Today, the NDA, Left parties and SP declared a National Strike to protest against the diesel price hike, FDI in multi-brand retail and cap on subsidised LPG. Indians have in a way become acclimatized to regular Bandhs and the sentiment clearly reflects via Twitter and other channels. It is just another holiday; another fun day to relax at home, absconding from work and school. But not if you’re in a startup.
Richik Nandi, founder at PoshVine was surprised that we even asked him if they were working today. “Bandh? Leave in a startup? Hell, no! All of us are working! Unfortunately, sales calls are very minimal today. But everything else is as it should be. Early-stage startups need to work 6.8 days a week!” he said. Not taking pride in doing too much work but the fact remains that a startup just sucks you in and it is totally upon you if you want to escape the beautiful whirlpool.
The Bandh always has a waning response as the day progresses. Shop starts opening and shutters come up as the sun comes down and also as very well put below, “The effect of Bandh is directly proportional to the distance from the capital.” Gautam Gandhi, the new business development head for Google India and a big proponent of the Indian Startup ecosystem agreed to the fact.
Down in India’s silicon valley, the corporate giants gave a day off and all the employees seemed to be pleased with it. “Bad for the nation and general productivity but it’s a leisurely holiday for me,” said an employee of an MNC and added, “I’m not complaining one bit.” We asked Kulin Shah, co-founder at Wishberg in Mumbai (where Ganesh Visarjan has led to laxity when it comes to enforcement of the Bandh) said, “Wishberg is in office today, busy coding and developing some awesome features. It has been almost normal in Mumbai but for startups, unlike larger enterprises, owing to small teams it’s easy to coordinate efforts from home too. In case of Bandhs or rains, we work from home and catch up on Skype or Gtalk in case we need to discuss something. Startups need to be flexible and not let physical presence affect our work. Like they say ‘The show must go on!’”
Hyderabad showed a different picture. A startup founder wanting to remain anonymous said, “In Hyderabad, we are used to bandhs. About an year back, we used to have bandhs every week. It would either be about Telangana or about United Andhra or bandhs supported by various unions which support either of the causes. We used to close office during these bandhs but realized that no one disturbs offices. We would have problems with transportation sometimes but working at offices was not a problem as people would hardly enter offices and ask us to close. From these experiences, we have realized that except transportation there is hardly any inconvenience.”
The Bharat Bandh has caused a loss of Rs.12,500 crores said CII today. All we can hope for is that some sense should descend on our political parties or maybe more of us can startup and push the country forward. To sum it up, BK Birla, the founder at Zopnow tweeted to encompass the startup spirit: