If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done. – Rita Mae Brown
App Launch Day
It’s 10 o’clock in the morning of 13th June, 2015. The weather is surprisingly cool for Delhi summers. The Holidify App Launch is scheduled for noon but the tech team is yet to arrive. Launching the app on a Saturday makes sense as it gives you good traffic on the weekend and people have free time to review it. `Moreover, you can plan a bash the next day.
Rohit is doing a final run-through with the interns plonked on bean bags. He taps away at the whiteboard.
“Has everyone tested the app?”
“Any major bugs, crash to nahi ho rha?”
“Are the servers up and running?”
<tap tap tap click tap>
“Cool! This is finally going up guys ”
-Woohoo! Let’s Do This!
At this point, any other app launch would foresee a grand announcement on social media, a blitz of posts followed by cheers and Hi-5s all around… normally. But then again, I wouldn’t be writing this blog if it were that way.
“Wait, weekend getaways is a bit problematic”
-Seems like an algorithm issue. Kovid will know.
“Why isn’t Kovid here yet?”
-Must be on his way
Kislay walks in panting.
“Rohit, there’s been an incident. Kovid will be late. We might have to delay the launch”
Everyone in the office freezes. The couple of tech interns busy thumping their desks a moment ago, look stupefied, their hands still raised in the air. The news slowly sinks in and then all hell breaks loose.
“Where is he right now?”
“Final version kiske paas hai?”
“Maine pehle hi bola tha number 13 unlucky hota hai”
”Yaar bhook lag rahi hai, kahin khaane chale?”
To make sense of all this let us rewind a little to the point when these events were set in motion
The Pre App Launch Party
9 pm, 12th June
Zu Tisch at Greater Kailash sees the Holidify Team have a blast – gulping delicacies and raising a toast to what would be three month’s hard work zipped into an 8 mb file. Since people had to leave in groups, Kovid, who otherwise prefers his Enfield, takes a cab back home instead.
Next day, with the bike still at office, Kovid takes an Autorickshaw to work. He goes on to serenade his two co-passengers with a metallic spanish voice emanating from his latest obsession- the Duolingo App. The journey is uneventful except for a couple of road rage spectacles. All three alight near office. Kovid reminds Anu to pick up the lunch bag.
‘Adjective lessons unlocked - felicidades!’ It’s been a good morning.
Anu suddenly remarks “Where’s your bag?” Kovid instinctively touches his back, finds it bare, swivels on his feet, finds the Auto gone, blinks for a second and breaks into a run. His marathon practice puts him in good stead but is no match for the Bajaj 4-stroke which vanishes behind a bend.
The bag that he had casually tossed to the back of the auto contained his laptop which, in all seriousness, contained (wait for it) the Final Holidify App. Ba-Dum-Tss!
Not giving up hope, Kovid asks random people and street vendors if they had seen an auto go by, even as more of them zoom past him. He is a picture of agony and despair. Kislay flags down a police patrol car and narrates the ordeal. The cop looks at him with an expression of mixed amusement and pity. His daily rounds had just started. He asks “Bhaisahab, Auto ka number yaad hai?”, his voice betraying the sheer confidence of someone who already knew what the answer would be.
Three drooped shoulders arrive back at the office building and Kovid decides to wait a couple of hours in the hope that the Auto guy might come back to return his bag. Sadly for him, he’s not in Bombay anymore. The rest head back to office to deliver the bad news. The App Launch looks headed for an anti-climax.
The mood is decidedly somber now. People shuffle downstairs to offer him water, snacks and awkward condolences. Kovid meanwhile is waiting at the corner tea stall with a dead-eyed stare on the road.
Location: Muskaan Tea Stall
Date: 13th June
Time: 12:30 pm
Rohit and Rajat join Kovid to discuss the situation and the next date for the app launch. Shashwat arrives a little late, parks his car and approaches them.
“This is quite early for a tea-break, guys!”
-I think we will need something stronger than tea.
He listens to the story for the nth time and looks at Kovid with bewilderment. He thanks God that at least he has a version of the back-end on his laptop as they were both working on it. Rohit details the latest bugs saying that re-uploading the app will take time. Rajat, suddenly chimes in that the issue was minor and he has the front-end ready on his mobile. Something clicks. Today might not be such a bad day after all.
Rohit makes a mobile hotspot, orders for fresh rounds of tea and the trio get to work.
The adjoining footpath suddenly becomes a warzone. Passersby gawk with amusement at the group huddled together in frenzied activity.
“Dude, my phone’s about to die! Jaldi Karo”
Muffled sniggers, cursing and a lot of ribbing later, the Holidify App is Live. The footpath erupts with a war cry. Kovid smiles for the first time that day and heads to Hauz Khas police station to lodge an FIR.
By evening the reviews and download numbers are trickling in. And it is time to have something stronger than tea.
And a laugh.