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21 Life Lessons From a Bollywood 'Satsang' for Startup Skills

It radically changed my views on society.
We should watch Sholay and Trishul once a month. Image: Parthshri Arora

Sometimes we do strange things for work. Sometimes we do them even on public holidays. They seem so alluring, that we commute for nearly two hours to be a part of it. Voluntarily. On a holiday.

I went to Thane from Mumbai, last week, to check out what at first glance seemed like a random union of the most unlikely combination of words in linguistic history–A Bollywood Satsang on 10x skills for startups. ‘Satsang’ is a Sanskrit word, which means 'a gathering together for the truth'. I went to the event jacked to the brim. So jacked, that I bought this T-shirt.


The ‘event’ turned out to be something else entirely–A collection of #startupbros sitting around a wooden table, taking advice from a speaker, who for two hours, promised to make us watch movies (we only watched a five-minute clip from Amitabh Bachchan’s Trishul), and instead dropped gems like, “Eyes are a window to the soul."

Despite his grandstanding, like telling us about the time he randomly turned up at Madhuri Dixit’s house and told her via the intercom that she’d make lakhs if she met him, which eventually ended up in a meeting, it took him 20 minutes to figure out how to increase the volume on his laptop.

His core audience though, was impressed. There were 11 of them there, of different shapes and sizes, the youngest being 18, and oldest [balding] one nearing 40: Two college-goers, two job-inbetweeners, three dudes in family businesses, and four working for startups. They took notes rigorously, one of them sitting near the speaker answering every question was the self appointed validation seeking class asshole. They were happy though, with the biggest smiles emerging when Big B aka Vijay Kumar in Trishul, buys a house in Model Town without having any money, and tells the seller, "Mere paas sirf hai toh maa ka aashirwad (The only thing I have is my mother’s blessing).”

I sat listening to the trash, falling even deeper in the already fairly deep existential dread that comes with being in your mid-20s at this moment of shitfuckery. (See: Joblessness, weird dating scenes, activists getting arresting for nothing).

Watch five minutes of a film. Take notes. Start a business. Easy.

The following are what I heard from the satsang, ideas that I think can change lives, in no particular order:

  • "Time humaara concept hai, there is nothing called time (Time is a human concept, it doesn’t actually exist).”

  • “Friends, the meaning of intention is, ‘Visualising the feeling of experiencing achieving what you wanted.’

  • The full form of the word, “Ego” is ‘Edging God Out’.

  • Our speaker was at Big Bazaar supremo Kishore Biyani’s party last week without an invitation.

  • He also met Ratan Tata at another party a couple of weeks ago, and went up to him and introduced himself. This was, according to him, very cool, and a skill he can teach us all.

  • We should watch Sholay and Trishul once a month.

  • Dream+Plan of Action+Timeline=Goal.

  • "God gives tathastu tathastu (so be it), it won't give anything if you aren't clear what you want."

  • [The] conscious mind sets the target, [the] subconscious mind achieves the target.

  • The British introduced modern schooling in India because they were scared of the individuality created in gurukuls.

  • Prem Chopra nikal rokdaa (Prem Chopra, show me the money).”

  • We can buy a helicopter in one month if we put it on a vision board.

  • We are victims of logic.

  • God always grants us the last thing we think of just before going to sleep, because God controls when sleep hits us.

  • If I have to sell one lakh copies of my book, rather than selling it through a distributor, I should try to find that one person who will buy all of them together on a profit.

  • Steve Jobs bahut badhiya aadmi tha (Steve Jobs was a great dude).”

  • Amitabh Bachchan in Trishul gets credit from Sanjeev Kumar to buy a house because he tells Kumar that if he doesn’t invest in Bachchan he will lose lakhs of rupees he could’ve made.

  • Watching the above-mentioned scene five times is great motivation.

  • We are all salespeople.

  • “Undercommit, but overperform.” That is dhanda (business).

  • “Salim Javed zabardast dialogue likhte the (Salim Javed [Trishul scriptwriter] wrote great dialogue).”

Follow Parthshri Arora on Twitter.