This one is another one my courage series where I explore the courage needed for doing/accepting things which are seemingly ordinary to others in the world.

My personal life has always been almost non-existent. My professional life has been on a downward spiral for the past few months until it took disastrous dimensions this month. To start off the biggest product of my portfolio, which was also to be the biggest product of the company has bombed. While this was hurting me, there was some solace in believing that this would be seen as a product failure and not as a judgement of my capability as an individual. Until this month.

I was in Ludhiana. To call Ludhiana the most dangerous market would be an understatement. It was a battleground of egos between 'the company' (me) and the 'dealers association'.  Last year had seen the entire gamut of 'top bosses' and their bosses being summoned to tackle over-inflated egos and over-exaggerated lawsuits presented by this association. This was the market in which I was to launch a product that had seen unprecedented dealer resistance in markets across the country. That morning I had even been 'threatened' by the leader of this association that the launch was going to be boycotted unanimously by the association.

In the evening my top boss - the General Manager of the company had come down for the launch despite a 5 hour travel. While the event ended peacefully, the reviews of my performance were scathing. My performance was mocked & ridiculed. I was dismissed from conducting any further launches by this top boss himself. To call the incident damaging would be an understatement. At one blow, my whole years work had been taken away from me. Every flaw, every limitation, every feedback of the product boiled down to one fact - my inability to deliver a confident presentation. I had a talking time of 10 minutes in a 35 minute show. Yet it was me who was disastrous to the product, to the ambitions of the organization.

I have not had the courage to share this with anyone. Not with any of those colleagues, not with my new found confidant, not with my best friend and definitely not with my parents. Simply because I do not have the courage to call the whole first year of my professional existence as a farce, as shit being flushed down a pot. I have been living in such extreme denial that I haven't had the courage to even regret it or cry over it.

For a change the personal front seemed to be improving. I seemed to be able to survive the professional setback provided my personal life could become less non-existent, less directionless. On one of the several journeys across the country, I met a pretty, kind air-hostess. We exchanged numbers, started talking and as swiftly as it all started, it ended too. Turns out I wasn't exactly what she was looking for. Here was a girl who was as hot as I probably could get and I couldn't sustain her expectations for even a month. How could I ever dream of holding such a widely desired woman throughout my life as a husband. While I may have spoken about her existence but couldn't gather the courage to talk about her exit as it somewhere was a reflection of my inability to hold a woman in my life.

The other surprise was my drunk caller - a business partner who turned into more than just a colleague. There was a tipping point and both of us played along our temptations. The encounter was anything but pleasant. We tried to do it and I couldn't get an erection. I was so high that I made a fool of myself in everything I did or did not do. I am so ashamed of admitting it even to myself that I still keep trying to run away from it - sometimes on the pretext of being too drunk, sometimes on the excuse of being under too much mental stress. The excuses may be fair but the fact remains that I was a failure. An unmitigated disaster if you may, and it has taken me the courage of over a week to just come to terms with it, let alone completely accept it. I fancy a life of glamour, of scantily dressed women in attractive outfits and yet I have lost the ability to even get an erection. I think that says leaps and bounds about the life that God desires for me.

In all of these instances the common thread is my inability to accept failure. We have been programmed so deeply to appreciate success and admonish failure that we associate failure with defeat, not recognizing the quintessential fact that while failure my be intermittent, defeat is penultimate. Failure may be an outcome of striving for dreams which were too big for present capabilities whereas defeat is ultimate death of all dreams and efforts.

There were small success in all these failures. I could have opted to not give the presentation at all. Yet I won the courage to face such a potentially violent crowd. I could have opted to not give that woman my phone number at all, yet for the first time I had the courage to give my number, unsolicited, to a complete stranger, infront of a whole flight of passengers. For the first time I forgot the implications of dating a business partner and did what my heart wanted - to go out with that woman. Yet as a society we will not remember these tiny successes because the failure at the end of these is a crime that can never be committed.

Until the time I can climb the reverse escalator towards leading a normal life.

Your Failed Friend

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Published by Discoverer Lost