16 Pantheon II
2140, Sushma Infinium, Earth
A money-less person is insulted even by his own wife.' Ahan found this quote while he was surfing the Quantum Network when he was a kid and it just stuck with him! He came from a very middle class family of India and in the previous three generations of his family, that he knew of, and that were documented, nobody knew what fame felt like!
While he was growing up, money was a big differentiator in his life. He was taught from a young age, that if he could not earn enough to be able to take care of himself and his future family, he would just be a worthless person. His family asked him to complete any degree of his choice and get a job! That was their only requirement of him.
His family told him that money plus recognition is equal to happiness and happiness is equal to success! So, if he were to be precise, he had already started out as a failure since he had neither of them. According to his family, once he got a job and started earning that would be like opening the door to all kinds of happiness. After getting a job, he would be forever happy and he would be forever successful!
Ahan experienced this kind of middle class life while growing up on Earth! Therefore, he became very good in his studies, he did fairly well in his tenth board exams and then he slogged in several coaching institutes in his twelfth class! He got selected for several engineering colleges and he decided to take admission in PEC (Punjab Engineering College) due to the influence of Charu.
There was a celebration in his family and he could finally, stop for a while and breathe.
He told himself.
"You know what? Now, you have made it! You should be happy because you are supposed to be happy."
But, it wasn't working out for him! He tried to get into Entrepreneurship and VR Simulation projects, but even after everything, something was still missing! There was a void that he could feel inside him growing bigger. He thought that something even bigger was required. So, he started writing as a hobby and published a webnovel online in the Quantum Network.
Once he started writing he knew one thing for sure, he quite liked it! He started thinking about it and realized that his family expected only two things of him - to earn money and to be recognized for his work. Therefore, he aimed to become a professional webnovel writer and once again slogged for his goal. However, this time there was one difference; he was driven!
Ahan's webnovel became popular and he got his first big break with a big Publishing House in India owned by Mr. Aditya, CEO of Upvas, a business tycoon of India and Asia's richest man. He started earning money and people started recognizing him due to his frequent appearances on newspapers, VR Television events and other high profile events.
He would deliberately go and roam in all these malls so that people could look at him, smile and ask for a photograph with him! He was making good money to a point that money stopped being a differentiator in his life! He bought himself his dream house at Sushma Infinium and picked the top floor with the best view of Chandigarh in this skyscraper. He also bought himself his dream luxury hover-car, Mercedes Benz X-Class! He was getting so much female attention which his engineering college friends could only dream of!
Ahan was having the time of his life! But, something unusual happened. He got used to everything. He got used to owning all these things and he felt cheated. He stayed with all these dreams of his for the past ten to fifteen years of his life, he was promised success and he was promised happiness. But all these things stayed with him for just a few days.
It was then that he realized the difference between chasing his dreams and living his dreams that no one ever told him about when he started out! He realized the biggest lie and the only truth he was told about success. The biggest lie was that:
Money + Recognition = Happiness = Success
and the only truth was that some things seemingly very big, were not really that big once he got them and looking back at his past, he realized that those smaller things were way bigger! There was only one thing that was missing in his life, which was also the cause of this illusion and that one thing that was missing was NOW!
All those years, he was just so obsessed with what's going to happen that he used to draw flow charts that if this happened he would do this, and at this point in time, he would be in this position. He wanted to be in control so much that he was obsessed with his future and took responsibility for his entire past! But, all he was doing was that he was frequently swinging from his past to his future and he was not living in the actual sense.
Ahan suddenly decided to finish his current webnovel and decided to start another one! But, this time he was not focusing on earning money but refining and giving a quality work to his readers that they would enjoy and love. A webnovel which would help them indulge and forget about their daily troubles in life while they read his webnovel.
He got excited once again and started writing with such dedication that there was no room to think about the past and the future! He understood that the true meaning of success was his "now" plus "excitement"! In his childhood, 6 to 8 was the time he was allowed to go out and play with his friends! For the whole day, he would wait for it to be 6pm and the next two hours felt like 5 minutes. He couldn't understand it back then but after writing webnovels for the past three years in his life and all of them being the top seller in India, Ahan could very honestly and confidently tell anyone that he was living that 6 to 8 life for the past three years. He felt that the cause and effects were not really that different! Excitement is the cause and excitement is the effect. He gets high again and again while writing his webnovels that all the success mantras; hardwork, belief, focus, vision, talent and risk taking are now the side effects of the process itself!
Hardwork doesn't feel like hardwork and there is nothing else you can do but persist! As talent you will cultivate, vision you will get and with focus there is no other way because your work is already commanding so much of your attention. That is why, he felt that if he were to launch Eve of Gods as his first VR Game in India, he would never think about earning money from it! He would let the game be what it was, another world, another reality and he would strive to make it a fair and new beginning for the players in their lives.
Ahan had zero knowledge of business administration and he felt that if he wanted complete control of the gaming company 'Pantheon' he was about to set up, the person at the helm of the company, together with him, must be someone he could wholeheartedly trust. The only person he could think of was his childhood best friend; Charu Gupta.
He called on her landline number to ask Aunty whether he could come over for dinner tonight as he knew that the Ice Princess would never talk while she was at work! When Aunty answered the call, she sounded very worried and told Ahan about how Charu lost her job and about the education loan. She told him how Charu went out to the general store and it has already been an hour since then and she was not even answering her mobile. Aunty was so worried about her that Ahan immediately asked her to calm down and hurried off to the General Store while mumbling to himself.
"Damn, Ice Princess is too prideful for her own good! When will she learn to ask me for help!?"