Whose validation do you seek? Coffee King VG Siddhartha’s death has taught me a big lesson
VG Siddhartha’s sudden death made me question how I see success and failure, and whose estimation I really should seek.
- Total Shares
It has been a few days since the Coffee King VG Siddhartha first went missing and then subsequently was declared dead.
Even though the shock and somberness should be abating, like it does after every such instance, I cannot stop thinking about this incident.
I did not read anything more than the news of Siddhartha’s disappearance, his purported last letter and the eventual discovery of his body. I stayed clear of all incidental reports that flooded the media and elsewhere, mainly because my mind was on things other than the whys and wherefores of his suicide. The material questions were of little interest to me.
The tragedy carried spiritual connotations for me.
It provided an opportunity for me to examine the subtler dimensions of human existence. That, in my view, was more necessary than to know the details about his wealth, liabilities and the rest.
What rankled within me was the question — what, in the end, does success mean?
What is it that we are hankering after and making our conquests for?
A shocked farewell: Cafe Coffee Day founder VG Siddhartha's apparent suicide shook the nation. (Photo: Reuters)
Here is a man hailed by the world as a successful entrepreneur, much-loved by Indians for the glamour he added to our desi coffee culture, lauded by those who knew him for his bold, yet unassuming nature, cited and celebrated for being a pedigree coffee grower, who, in the end, labels himself an utter failure and makes an unceremonious exit.
I just could not understand it.
There is something fundamentally wrong with the way we define success and failure.
I have been spending the past few days trying to figure out this anomaly, which explains my disinterest in the debates surrounding his death. Every time a ‘celebrity' (read ‘successful person’) ends it all, I have been prompted to think about this strange facet of life. But I never delved very deep, thanks to the complex nature of my own questions and partly to the distractions of life.
This time, it was different.
I had ignored the questions long enough, and now, I had to get to the bottom of this gnawing inconsistency.
Too soon: When celebrities pass on suddenly, many do question how they define failure and success. (Photo: Movie still/Nishabd)
Funnily enough, I realized that the answers aren’t unknown — they are simply too obvious, but what makes it seem very cryptic is our unwillingness to see the truth.
We aren’t ignorant about the nature of our pursuits and the perils that lay in our paths. We know it all. Every man is a spiritual being first and has the innate wisdom to know. But we merely shut our blinkers and allow ourselves to bask in the extremely fragile frames of glory. We let our material liabilities quash our spiritual assets. We fail ourselves pathetically by letting ourselves run off the grid.
In the wake of the CCD incident, these are the questions I am asking myself:
How far should we run? How much is it worth wagering? What, eventually, will our balance sheet reveal?
And, when should we consider ourselves successful — when credit is conferred on us by outsiders or when the ‘insider’ categorically says, ‘You are successful, here, this moment, despite everything else you see outside’?
Whose validation are we seeking after all — our own or others?