Entrepreneurial Dichotomy in Bengal

Two old men strolling in the park started chatting. One of them said, “Both of my daughters got married, though I am very happy with my elder son in law, I am quite bothered about the younger one!”
“Why?” asked the other one.
“The elder one has a job, good pay, good perks, but the younger one is doing business! It’s very risky, you never know when everything is lost!”
“That’s really a concern!” nodded the other man with exposed perturbation.
He then asked, “So where does the elder one work?”
“In the younger one’s company!!!” replied the man!

Though the above anecdote is famous among the Bengali community showing the lack of entrepreneurial spirit among them, deep down it tells a dark truth. An average Bengali joe still takes the safe path of a college degree and a secure job at the end of it. Though there are exceptions from prince Dwarkanath to Purnendu Chatterjee, Bijon Nag, Sumit Majumdar, Dr. Pranay Roy and few others, the outliers do not define the general mood.

Still there are only a handful of people among Bengalees, who do not propel their ward to land up as a doctor, engineer or an IAS, but instead encourage them to tread the thorny path of entrepreneurship. As if the term itself is a taboo!

In “Dasgupta Travels” I have tried to analyze and introspect on this peculiar behavior and in the process tried to reveal the unexposed side of the IT sector. I tried to shed light on the life and dreams of the younger generation. With a few years of my life in those cubicles I incorporated my personal experiences with artistic license. Apart from this, it is the story of a flight. The flight of a girl named ‘Jinia’. A girl who gave up the comforts to chase a dream and in the process went through stormy clouds. A dream that cost her, her personal and professional life, but she is not just another bird trying to take on the skies. She is a phoenix, reincarnating from her own ashes recursively till she sees the sun. This is not just another feminist belligerance but a story of deliverance which is gender agnostic.

The novel has a plethora of characters, and each has a story worth telling. In brief the diegesis of the salient ones are as follows.

The centroid of the cluster is Jinia Dasgupta, a rebel who abhors her nine to five job being confined in a ply-box and dreams to travel the world instead. She dreams of starting her own venture and is encouraged by her colleague Rituparna.
Rituparna is banished from home as she married out of her religion, which keeps her low all the time. The most she recalls is her younger sister Alokparna.
Alokparna is not as established as her sister and works as sales executive in a global tour agency. The pay is peanuts and the job, demanding. After a brief altercation on the road one day, she meets Minati, Minati Ganguly.
Mrs Ganguly is rather an inspiration. With Piklu, his son, a young man with poor eyesight, she lives alone working as a school teacher, battling life by herself.
Leaving her lucrative and prospective career as a techie, Jinia decides to establish her own business. She starts up a company in a sector where men have a monopoly, a travel agency! Her vision and mission? To find out ways for Bengalees on a budget, to fulfill their common dream of traveling the world! With creative marketing she started to build her first group of tourists.
A retired schoolteacher from a village in Burdwan, Mr. Jadavchandra wants to fulfill the last wish of his ailing wife Arati, to see their only son, Rajiv. Rajiv lives in France and does not care about his parents. The old couple becomes her first customer.
This transition from employee to employer does not go well for Jinia. Her husband and best friend, Atindra leaves her over a petty fight involving his colleague Geetika. Jinia, with her uncle Ambikesh Sanyal and a score of tourists, sets sail for a Europe package tour.
Mr. Sanyal used to be the Kolkata chief for a reputed global tourism company. An unmarried sexagenerian, he refused to go beyond a girl whom he fell for, as a teenager. He encouraged Jinia as much as possible in chasing her dream.
Atindra, facing the heat of attrition, has to take up the challenge of roping in a client. He travels to London.
Ambikesh discovers that her old flame, Minati Ganguly, is one of the tourists in Jinias team.
Jinia, Mr. Sanyal and the twenty travelers, covers nine countries of the continent. The journey brings out the good, bad and ugly side of all. In the middle of all, Jinia discovers that Rajiv is now a beggar in the streets of Pisa, after going through a terrible accident and decides to keep the knowledge hidden from Jadavchandra and Arati. The other lives also go through twists and turns.
Atindra joins the band in the middle of the tour, trying to fix the broken string between him and Jinia. Piklu wishes to start a new life with Alokparna.
The maiden tour of ‘Dasgupta Travels, comes to an end after going through thick and thin. Jinia proves to the world that she also can.

The enormous saga takes the reader on a journey through nine nations of Europe, it reveals the internal picture of the silicon district of Kolkata. And in the journey it explores the current social picture through various perspectives.

This is not a story that will enthrall the reader once and seems revealed on the next pass. This is more like a journey, which the reader can take up to just feel good everytime. That is all.

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