“Vidur, what’s the best gift mumma and papa have gifted you?”
It was going to be Vidur’s 6th birthday in May.
He rarely behaved so, but this time he wanted a gift.
There was one problem though.
We didn’t have the money.
All of 2016 and 2017 had been a hard time for nearbuy, the startup I was running.
We had burned through a lot of cash, with not much success.
For no fault of theirs, 80 folks had been laid off.
To conserve cash we were also going through a founder pay cut.
With my single income less than our monthly expenses, we had been dipping into our savings for the past year.
I had taken personal loans, maxed credit cards, and was down to 3,000 rupees in my bank account.
I felt like an absolute failure.
I was an absolute failure.
I had let down my employees, my investors, my founders. And now my family.
My 6 year old was requesting for a cycle on his birthday, innocently unaware of our financial reality.
And we couldn’t even afford that.
Ruchi suggested we sell her gold bangles, which will generate enough to buy the cycle and have some surplus.
We said yes.
While Vidur was away at school, we went to buy his cycle.
Brought it all the way up to the living room. And hid it.
When he came back home, we surprised him with it.
He broke down.
I don’t think he expected it.
We broke down as well.
We didn’t expect it either.
We were all crying, him with happiness, Ruchi and me at our state.
Uzma was born. She brought us luck.
By August, Paytm agreed to invest in nearbuy.
By December our income matched our expenses.
As part of a school assignment, Vidur was asked to answer a question. “Vidur, what’s the best gift that mumma and papa have gifted you?”
We expected him to say the cycle. He desperately wanted it.
He replied, “Uzma”.
We all broke down.
He, with gratitude.
We, embarrassed of ourselves.
The only gift that kids ever wanted, that we wanted too as kids, was love, not money.
The only gift we still want is love.
If we don’t get it, we think money will fill the void.
But it doesn’t.
Seek love. Embrace love. Explore love.