alumni – past, and present – from the same branch of the institute;
- From not being sure where the money for his family’s next meal will come from to providing employment to hundreds of professionals and helping many more at a personal level;
- From not matching up to the high standards of his family, to being its ‘pride’ and living up to his name;
Gaurav has seen it all. In one life.
He retains the same simplicity and warmth since the first time we met nearly three decades ago. He has the rare ability to repeatedly stretch himself to help those in need. He is positive about life and grateful for everything he has.
I messaged him to seek his consent before I wrote this. He was unsure but promised to sleep over it. The next day, he texted:
“I wouldn’t agree if it were not for you. I am still not 100 percent sure but both my wife & I feel that, if it must be written, you should be the one to write it.”
I called back to thank him and asked how he views his journey so far. He said:
With an extremely supportive life partner, able business partners, and the best wishes of my near and dear ones, I have resurrected my personal and professional life, from what seemed then to be a dead-end. God Almighty has been extremely kind to meGaurav Patra
“If you had one message to send to the readers of this article, what would it be”, I queried.
He grinned, in his usual style, thought for a few seconds before saying – “If I can, you can too”.