Updated: Apr 11
Business partners and brothers-in-law, Gagan and Pulkit had arrived in Bir, Himachal for a meeting that morning. Two weeks after Holi, the relatives were meeting again for the sake of their new venture. They were married to sisters and had met at about 8 family functions before deciding upon starting a new business together. Somehow, they had both had the same idea for a company for decades, one that created prescheduled itineraries for people who travelled often. Pulkit had planned to use his background in tech and AI to create the itineraries and Gagan had been thinking about creating a network of tourism moguls in each state. Together, they planned to revolutionize the way people travelled in India.
Gagan had been to Bir many times. He had been something of a backpacker in his college days. He still liked to pack a small bag of necessities and take small trips to explore the country on weekends, but these trips had been becoming less and less frequent as his workload increased. Finally, he had handed in his resignation at 38 and decided to start his own business with his brother-in-law.
The relationship between the two had been formal and awkward at first, given that Pulkit was a bit older and more stable in his career at the point. But the two had managed to find enough interests in common and a rhythm that made it easy to travel together.
That day they planned to go paragliding, starting in Billing and ending in the Bir village. Bir Billing was, as people liked to refer to the two places together, a paragliding hotspot in India. So, after they were done with their meeting, they headed up to go gliding. Bir Billing was absolutely beautiful, the green grass was a splendid image as the horizon met with a clear blue sky. Gagan couldn’t wait for nightfall, he wanted to see the thousands of stars that littered the night sky one couldn’t spot in polluted cities.
There were a lot of Maggie points in Bir was what Pulkit had noticed. He did not know what made the particular brand that popular in the hilly areas of the country, but he had noticed the dominance of Maggie once they had entered Himachal Pradesh. Pulkit didn’t care for Maggie, he believed that Wai Wai was the superior brand of instant noodles. He was also thinking about the dumplings that had been promised by a friend settled in Bir for dinner. The cold and fresh air made for a fantastic companion to the idea of soupy warm dumplings.
In fact, that was the part, along with sharing a cold beer with Gagan at midnight as they sat outside their rented cottage gazing at the stars that excited him. Paragliding as a concept made him nervous. He couldn’t help but ask the instructors again and again, but was it safe? Could they ensure he wouldn’t get injured, or worse?
Gagan tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Darr Ke Aage Jeet Hai.”
Pulkit couldn’t help but laugh at the terrible tagline and that made him feel a bit better. After the two had landed, Pulkit said, “That is such a stupid line.”
“Absolutely. Terrible advice to everyone with a family.” Gagan laughed.
“Terrible, terrible advice.” Pulkit agreed, chuckling.
“Drink?” Gagan offered a bottle out of his Outer Woods laptop bag. The bag could fit in four bottles along with your laptop and Gagan carried it with him on every work trip to ensure the celebration never stopped.
Pulkit took one and said, “Definitely, this is a much better decision than going paragliding at 45. I swear I wanted to scream when we were up there, but I was so scared I’d become a meme and the worst part is, I think my daughter would market it for sponsorships.”
Gagan laughed for a good five minutes and said, “Maybe we should hire her to be our social media manager.”
Pulkit said, “Maybe. I’m feeling a bit puckish. Let’s get some Maggie.”
Gagan said, “Wait, I have some other snacks right here, I know you hate Maggie.”
“I love this bag. What have you got?” Pulkit said as the two dug into the bag carrying happiness.
"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
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