Inside the cab, as customary Ashu pulled out his earphones and plugged them in his phone. He opened a music app on his phone and without thinking clicked on the “surprise me” option which would play random songs based on the ones he had heard before. This was a usual habit for him and he used it to explore new song genres. It was a gamble. The app could either bring up a super catchy earbug or a soulful melody or it could sometimes play frustratingly annoying songs. The song started and soon his mind became devoid of thoughts. He simply focused on the tune and lyrics. After three songs ‘Help!’ by the Beetles began playing. He had heard the song before but tonight some of the lyrics stood out to him.
“I never needed anybody’s help in any way”
“Help me, get my feet back on the ground”
“And now my life has changed in oh so many ways”
“My independence seems to vanish in the haze”
Thinking about the lyrics and hearing the sound of the singer pleading made him a bit uneasy. He then rolled down the window next to him and stared aimlessly outside feeling the night breeze on his face. With his head outside Ashu could see a blurring of colours. He stared at the trees, the streets, the stray dogs and the vehicles whizzing past. For a moment the honking sound of cars and the buzzing of motor engines were more pleasing than the sad music. As the road merged on the sea link road he recalled a story that has been making the headlines for a few days now. He could clearly recall the details of the articles. The owner of a major coffee chain went mysteriously missing on Monday night en route to the coastal city of Mangaluru. He off from the car on a bridge told his driver he was going for a walk and asked him to wait ahead. He then walked towards the bridge and never returned. The body of the founder-owner was recovered from the Nethravathi river after 30 hours of search. It was suspected that he jumped into the river due to debt woes. He was under pressure from lenders, private equity holders as well as from tax authorities.
The thought of a successful businessman committing suicide made him sad and dampened his spirits even further. In the middle of his thoughts, he felt on his phone vibrate with an incoming text. When he looked at his phone, the email notification caught his eye.
“I should open the email,” Ashu thought, I don’t know why but I’m sure it can’t be any good. He deiced to read it. An email from his bank titled urgent stared at him. With beads of perspiration beginning to form on his forehead he hesitantly opened the email.
Take action immediately!!
This legal notice is about your mortgage loan on the apartment at 301 El Prado, Kandivali, Mumbai.
Ashu rapidly read the entire e-mail which ended with,… “The due payment of Rs. 75,00,000/- to be made within the next 4 weeks. Failing to do so, we reserve the right to seize the possession of the property and foreclose the loan”
The ominous feeling in his gut had manifested in the worst way possible. Ashu couldn’t help but compare his situation to that of the coffee chain owner. Although he was nowhere near the business mogul, yet he too had a big debt haunting him. He wondered what it would take to finally drive him off the edge and take such drastic action. What is that tipping point that would lead to someone being so crushed under debt that ending their life seems like a reasonable option? Was this email the beginning of a chain of events that would lead to his end? With all these thoughts in mind, the car pulled up in front of his house.
After a quick shower and a light meal, Ashu grabbed a beer and opened his laptop again. He opened Youtube and searched for an episode of corporate whales, his favourite TV series in which aspiring entrepreneurs from all walks of life pitch their business models to a panel of investors and persuade them to invest money in their idea. Watching these episodes and seeing the underdogs achieve their dreams would always fill him hope. He could really use some hope tonight, he wondered if it would do the trick?
Choose your answer to proceed
Should Ashu watch the episode?