It is 1st November 2027 and Mihir Bhatt is anxious about his upcoming birthday. Although he has managed to achieve a lot and moved ahead in life over the years, birthdays are something that remind him that there is always more that he could have achieved in the last year. Nevertheless, let’s see where he stands as of today.
His life took a turn for the better in the year 2020, the same year the world was taken over by the coronavirus pandemic. The lockdown forced him to confront his own mortality and pushed him to write and publish his first book in September 2020 titled ‘Existential Digital Marketing’, he didn’t want to die without being an author first. What this writing experience did for him is that it solidified and publicised his resolve to rise from the facticity of his life for the first time. He used his knowledge at the time of the distinct fields of Philosophy and Digital Marketing, merged them to arrive at a new marketing strategy that relied on authenticity and put forth the notion that a brand has an identity of its own which is distinct from that of the people running the show behind the logo. The Kindle ebook was fairly well received for a first time author like Mihir but things only picked up from that point forward.
As a result of this book, he got inspired to work on his personal brand without feeling the need to hide behind a fictional persona, earlier he was better known as ‘Puss In Cahoots’ on the internet — the meaning of which he never shared but was always asked. Mihir now focussed on providing value to the right upcoming startups through his online marketing services while at the same time also continuing to write, his first fiction book (Consuming Romance) came out in the year 2021. The next couple of years proved to be quite transforming for him, both as a marketer and as an author, as he slowly but steadily found a niche of his own. It is difficult to accurately chart out his life or career path because frankly it has no precedence, which is also how Mihir wanted it to be in the first place. As one his blogs reads, “I remember as an avid film-watching teenager thinking that I would probably never amount to anything remotely extraordinary like Howard Hughes in The Aviator for example. Even though I liked having role models back then which were mostly characters from great films, I knew that my personality just wouldn’t allow me to pursue such grand dreams. Therefore, I set out to live a life which can inspire an indie film with a strong storyline which goes on to win festival awards instead.” It just might.
By the time he was 35, Mihir had started his own company (In Cahoots Ltd.) and was on his way towards leading a low-key capitalist’s urban upper middle class existence. He rightly knew that he wouldn’t dream grand and therefore focussed on what he could and would be happy achieving instead, a 3 BHK house in Mumbai where he could live with his family and also enjoy his personal space. A bigger space for his two cats to dash around in the middle of the night was an added bonus which he didn’t mind.
He’ll turn 38 this year and like every year this birthday too will remind him to always be dissatisfied and strive to achieve more in the coming year. “It’s all because of this book I read as a child which emphasised on treating your birthday as an anniversary of sorts for measuring how well you did in the last 1 year of your life. I took that advice too seriously at the time it seems. Yes, it has pushed me forward in life but also prevented me from being happy about any achievement for too long. Well, it is what it is,” he says with a shrug and a smile.
Where he goes from here is a mystery to me but I have a strong feeling it will only be forward, Mihir doesn’t seem to know any other way. He does take a pause every now and then, a deviating stroll once in a while, an introspection that renders him without action for days and a mental health crisis that demands all his time. But he also gets back on track, always. His peers might misunderstand him to be slow at times but his eyes are always steadily set on the finish line. Whether he wins the race of life only time can tell. Mihir is simply happy to consume his way out of his facticity, a year at a time.
(The author of this article is subject of the piece himself and is writing in the near-future tense. Why not?)