Desi Back to Desh

Between airports, airplanes and transit lounges

Can you take me higher.…


Titan AE, the movie was my first introduction to Creed. A Christian rock band that rocked for four years before breaking up. The movie broke new ground in animation, broke the studio that filmed it (fox animation went under), and the sound track’s most powerful number Higher, was never officially mentioned anywhere with the film.

This morning when I was thinking about wrapping up my post for Startup Insider 4, I could not come up with the words to describe what these sessions have meant for us. To us oldies and the young guns behind the series. If this was an FM station (I haven’t figured out how to turn it into one), I would dedicate my all time favorite numbers from Creed and Titan AE to the group that sat from 6 pm till 10:00 pm on Friday 8th February 2008.

“Higher”

When dreaming I’m guided to another world
Time and time again
At sunrise I fight to stay asleep
‘Cause I don’t want to leave the comfort of this place
‘Cause there’s a hunger, a longing to escape
From the life I live when I’m awake
So let’s go there
Let’s make our escape
Come on, let’s go there
Let’s ask can we stay?

Can you take me Higher?
To a place where blind men see
Can you take me Higher?
To a place with golden streets

Although I would like our world to change
It helps me to appreciate
Those nights and those dreams
But, my friend, I’d sacrifice all those nights
If I could make the Earth and my dreams the same
The only difference is
To let love replace all our hate
So let’s go there
Let’s make our escape
Come on, let’s go there
Let’s ask can we stay?

Can you take me Higher?
To a place where blind men see
Can you take me Higher?
To a place with golden streets

So lets go there, lets go there,
Come on, lets go there
Lets ask can we stay?

Up high I feel like I’m alive for the very first time
Set up high I’m strong enough to take these dreams
And make them mine
Set up high I’m strong enough to take these dreams
And make them mine

Can you take me Higher?
To a place where blind men see
Can you take me Higher?
To a place with golden streets

Can you take me Higher?
To a place where blind men see
Can you take me Higher?
To a place with golden streets

 

And now for the pictures. This time we broke a number of new grounds.


The first was having both Imran Zia (Vazhay) and Saleem Ghauri (Netsol) with us for a large part of the session. Saleem and Jehan had to leave in the middle for their interview on CNBC, but Imran (or Zia) stayed till the very end. For those of you haven’t met him Zia is one of those rare individuals that I have yet to catch without a smile. Behind his humble façade hide a UET Lahore engineering degree, an MS from Cornell and an MBA from University of Chicago. And that is before his 6 plus years as a senior Oracle consultant and his three startups. Imran is also the new vice chair of PASHA who flew in especially from Lahore at our request, despite a bad case of the flu.

Between Adnan (Pix sense), (hey Adnan I have another really bad one, should I put it up J), Zia, Saleem, Amir (Si3), FQ we heard war stories of their first deals, their first pitches and their first wins. Saleem and FQ taught me something I still hadn’t learnt – there is no room for an If or Maybe in a salesman’s vocabulary.

Then came the women. Unlike Insiders One, where we only had three genuine startup gals in the mix, SI 4 had more than a dozen members of the fairer and stronger representatives of the human species. They were there to soak it in and hear Faisal confess that all this technology bullshit and luck talk is crap, what really matters is marrying a rich wife. I absolutely agree – behind every successful man is a penniless wife.


And then the elders. The Amana advisor from Lahore, Dr Zahir and the father figure behind Mulazamat.


And there was no shortage of attentive listeners. Walking out I asked Aleem Bawani if he’d gotten bored listening to us droning on and on about our lives and he said, that is what we came here for.


I had been up since 4 am, on my feet since 8. I had just finished my second workshop this week and had to catch a flight Saturday afternoon to Singapore. And you know between all of us here, heading back home it felt as good as the day I had proposed to Fawzia, interviewed at Goldman, walked back from my first class at Columbia, and held Amin, Salwa and Taha for the very first time.

Yup, it feels as if we are changing the world, one session at a time.