It was a big day for me. A big day indeed! For one, I got to know from my sources that I was going to be awarded ‘the entrepreneur of the year award’ and for the other Mr. Alex Mason was coming over to take my interview for Digital Citizen!
An acclaimed & prestigious journalist, he worked for the Digital Citizen, a magazine by the Omega network. The publication, was at the very top of the digital media news hierarchy.
It was not a routine interview. A piece in Digital Citizen meant instant recognition in the big leagues. You would be seen as an authority in your domain.
I was obviously excited.
It had been 7 years since it all began. A random Google search, a subsequent going through my brother’s emails and multiple YouTube videos later, I decided to join an internship that would change it all!
Digital Deepak, as it was called then, is even a bigger name now. Presently, it has gone global and is a well-established conglomerate of various small start-ups catering to sub-niches in digital marketing.
Marshal is here
It was 9 in the morning. Doorbell rang. I was informed that Mr Alex is here. I looked at my watch.
‘He is a little early!’ I thought to myself. Passed one last glance at myself in the mirror, I picked up my smartphone and went down to greet our visitor. He was sitting on the sofa. I think he had a mask on his face.
‘You know COVID ended in 2021 itself, Mr Alex!’ I said jokingly
He stood up.
‘Hi. It is so nice to meet you. I am afraid I am not Alex. He couldn’t come today due to some exigency. The company sent me instead. I hope its alright!’ he explained
‘And I have a viral right now so I am wearing the mask as a precaution. Lessons learned the hard way during COVID are not easily forgotten!’
I nodded my head in agreement.
‘Absolutely. It is totally fine Mr …?’
‘UV Marshal. That’s my name’
‘You have quite a different name for an Indian guy I must say’.
‘Well its not the first time I am hearing that but that’s a story for some other time. Today we are here for yours. Let’s start the interview’ he expressed
‘Where do we begin then?’ I inquired
We both got seated and he began his questions.
‘Lets take it from the start, shall we!’ he took out his pen & paper
Marshal: We all know that you own a successful business but more than that you are loved for the values you stand for. How did you become what you are today?
Me: Well, I wasn’t always like this you know. I was an average run-of-the-mill guy. I had goals but lacked the strength to pursue them. I had dreams but was too lazy to make them come true. Due to all such negative traits that I had come to imbibe over the years my life was in very bad shape. Then it struck me that I was just wasting away my life. I was not gaining any skills and neither I was building my inner self. So, in a moment of truth I decided to change it once and for all. I committed to get rid of my bad habits and cultivate good ones. I joined Digital Deepak sir’s internship program and it proved to be life-altering experience. I not only learned digital marketing skills but gained other life-changing skills along the way. It is generally said that we evolve at the precipice and so did I!
Marshal: A businessman, a philanthropist, a motivation speaker, you are so many things right now. How would you describe yourself?
Me: A growth artist!
Marshal: That is new! What does it mean?
Me: In our lives we all try our best to achieve our dreams but almost always stop the moment we get them. This ensures that we enter a state of stagnation. Growth stops but what I believe is that the drive to succeed should not simply be linked to the realization of the goals. It should be like a road on which we travel throughout our lives, taking pit-stops but never stopping fully. A growth artist means you find new ways to grow yourself. The belief that journey is more beautiful than the destination is absolutely true. I have internalized this belief and it is one of my life principles. I am all the things you mentioned in your question and all those emanate from this growth mindset that I have painfully cultivated throughout the years. I am never satisfied with success, I enjoy the process more, which ensures that I am always on the hunt for my next adventure! So eventually the goal becomes the journey itself rather than the destination!
Marshal: So, what are your future plans?
Me: No matter what you do, if you really want to impact this world then you need to get big. By big I mean really big. I had this realisation when I was working with big conglomerates. I saw how they could influence policy matters on a national and international level. I want to build a global network of successful businesses that are so big that they can really help move humanity further.
But, I could see that as I was answering his questions, he was getting restless by the minute as if something was eating him up from the inside and that he wanted to say but couldn’t or wouldn’t!
‘Are you alright?’ I asked
He looked up. His forehead was sweating. There was a palpable uneasiness in his demeanor.
I offered him a glass of water. He denied. His mask still on!
Suddenly my phone buzzed. It was a message from the publication stating that the interview has been postponed till tomorrow.
I was shocked. If interview was postponed and Mr Alex was coming tomorrow then who was this guy?
Seeing me deep in my thoughts, he immediately understood that I had caught on to his act.
Moving a bit closer he mumbled ‘Don’t do it!’
‘Don’t do what? And who are you?’ I asked him. This was getting confusing
‘Don’t accept the award today!’
I was stunned!
How could he possibly know about the award? I thought to myself
The award had not been announced yet. No one except few people knew about it.
‘Are you spying on me?’ I asked raising my eyebrows
‘I don’t need to!’
‘What do you mean?’
‘I have my sources too’ he stated. ‘And you are quite famous. It was not that hard to get this information. Moreover, I am not from the present’
‘What do you mean that you are not from the present?’
‘I am from the year 2150!’
‘I don’t have much time. Time travel is pretty damn expensive and certainly not easy. Moreover, I am breaking a thousand rules right now doing it. So just listen what I have to say. I don’t have much time. I know you are curious and have a lot of questions too but trust me they don’t matter to what I am about to tell you. So, sit down & listen to me very carefully.’
He certainly had my attention
‘You are a good guy. Always have been, but like everyone you too have a dark side and in precisely 90 years from now that is going to exact a huge toll on this world. You told me you want to build a really big network of businesses all around the world. You succeed at that 50 years from now. This mega corporation, named DOMAIN, is soon able to scale itself to the front-end of every cutting-edge technology.’
‘But that is a good thing. Isn’t it?’ I blurted out mid-way while he was still speaking
He passed me an angry look.
‘Will you stop interrupting me with your questions? Every second counts here.’ He almost yelled, looking at his watch, which I doubted was a watch. I was pretty sure that it was a kind of time travel device.
‘All was going good until you, the founder, decided that this world is riddled with corruption, disease, pain and suffering so it is your moral responsibility to cleanse it. From that point began a crusade against the present political dispensation of the world. People rallied up with your vision. Protests began all over the world. You were projected as a savior, a messiah to all. Governments, perceiving you as a threat, began targeting your companies. There were some who supported you and some who were against your vision. So, it led to the rise of a globally polarized world order divided into two camps.
After a few years of fighting, both camps decided they have had enough of each other so a war was declared. And what good has ever come with a war.
It was only a matter of time before nuclear weapons were unleashed. This madness rendered the entire world inhabitable in the year 2130.
So, after this global destruction, a truce was signed.
But it was already too late. World had lost everything. Except few pockets of land, radiation spread everywhere leading to the extinction of plant, marine and other biological species.
Truce was nothing but the beginning of a war with hunger, famine and disease. We battled with it for years but to no avail. Both camps watched in horror the outcome of their lunacy.
While all this was happening me and my team were secretly working on a prototype of a time machine. We succeeded in 2145. The technology was still rudimentary so we perfected it gradually over 5 years.
I knew what I had to do. I had to stop you from becoming the man who would destroy this world. I knew it had to be this very moment because it is after accepting that award that you truly transform into something else.
The idea, to be so big that you could do anything in this world takes its roots today. It is only the realization of the idea that happens later on but it begins today’
I just stood there, in complete silence. I had no words to express how I was feeling.
I had a bucket list but causing global extinction was not a part of it certainly.
‘So, this means, I should refuse the award?’ I asked him
Sensing disappointment in my voice he said ‘Don’t worry. World is more important than some random award. Always be cautious of that constant itch to make this world better place all by yourself. You have your part to play but if you try and play god it will always do more harm than good. God complex has never done any good in this world’
I got his point.
‘You are right, probably. But I am just curious as to how old are you?’
He smiled and said ‘160’
‘You think we would devise a time machine but not a technology to delay ageing!’
He looked at his watch again and said ‘It’s time for me to go now’
‘Wait!’ I stopped him. ‘You never told me who you really are?’
‘Yes. That is true because you already know everything about me and as far as my name is concerned it is just an anagram. I am sure you’ll figure it out’ he chuckled.
He immediately walked out the door and vanished.
I kept thinking about it. Googled for ‘What is an anagram?’
And eventually I figured it out.
‘Oh!’ I exclaimed as I finally deciphered it.
UV Marshal is LuV Sharma if you just shuffle the words.