Stoa Digest #28: Adieu, Adieu!
To you, and you, and youu!
One of the most dreaded questions towards the end of any long-term endeavor is, “Did it hit you yet?”
You can never tell when the end hits you, because in all likelihood, you’ll have little idea what it will feel like.
You’ll likely not be able to predict what triggers that feeling either.
Is it a song?
Is it a particular moment?
Is it the transition from a really funny moment to a sobering one?
And I’m asking these questions because I can’t find the answers to them with regards to last night.
Was it the roast by Ujwal, Saumya and Leesha?
Was it the (absolutely breathtaking) music from Gobind and Soham?
Was it the vote of thanks + go-team by Tanay?
Was it Aditya quoting the late, great David Foster Wallace’s words?
Was it Raj’s “fake it till you make it” story?
Turns out, it really doesn’t matter. The only question worth its salt is, “What did you feel when it hit you?”
It’s like being a participant in the finale of a long, amazing TV show you’ve been watching.
You remember all the little things about it that made you happy.
Season 1 was the show finding its ground.
All the characters are being set up(at least on Zoom). Relationships are being established. Random events on Discord channels are happening. Everything feels split, without any tight ends. But it’s still pretty funny, because there’s that one person who can’t stop being roasted, and that one person who can’t stop making memes. But across the board, there’s the horrible cloud of the pandemic, and how it has affected everyone’s personal and social batteries.
Season 2 is when you see formidable stakes being presented. A YC Winter ‘21 application is certainly high-stakes. As are Mafia games (that’s a whole other movie, though). So are solo cross-country trips to meet fellow members. And let’s not forget are competitive case weekends where everyone’s trying to beat the top 2-3 people.
Season 3 is slow but incredible. It’s a glorious time when people are finally seeing each others’ faces as if we went through an apocalypse (we truly did, though). Meanwhile, 4 folks pulled off a ridiculous trip to a paradise all their own, regardless of never having met each other in real life, ever. There was also a running joke about someone preferring warm water over alcohol.
There’s always a running joke.
People were finally finding their zones of zen, be it Sports, Meditation and Yoga, Fitness, Writing, or just good old-fashioned banter over when to book profits. Meanwhile, things got real in the server with the career track, because a lot of people want to be product managers (oops).
Season 4 is almost always the most grandiose one. It’s the ultimate culmination of everyone’s arc. Everyone was in Goa, and if not physically, then in spirit (like me). Everyone was part of reels, stories, and secrets that even the Stoa team has likely no idea about. People got closer than ever. It was likely the peak of what began as “How do I approach random strangers on Discord?” 4 months prior.
It was also, in many ways, the beginning of an end.
Some people changed cities, some changed jobs, some even saw renewed purpose in their lives. Everyone saw red portfolios.
Which is why season 5 is a little weird. Final seasons are usually like that, because no one knows how to end them. So it goes through its own motions, because you need to close every character arc, right? The only problem?
In Stoa, all of us were the protagonists.
So people go about their own lives, until, of course, the finale.
It’s extremely funny how after grad night, I was speaking to a friend about the concept of situational friendships. We’ve all lost a connection with someone who was just a friend for that time and place. And I found it poetic, to have that conversation right after being part of something that has gone beyond any realm of place and time. I know for a fact that if I go to Bangalore this instant, a number of people would welcome me. The same stands for Kanpur, Mumbai, Goa, Kota, Pune, Guwahati, and a number of cities I’m sure I’m forgetting. There’s an identity that binds us and it’s only beginning to spread its wings. It’s only going to get better from here for us. Worst case? There’s always Twitter.
Until next time :)
Let’s Rewind: Last Week at Stoa 📆
Last week at our Gup-Shup session we ran a fun, new prompt!
It was called, “animal-house” so if you’ve spot the new channel on Discord, and it was both confusing and entertaining at the same time, reading through those descriptions - here’s why!
The brief was that each person in a the session was meant to be an animal, and in the breakout rooms discuss a problem all the animals in that room faced and come up with a solution for it.
We reached some very, very interesting conclusions with it, gotta say!
📣 Now to publically announce our winners!! 📣
In third place we had Rise of the planet with the Dheeraj Lobo as Wolf, Sneha Prajapati as Peacock, Anupam Sabat as Dolphin and Rhea Rodrigues as Sparrow.
In close running & second place came Madagascar School of Business (MSB), with animal-mates of, Manish Nair, Priti Sisodia , Aditya Kaushik & Ujwal Ratra as a Fox, Squirrel, Ostrich and Kookaburra respectively!
🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇 In first place we had Hum Bhi Hai Josh Me with animal parliamentarians of Pallavi Gupta as penguin, Naresh as Charizard, Ankit Dev as Rabbit and Apurv Rohiwal as Dog, which probably won because of Ankit saying, “Please react as much as possible”.
How did you land up in Fashion?
“I just always enjoyed clothes, dressing up and parading them around, ever since childhood.” So obviously my parents let me pursue it, which meant right after 10th standard, because the competitive exams were so tough to get into Design School, I focused on preparing for my NIFT entrances, and not for school at all.
School was barely my focus, my focus was getting into a Design college. And I knew I had to ace the entrances because I was sure I wanted to stay in Bombay, which had like 30 seats and the applicants were about 50x that number, if not more. My work was pretty cut out for me - so school yeah, what was that? 🤔”
What was college like for you, in terms of what good/bad experiences it brought you?
“I mean, even as a kid I used to play & enjoy playing these games where I would budget for things. As a teenager etc, I only had pocket money, so it wasn’t like this extravagant shopping spend budget, so I’d go hunting in Colaba and Bandra to find the perfect things to match my budget. Like something I really derived joy from was being told, ‘You have only this much money - build an outfit’ I loved doing that. College, I guess, taught me that I didnt really enjoy being a designer as much as I did being a stylist and making the executive decisions behind a brand. It’s still what I end up gravitating towards. Stylising things - sets, clothes, models, etc.”
Did you have business operations experience prior to Adah?
“I mean, this barely counts as a business in the conventional knowledge of the word, but given how many small businesses exist now, I guess it counts.
A friend and I would go and scout out jewellery and then resell our curations off of an Instagram Page.
This was waaaaay before “Small Businesses” was even a term - but it was cool, it took off a bit, and gave us a larger pool of pocket money than we would usually get. Quite fun, so I did learn a couple of things from doing that - just operations and scouting etc, I guess. Running this off an Instagram page allowed me to also be able to run Adah’s IG, cause I had this experience and kept up with the platform.”
How did you land upon the idea of Adah?
“So, when you’re in Design college they expect you to do an internship, right?
When I did mine, and I was working as an intern in a fairly large fashion brand, but obviously the interns were the ones who had to do the field visits. The contrast was so stark though, it was quite worrying. Like, while everyone sat in their fancy cubicled offices, here there were tailors slogging it out in the extremes that were Bombay weather. That’s when it sort of struck me to do something that could improve the lives of those ACTUALLY making our garments - the workers, not the brands. The first person I remember telling about the idea of Adah was my sister. It’s crazy what having that kind of support can do for you. I told her I wanted to start this, and her advice was, “okay make a business plan, and then pitch it to me, I’ll invest and we’ll talk to Mama, Papa about it” - so I did. I made a business plan, and my family invested in me, and that’s how it started.”
What was one of there bigger moves you had to make wrt Adah?
“Initially of course the “godown” was my house only, till it got to a point where Adah was everywhere around the house, and my family was done with it, then I had to properly commit commit. I had to get a studio and it was like the first big step, right? It wasn't just me doing it as a hobby anymore, it was supplying rent for the studio, salaries for the workers, and even myself. We were officially a business.”
What’s a fairly rewarding win you’ve had with Adah?
“I mean usually it’s pretty regular, like friends supporting the business etc. But during lockdown, this one friend of mine called me up and said, ‘Oh hey I have a tailor whose out of a job, and obviously he needs a job to sustain himself and his family - can you help in any way?’ And so we took him on at Adah.
A couple of months later my friend met this tailor, and told me all he had to say was good things about Adah, cause we really managed to get him out of the weeds.
Those are the rewarding bits - knowing that the small bits of good we wanted to do as a brand are actually having an impact.”
You’ll find Leesha here: On LinkedIn / On Twitter
📣 📣Announcements📣 📣
This week is the last week of the year we’ll be having Community Events until 2022. We hope you’ve enjoyed being on this rocket ship of ours, but before we go we have two last hats to tip.
Do join us tomorrow evening for our final Gup-Shup session at 8PM! (S/O to Cohort 5 fellows, cause this is when you’ll get to meet fellows from across the Community! :D)
On Thursday before we break until January, we’re hosting a small, virtual Christmas celebration for all our fellows.
You’ll see an announcement go up on Discord, and it’ll be on your Calendars as well - so we’ll see you red-nosed and Santa-capped at 8PM then!
Birthday Parttaaayy! 🥳 🎂
21st - Kanchan Gupta
22nd - Anamika Gurjar
24th - Sharad Dubey
25th 🎅🏼🎄 - Achyut Todi
Last week's fellow-led releases
Twitter Gang! 🚀🚀🚀
BIG WINS - Documenting relationships & things happening in the Community
This week on Discord: Best Discord Messages This Week
For those of you in the larger Tier-1 cities, most already have WA groups that you can join to talk, meet, hangout with other Stoans when in their cities.
From the Clubs
Include event announcements
🐝🍯Community Buzz 🐝🍯
Twitter Gang! 🚀🚀🚀
A new kind of thread was coined on the 🐦 app by Magik:
For Stoans by Stoans ✍🏼📚⏯
Weekend Binges 🥤🍿
Meme Wars 🥲
This week’s shiny new winner of
goes to …………