While waiting for the books I had ordered to arrive at the bookstore last Thursday, I thought of visiting the library I frequent. Yanking the book, The Age of Kali, a marvellous travelogue on India by William Dalrymple, out of my backpack, I walked into the library building, right opposite to the bookstore. After Running up the endless flight of stairs, I was exhausted, but excited. On seeing me, the lady behind the front desk gave me a bright smile which she gives to all the regulars. As I pushed the book I had to her, she asked, “Another work of Dalrymple has been returned just now, you want that?” I just waved at her and headed for the long shelves.
After picking up a Jack Reacher thriller, and racing to the desk to get it sealed as fast as possible, I bumped into a guy who had returned a book and was starting for the long bookshelves. Apologising to him, I rushed past him and found that he had left a green covered book which the pleasant lady was about to keep under the desk. The title caught my eye. “HOW I BRAVED ANU AUNTY AND CO-FOUNDED A MILLION DOLLAR COMPANY”
Being bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, and looking out for something that could give me that drive to take the initiative, I took the book then and there.
One thing I would like to say before I give a review is Varun Agarwal is a real hero, who will surely be a source of inspiration to someone who is all set to start with a new venture.
The book starts with Varun, the 20 something protagonist, being out of college and jobless, when his friends have been placed at good companies. What started out as an idea discussed over booze and written down on a piece of tissue paper was later turned into a million dollar company.
The way of storytelling at some occasions is influenced by the bollywood, for which the author apologises and blames it on the over exposure to Hindi movies. The business idea takes shape at a party thrown by varun’s friend and future partner, Rohn Malhotra or simply Mal. Varun presents the idea which Mal instantly likes. Meanwhile, Varun’s mother is really worried about her son who comes home late, sleeps till 11 in the morning, and does nothing but roam around. He wants to follow his passion, but is asked to follow the MBA after engineering route to a successful career.
It is much late into the book, that, anu aunty enters the scene. She is a typical Indian aunty who keeps saying that her son has failed miserably, even if he scored a 90+ percent in an exam, to prove he is a master brain, and all others are just shit. She dogged Varun all through school, and keeps doing it during his mom’s kitty parties.
Parroting her signature dialogue, “no MBA, no future” she haunts him in every possible way.
He dodges everything and starts the business with Mal, which flourishes in a very short time. Pioneering the concept of customised tees and hoodies for Indian schools and colleges, like the ones seen from Harvard or Stanford, the duo decides to take the business into the top gear, making it a full fledged firm. He is even dubbed, a “t-shirt salesman” by the aunties, with anu aunty leading the pack. She makes arrangements for varun to get a job at the company where her son worked at a senior position.
Slowly but surely, the business becomes a success, and they duly register the company, Alma Mater, and starts an online store. With this, the orders come rushing.
Above all, his mother could now be proud of her son running a company.
Putting in the salaries into capital, and still in need of more funds, they approach an accountant who values the company at 75 lakh INR, which Later, another person valuates at a million dollars. Varun and Rohn become stars overnight, at kitty parties, after they appear on the Young Turks show.
The book ends on a happy note, with Varun’s mother getting smart of anu aunty. Varun dating Devika, the girl whom he stalked on face book, out of his love for her. He comes in terms with Sid, with whom he had a fight. In the end, varun ends up earning much more than his “techie” friends, without following the 9 to 5 rut.
Even as all this happened, anu aunty kept saying, “Varoon beta, remember, no MBA, no future.”
I fell in love with this absolute page turner, as it is laden with loads of entrepreneurial wisdom. A ready reference for anyone who is out to get into the world of business.a really inspirational one.
It’s a great read.