Bruce II had all the traits of the iconoclastic youth. He was truth-loving, impetuous, blunt in his speech, intrepid and had faith in himself. More than that, he had faith in faith: a very dangerous characteristic. They were right about his studies. He did not find the college stimulating or interesting enough (I know, some may be smiling on having divined the reason behind this: his low low intelligence level, but they are wrong, for he had and has above average intelligence). I must confess that despite my hero worshipping faith in his powers, I too believed that he was going to grow into something unconventional or amoral (read criminal) by the standards of the society: one more similarity with 1008 of the previous story.
Another time and place would look upon him with hope for his bright future. Why not? He had his skills in martial arts, his skills in making and keeping friends, and his original and different personality. He could work hard the whole day and not complain, and come back for the same the next day. He was creative and had some artistic inclinations too. More than all these, he had hope in a bright future for his family and himself. But it was not enough. He was simply not the right sort, because he did not conform to their idea of commonness/normalcy.
He could not, did not, go for higher studies due to a tragic incident that will not be touched here. He tried his hands at various things and left what he found unappealing, hence, unsustainable. Finally, he discovered his talent in making motifs and designs for the famous saree printing trade market of Kasi. This revived his old hope and he plunged into a decade of real hard work with joy and pride. After having worked for others for a long time, he found out the exploitative nature of the capitalist economy, the hard way. His designs were exported after being printed on sarees and dupattas. The exporters got richer and the artist remained in the same social class.
So, he did a very sensible thing. He established his own small set up. I know that he didn’t have much capital, so he must have borrowed the capital from somebody. He was too humane to make his first venture profitable. Not very surprisingly for us, he always took his workers’ side in the factory that he owned! He gained respect and love. The same can not be said about money. It was nearly the same time period in which I had also joined the unemployed workforce of Kasi. Plans were made between the two of us for my joining his establishment as some kind of marketing-cum-promotion fellow, especially for tapping the export market. We were happy about the plan but his other partners vetoed me out. We all agreed that they were right in not accepting dead load at fully equal partnership position, because that’s what the simple and plain dealing Bruce had offered me. After some time, his first venture had to be closed due to the losses it made, but Bruce had a lot of perseverance. He did not remain down for long and got right back. He started afresh. By that time I had left Kasi. All did not go as it was planned. Bruce had learned from his mistakes and wasn’t making the old one, but was definitely making new ones, inventing them at times.
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