I first picked up Anya Gupta’s The Captainship- First Gen Entrepreneurs expecting it to be a short auto-biographical narration of nine well established Indian entrepreneurs, but rather, the book did a tangent and offered first-person narratives of the enterprisers’ first memories of their childhood and teenage that shaped them into what they are now. There’s absolutely no preaching or reflecting upon their establishments, just plain simple details of their life that shows their vulnerable, insecure, pliant and joyful sides. So you see, there’s nothing ‘thought-provoking’ in this book, and the pages turn just to bring out the silver linings amidst the dark clouds.
The name of the book, as mentioned by the editor, is inspired by a line from William Ernest Henley’s poem Invictus: “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” Rightfully called captains throughout the book, the entrepreneurs- Satya Narayanan, Subroto Bagchi, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Zia Mody, Sanjeev Aggarwal, Girish Batra, Ashish Dhawan, Ashish Gupta, Sanjeev Bikhchandani- definitely radiate the poem’s soul by having taken over total control of their lives. Their lives, what remains saved in their memories, has notes of positivity, desires, morals and values, rejection, penury, the little happiness, the unwanted thorns of pain and the umpteen sacrifices and compromises they had to make during their course. That’s how much rooted this book is. And knowing that this book is a collaborative effort of all these entrepreneurs, one can’t help but find slight similarity in their beliefs, morals and family values. The heading rendered to every individual’s story is impressive too.
The supplemental illustrations by Anitha Balachandran are a huge plus, adding to the vibrancy of these captains’ recollections. The cover-page boasts an extremely beautiful rendition, and is a definite attention grabber. This book is recommended for not only budding entrepreneurs, but for everyone in general, so that one could draw parallels from their lives and understand that if they could, anyone can. Extremely positive and colorful read this.