I learned my most important lesson in faith when I was 8 years old.
I was sitting in the back seat of my grandfather’s big, white Ambassador as my cousin drove my mum and I through the streets of Nadiad, my parents’ small hometown.
It had just turned night and the streets were teaming with life. Big loud lorries, motorcycles, people, livestock. The air was full to bursting with scent and sound and energy, streaming in through the open window for me to drink in.
As usual, the latest Bollywood hit song was playing over the radio. My cousin sang along and punctuated notes with blasts of the horn.
It was madness. My little heart loved it.
But I was also terrified to my toes.
I was only just old enough on this trip to appreciate the mayhem of driving in India. Trucks as big as houses driving along side scooters with a family of 4 perched on top. Our car swerved in and out of the traffic, pulled along its own invisible trajectory.
Beside me my mum gripped at the front seat.
“Can’t you slow down?” She half asked, half scolded her brother’s son. “You’re going to get us killed.”
He just laughed and just said “Foi, do you trust me?
“Then don’t worry, I know what I’m doing.” He continued drumming his fingers on the the wheel.
“But these big trucks coming towards us – how can you see in that blinding light?”
And what he said, I’ll never forget:
“You don’t look at the light. You look down at the line on the road on your side. As long as you can see that, as long as you follow that, you’ll be fine. And anyway, if it’s your time to die, it’s your time. No sense in worrying any more than that.”
I pondered that a lot then in my little 8 year old mind and I’ve thought about it a lot over the years.
There are two truths in this – the first is control what you can control and second is have faith in what you can’t.
Whenever I find myself at a crossroads and I can’t see I ahead, I think about this and I find “the line”. I put my head down and I just concentrate on following my line through the blinding light or the suffocating fog.
And then I have faith. That was I am doing will be enough. That I will be good enough, work hard enough, be humble enough to see through to the other side.
Ever since that night, I’ve taken a more philosophical approach to those terrifying moments – whether on the streets of Mumbai and Shanghai or every day running a start-up.
Put your faith in the right people. Have faith in yourself. And after that: que sera, sera.