‘Resilience’ is such an all-encompassing term. The Oxford Dictionary puts it as: “the ability of people or things to recover quickly after something unpleasant, such as shock and injury.”
It’s so much on display during the ‘un-lockdown’ that it stirred a raconteur in me. Many a knight in the shining armour have valiantly fought back the Covid-19 demons and resurfaced as victors. In the process, they are setting trends for others to follow.
An old hand with a renewed zest
A fortnight back, I received a text on WhatsApp from a friend. The message read as: “visit my new home interiors showroom.” On being urged, he simply said that he doesn’t want to uncork too much over a telephonic conversation, and it would be great if I paid a visit to his showroom.
The very next day I arrived at his retail outlet in one of Jaipur’s upmarket areas. And there he was; ready to greet me; sipping a soft-drink; and with a beaming smile on the face. “How have you been?” I asked. “Wonderful,” he replied. Obviously, I, being a journalist, was not content with that retort. Out of the 5Ws and the H, only ‘Who’ was apparent. The rest was yet to be learnt.
The gentleman is an old-hand at home interiors, and has worked with some of the city’s leading brands. He disclosed that after battling financial woes during the lockdown, he decided to reinvent himself as an entrepreneur.
Kudos to his zeal, he was able to rope in a venture capitalist. Commendably, his showroom was worth a spectacle. Apart from the customary ‘push’ and ‘pull’, the entrance door was crested by a glittering crystal star with metallic touches at the edges. To entice clients, he had placed two floor vases at the entry along with the mandatory hand sanitiser dispenser.
Inside, the ambient air was charged with a soothing fragrance of lavender. From vases, murals, and ornate wall-art, to lamps and figurines, he had decked them up beautifully. He was so self-assured that he showed me an ‘Order Book’ wherein clients could get their requirements enlisted.
Having spent nearly two hours at his showroom instilled an undiminishing self-belief in me. I continue to be overawed by this enthusiasm and how opportunities can be carved out of unfavourable situations.
Young Turk on the rise
Intrigued by this episode of resilience, I felt like probing a Young Turk who has recently taken the reins of a chariot in his inexperienced hands. Around 300 miles to the northeast in Moradabad -India’s brass hub- my brother-in-law has replaced his ailing father as the man-in-charge of a five decade old export house.
Brass was already pinching deep holes in manufacturers’ pockets, and with exports at a halt during lockdown, it was implausible to consider it as a source of revenue.
This, however, didn’t deter the budding entrepreneur from giving wings to his aspirations. Unlike his father, he has begun focusing on the indigenous market. And brass doesn’t top his revenue recipe.
He manufactures with steel, iron, copper, and wood for his Delhi-based buyers. He’s gearing up for the upcoming Diwali festival. It’s going to stand him in good stead.
A stalwart reaps rewards
It’s a season of many firsts. Astonishingly, the first adversity of its kind unstrapped the first dangling assortment of its kind. While speaking to my uncle, who runs an apparel export house, I discovered that demand has shot up in the Western Hemisphere. Perhaps sartorial elegance is a new remedy for trauma. I heard his factory personnel in shrilly conversations. “We are working up to eleven hours a day to release a shipment of more than five thousand shirts in the coming days. It’s unprecedented,” he said.
Talking of yours sincerely...unlike our predecessors, my generation is more stressed out. No wonder most of us lose sheen by forty. Premature wrinkles have new companions now. Those grey shoots in the stubble. Nevertheless I continue to go against the grain. Call it resilience.
Salman Danish Khan is a freelance journalist and writer based at Jaipur, India