Life fascinates all of us in the most unusual ways. The definition of coincidence is a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection. We all come across many coincidences in our lives which only make sense when we think of them backwards. This post is dedicated to a series of amazing coincidences in my life that have shaped up many things which would have otherwise not been possible.
It all started way back in 2009. As most of you who know me already know that I am a big time gamer (for those who don’t know me, well, now you do!) Back in those days I used to play this massively multiplayer online role-playing game called “RuneScape”. I remember spending countless number of hours playing that game and enjoying with my friends. That was the first time I even made some international friends through it. It was amazing! This game was the reason for a lot of things unfolding in my life in my later years. Tell Me Nothing was created because of this game. If you give this post another read after finishing it only then you can make sense of it.
So let’s go step by step. How exactly can playing a game be responsible for all of it? You can call this a very apt example of the “Butterfly effect“. Okay, so coming back to the game. In this game there were two ways to play: Free and Paid membership. The paid membership offered a few extra stuff and if you were addicted to the game like I was, you simply HAD to be a member. Just one problem though, I was a 15 year old and could not ask my Dad for money for playing an online game. So was this the end of the road? Absolute not! I found out that another friend of mine who was playing this game was funding his game by writing articles online. He introduced me to this website called “Triond” which used to pay writers to write online.
I immediately signed up on this website and worked super hard. I started writing almost 10-12 articles every week and share them throughout the internet. In those days there were significantly lesser number of people on social media than there are now so it was relatively easier to get your content across wherever you shared. This writing stint not only helped me earn money for the game but also helped me network with so many writers from all over the world. Suddenly unknowingly I had switched from making gamer friends online to networking with intellectuals who were passionate about writing.
One such person I met there was Niyati Bhat. She is an absolutely delightful and intelligent person. Over the years we have bonded up a lot on intellectual discussions and have grown to be great friends. Also, she was extremely kind enough to mention my name in her acknowledgements of Master of Philosophy. Oh by the way, she has completed two masters degrees: MA in Arts and Aesthetics and M. Phil. And now she is pursuing her PhD! How cool is that?
Fast forward to 2014, I was now running this game development company “GameEon” which I ran for 5 years before moving on from it. One fine day I was just casually browsing the internet and sort of wanted to create a prank website. I started searching for domain names and found out that tellmenothing.com was available. Without a second thought I instantly purchased the domain name. I literally had no plans of anything with this domain name apart from having a HUGE button which read “Tell Me” and when you click on it the button would disappear and another text would appear in it’s place which read “Nothing”. That’s it!
But somehow the name started growing on me and I thought to myself that I could do more. And so, I thought it’d be cool to write funny and light hearted content on it. But at that time I was also occupied with running my game development company so I thought it’d be great if I had someone else working on it with me. This is when I remembered Niyati. So I approached her for this and told her what was on my mind. At that time she wanted to focus on her studies so she referred her friend Zoya Seth to me. Zoya was more than excited on hearing the idea of the website and started writing with me right away.
We wrote a lot of amazing content on the website. To grow this website I thought it’d be great to give everyone a platform to tell their stories. How ironic that a website named “Tell Me Nothing” told you everything! We started approaching interesting people and got a lot of famous people interviewed on the website. Slowly but steadily the website started catching up. Our traffic started growing month on month and one fine day, we interviewed Billionaire investor MARK CUBAN! YES, that happened! And he even shared our link on his official Facebook page.
Unfortunately though, because I wasn’t focusing on this full time, the website grew rapidly because of this interview. So much so that the website broke! It got so much traffic after this interview that literally everything went sideways. And all through this the website wasn’t monetised with any ads. Not one, nada, zilch! My full time focus was my gaming company so this went unnoticed by me and I did nothing about it. Because of this the website became a home to spam comments and was hacked later.
This was sometime in 2015, I checked the site and to my surprise all the published posts were gone. Yes, even the Mark Cuban interview was gone! :'( It felt bad. And suddenly I thought that this website did provide value and was a really great platform for anyone to share their stories. The numbers were speaking for themselves. I did some digging and was surprised to see the numbers for it. I had not spent even a single penny on marketing and still at it’s peak it was getting more than 10,000 visits a day.
So, I decided to reboot it. I reconnected with Zoya in 2016. This time we thought of getting another writer on board so we could increase the number of posts and so we got Ratika Mishra to write with us. I had to develop the website entirely from scratch because the website was in a really bad shape. And so it began again. We wrote a lot of posts and the website started catching up again. In the month of August, 2016 I went to travel to Europe and after that I was in medical depression so again this website was affected a bit because of it. During this same time I made a decision of moving on from GameEon.
After having recovered from depression I was now left with no work. It was a dark phase and I had to recover from it all on my own. But fortunately there was still hope. Because of my reputation as a game developer during this time I got an offer from Packt Publishing House to write a book on making games for Android. This helped me survive through the dark phase and now I was back in shape. It was the end of December, 2016 when I thought it’d be great to give Zoya a visit and discuss my future plans for the website. Now I wanted to grow this website full time. And so, I booked a train ticket for New Delhi. Oh and also, along with Zoya I even met up Niyati. I had a wonderful time with them and also met up their other friends Saad and Radhika.
However, by this time Zoya also had some other plans in mind and had started up this amazing website Gigareel along with her boyfriend Saad. Regardless, it was a great time with them and with golden memories I returned back home. This is when I was also working on a game project with my old colleagues for a client. So one fine day while discussing about the project in Starbucks I happened to stumble across an old acquaintance who was studying with me in my 10th grade tuition classes. Her name is Shweta Shah. I could instantly recognise her through her face and so I casually asked her if she was really her. She thought of me as if I was some creepy fan of hers. 😛
We connected later that day on Facebook and I found out that she was a writer too! So bazinga! I asked her if she’d be interested in writing for Tell Me Nothing. She liked the website and idea so much that she wanted to partner up for it. And so, ever since she has been a partner in Tell Me Nothing and together we have grown the website to have some really fun filled and rich content. We have interviewed a wide array of celebrities, entrepreneurs and many other interesting people.
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
– Steve Jobs
All of these coincidences have collectively been extremely powerful to shape up my life however it is currently and I am optimistic that more such coincidences will create some amazing memories in the future as well. Of course, not all of it will be pleasant and good but that’s how life is. It’s a balance between the good and the bad. The good in life doesn’t always make the bad things any less worse but vice versa the bad things too do not spoil the good things.
So, here’s me being grateful for all the coincidences happened in my life. I am grateful for the good, bad and ugly equally that happened in my life. Because truly, without even a single thing missing, life would have been entirely different.