Dreams do come true – full circle
If the line sounds familiar, it is for good reason.
There couldn’t be a more befitting and poetic way to describe my first encounter with G than the very lines that he used to describe his encounter with thalaivar.
Our love and admiration for G in the Chennai ecosystem is boundless.
In my case it is also more personal.
For how could I not root for a man who is not only an enigma in the SaaS industry, an epitome of humility, and an enchanting inspiration for every tech person out there.
But is also a:
Messi fan. Rajni maniac. Sastra alum. And above all, someone who grew up in the very streets of Srirangam where I am writing this from.
But until today, our connection was just on paper (More on this paper, later)
As a graduate in 2018, I’d well and truly missed the early Freshworks boat and had to settle for watching G on YouTube screen; not that any digital screen could stifle his aura, but I didn’t want anything more than just to meet him in person.
As elated I was about the IPO, a part of me was also trying to make peace with the fact that meeting him was becoming a more and more distant possibility.
But then like a middle school kid who jumps about in jubilation when spotting his town’s name on a news ticker during rainy days, I woke up to this post from Nivas:
Conclusion: M̶o̶r̶e̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶M̶o̶r̶e̶ distant possibility
So I turned to the only (Ex) Freshworks guy who wasn’t yet tired of my antics of asking every other FW person to help set up a meeting with G – ‘Meme Star’ Sanjeev.
So here’s our my pursuit of happyness turned out:-
(Narrator: He didn’t.)
“Aana nee pannaa nalla irukkum nu Bhai feel panraru”
(A rather unpopular reference from a forgettable Arjun movie)
After a disappointing exchange with Sanjeev whose most sincere effort was “Body is your best chance” we moved on.
Then came Friday, and with it my hero of hope – Suresh G; one of G’s very close friends, a fellow Trichy kaar who had just taken a space for Pepul’s team at our co-working space!
Conclusion: M̶o̶r̶e̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶M̶o̶r̶e̶ ̶d̶i̶s̶t̶a̶n̶t̶ possibility
Then came Monday.
I was on a call with my boss and another colleague, sitting inside transparent phone booths, a regular feature in most co-working spaces. Then my colleague remarks
“Krishna, Girish is here it seems”
Here, I cannot thank my boss enough whose first words were “You can drop off Krishna, this is a rare opportunity. We can connect later”.
That’s all I needed to spend the next hour stalking G as he was catching up with his friends inside the Pepul office.
In that hour, there was only one conflict – the same conflict every college kid who makes eye contact with their crush on the hallway has: Do I put a face of nonchalance and admire from afar or make a complete fool of myself trying to make a conversation?
I chose the latter. To borrow a line from G for the second time,
I just wanted to keep looking at him. I had no agenda. My mind was blank.
This was it.
Five years of fanboyism, his talks played on loop, Freshworks friends raving about him, all came down to this moment.
I could meet him in the future, but only time in my life would I ever get to meet him for the first time! I had to absolutely nail it. Then it hit.
The tweet where I talked about a dream I had the day Freshworks went IPO.
I pulled out a paper from my notepad, wrote the words “Trichy is and will always be proud of you!”
As he made his way out, I moved in for the ‘confrontation’*.
(Except I hadn’t practised the delivery)
Kris: Sir. Big fan. Ungulukku epdi thalaivar oh, andha maari enakku neenga. Can I just touch you once to see if you are for real?
G: Do you also work at WorkEz?
Kris: No, I work at another SaaS startup from across the hall.
G: Apram, ID card la Work Ez nu potrukku (Referring to the access card we all carry)
Before I could reply he jumped in with a “Apram nee enna thirumba kepa, en unga ID card la Global Infocity nu potrukku?” (Referring to his access card)
Kris: Sir, big fan. Sanjeev anna, Sairam anna oda lam podcast panirken.. Oru picture…”
*The above conversation has been heavily edited for clarity considering I spent 100 of my 120 seconds struggling to get a proper English/Tamil word out of my mouth.
Much like a spiritual visit, how was my experience was the question I got asked most.
“Today for half an hour, I was not my usual self, I realized that the Thalaivar-fan in me had taken over completely and I was living the dream. Seeing SuperStar in flesh and blood, feeling his touch, spellbound by his words and touched by the warmth of his heart. Two words sum up the experience — Jenma Sabalyam!”
Of course, my dear friend Sanjeev would eventually come through for me here, doing a much better job than I could, conveying what it meant to me:
Dreams do come true. Full circle.
Kris | @krisbot