Following is a diary entry of MIDAS Entrepreneur Akanksha Ladkat from her Bootcamp at Mulshi with her fellow batchmates and mentors. The excitement builds up as the bootcamp activities unfold.
“A big shout out to whoever thought an exciting excursion would actually be a part of the making of an Entrepreneur. While we experienced adrenaline rush though various camping activities in the two days at Bootcamp, there were learnings from my class that kept popping up like the cartoon strips in my head. Here’s a quick account of what actually happened and how my entrepreneurship tamed mind viewed it.
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone – Our alarms went off at 4:15am. We had spent the previous day shopping and packing our essentials and excitements in camp bags. On a Friday September morning, 28 dozy heads along with four guiding mentors headed to Mulshi dam. In the lap of nature, at the foothills of the lush Sahyadri range, MIDAS students found a new way of becoming an entrepreneur. However, the ultimate question that hounded all of us at this unearthly hour was – “How does a bootcamp shape an Entrepreneur in making?”
Our day began with white water rafting going downstream in grade 2 and 3 rapid levels on the Kundalika River. This is a 12 kms stretch with dam-controlled water. We were dressed in our helmets and personal floating devices with our paddles in hand as if it were war. Energies ran high with everyone taking the training seriously and hushed tones of a race was already floating around. Competition and the need to win can give rise to super powers inside you that you were not even aware existed.
While some questioned if swimming skills was a must, some even questioned if there was a possibility of not coming back at all! Everyone overcame their fear and hopped into a raft, with a go pro perched on the instructor’s helmet ready to capture our memories. As we slowly completed each rapid, there was a sense of accomplishment in the air. Our arms were synchronized, paddles cutting through water. We splashed around, floated, sang songs and pushed each other around with a smile on our face like kindergarten children. We followed all safety instructions and stayed close to our raft even when we were in the water. All of us literally took the plunge in spite of prior reservations. This is an important quality when it comes to Entrepreneurship. The river is our industry, our start up is our raft, and all that is left to do is prepare, train, believe in our raft and take the plunge.
Disconnecting can sometimes bring you back in connection with your actual self – Tired and drenched, we left for our campsite. It sat beautifully facing a valley. The mountains outlined the hazy fog and every inch of our view was green. Fortunately, none of us were informed about the cell reception situation. All our phones were soon useless and because we did not know, we did not spend the bus ride burying our heads in them. At times, Ignorance is Bliss. Our camp instructors who conducted an ice breaking session and a few activities received us. The first activity was the ‘roller coaster’. Divided in four teams we had to transport a marble from point A to B using pipes. Of course, it wasn’t that simple. There were some rules involved, for example, the marble cannot back roll. We set our targets but failed to achieve them altogether. After discussing what went wrong and strategizing correctly, we met our targets. We discussed learning outcomes after every activity. Team building, trust, patience, attentiveness are only few of the entrepreneurial qualities we learnt through games. We realized more of what we possessed as qualities and had taken for granted until now.
Another activity which called ‘Save the world’ had the same groups, where we would take turns to tap on numbers 1 to 50 with the first 5 alphabets to be tapped after each multiple of 10. The purpose was to complete as many cycles as possible within 2 minutes. The first round was chaotic with a lot of miscommunication and cross directions to each other. Most groups had allocated numbers according to locations (sides and corners of the rectangle). We learnt to think on our feet and improve our observation skills. The entire group completed one cycle at an astonishing 23 seconds, showing the improvement in our communication skills from round 1. After a steaming cup of lemongrass tea and ‘kanda bhajjis’ we played light group games like Hunter, Rabbit and Wall & Parda-hai-Parda to learn how well we know each other. We were done for the day and gathered around a ‘coal fire’ to sing songs and chat with each other. We shared tents and bundled up in our sleeping bags, falling asleep to the lullaby of heavy rainfall.
The following day, our scheduled hour of physical training and walk got cancelled because of the constant rain shower. We deviated from our planned schedule but ended up going for our 14 kilometers hike a little later. The path we had taken was recently trekked by the Indian cricket team. The trek was beautiful, with a slippery path due to recent rains urging us to be more careful while climbing. The trek was a true fitness test for all of us. The peak gave us a breathtaking view with only nature surrounding us. We also learnt that the area we were in, housed 165 different species of birds that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. After all, exploring the unknown territories may sound intimidating in the beginning, but in the end it’s all worth it. Its amazing how the environment around you is a proof of concept, that people have tread the same path before and that more things exist in the same vicinity which you would not be aware of. Just like how an entrepreneur is always ready and adaptable of new spaces and environments.
The trek taught us to push through even when we had moments of weakness. Isn’t it what the true spirit of entrepreneurship is? It not only helped us build our willpower but also gave us a sense of achievement at the end of the day. The bootcamp was placed perfectly at the end of stressful weekdays and before a long weekend. It was a first for many, aiding us to discover ourselves, push our comfort zones and learn basic survival while bonding with our classmates. We returned to MIDAS with brimming smiles and a box full of cherished memories and deeper connections. “
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