Sukanto Ghosh** still remembers those days when he braved the scorching sun while balancing big bags of ready-made garments & Bengali Taant saree on his Vespa scooter. Even after visiting almost 8-10 houses of his acquaintances, barely one or two items were sold and sometimes that too on credit.
"Dada…This Saree is so lovely, I want to wear it on Durgasthami…but errr…you can understand this is pre-Durga Puja month…I would pay the money next month!" But it is a Pre-Durga Puja month for his family as well, Sukanto screamed in his mind. He also needs the additional money to cover the festive expenses which comes as the meager profit of his garment business apart from his limited salary whose major chunk vanishes to pay off the EMI of his Government flat.
I had known him since long as my friend’s father but became familiar with him only after my marriage. However, soon I realized that there is more to his visibly ordinary persona clad in equally ordinary Kurta-pajama most of the times. During last seven years, I have always seen him devoted or in better words submerged neck deep in his work only. Today, his work – his business- his passion has helped him to upgrade his financial strata to the prosperous class of society. But, it had never been like this always. He had seen adverse days of his life. Those days…. which forced him to dream big. He knows how it feels to strangle one’s desires just because the monetary part is not supportive enough. He can never forget the struggle which he and his wife faced to provide a decent upbringing to their kids.
Other than the garment business, he also started creating wall decors made of plaster of Paris. He sold them to cover up the loss incurred in his garment business. But, that also turned out to be a flop show. His wife constantly stood beside him in his struggle. She tried to augment the family income with her singing shows in AIR. Both the partners left no stones unturned to bring that additional money to their family which can afford them the small luxuries of life. He slogged himself in extra shifts in his Telephone set manufacturer company and somehow managed to run those additional small- time side businesses for years.
Sukanto conceived this idea of establishing a food joint/sweet shop in those days when neither his means nor his financial condition actually backed up the plan. It was there as a passionate dream lying in some corner of his mind. He felt too shy to discuss it with anyone else in case they mock him.
While boarding his office bus one day, he noticed that vacant house standing in the corner of the row. After observing for many more days, he knew that this is the place where he can actually shape up his dream venture. But, suddenly he realized that with his depleted savings and pending financial responsibilities, it is idiotic to even think of buying that property.However, he still enquired about the owner of that property. Months passed by but he had no clue how he can initiate his first step towards his dream. Apart from running on the daily grind of life countless thoughts remained clouded in his mind.
"From where can I accumulate the preliminary capital amount to launch this business? I don’t have any ancestral property to sell off! If I start this venture, I have to devote all my time in it…..then what would happen to my job? If I leave my job and this project also follows the fate of the previous businesses, then how can I come out of that failure? I have already completed five decades of my life…in late fifties, isn’t it too late to launch any new business."
Apprehensions, inhibitions, uncertainty flooded his mind all the time. But, more he thought about it, more he was able to relate with his own passion to launch the assignment. He spilled the beans to his wife who heard him patiently. Like always, she promised her support and asked him to keep faith in Almighty. But, even God helps those who helps themselves…Sukanto thought in his mind.
By the beginning of this 21st century, when technology boom engulfed the telecom sector with the launch of mobile phones, he knew that his employers would not be able to keep pace with the changing demand of the market with their redundant thought process and reluctance to lay their hands on manufacturing of mobile phone handsets. Sukanto was able to visualize the downfall of his company. "This is the time’… his heart yelled…either now or NEVER!" He applied for VRS (Voluntary Retirement Scheme) in a jiffy. After days of vexing trysts with various valuators ( who evaluated his present house as well as that property which he wanted to buy), random government officials he somehow managed to sell-off his own house and buy that particular property which topped in his wish list.
Now, the actual field research part boggled his mind. Those who were already established in this business were not ready to divulge any trade secrets with him. "I have to rely on my observing capacity & hunch feeling only…nobody is helping me with any information" Sukanto told his wife. His wife suggested that opening a Sweet shop specializing in Bengali Sweets in this city of North India might act as the USP of their business. Soon, he was able to track down some karigars specialized in making sweets…Bengali sweets.
Within a month he sent out invitation of the launch of his ‘Ghosh Sweets’ to all his relatives, neighbors, friends, critics, enemies. Unsolicited crticism started pouring in to his household.
"Have you lost your mind!...Starting a business at this age(late fifties)!You should have invested the retirement amount appropriately in some mutual funds. The interest amount would have been sufficient for your family.Have you ever thought how you would repay the loan you have taken for your elder son’s studies in case this shop falls flat on its face!!Bengali’s are not shrewd enough to earn profit from a business!!"
I saw him in the inauguration ceremony of his shop.With a serene smile he welcomed all and it seemed that he had determined to thrust the negativity back with his optimistic approach to the life. He was well aware of the huge risk he has taken which has almost bargained his family’s future.But, he was dogged to prove everyone wrong. His wife took over the administration, supervision and quality control part of the shop while he ventured out in the market to acquire raw materials and bulk orders.Almost single-handedly as a unit, both of them worked to establish and join the bits and pieces of their dream which now does not seem as impractical as it appeared few years back.
Now, almost a decade has passed since the establishment was launched. He toiled day & night to develop his business.Being the cynosure of everyone’s eye his successful business now boasts of his relentless hard work. Sukanto Ghosh – my Father-in-law live to the fact that ‘Your dreams come true only when you act to turn them into realities!'