What is a hill to die on? what does it mean? Put quite simply It is an idiom that means something so dear to you that you would do anything for it, that you would fight for it till the very end. At it’s very base it means an act that will either result in a grand win or a miserable fail. Usually, it is posed as a question, “ Is this the hill you want to die on?” asking someone whether they are willing to take the risk.

An entrepreneur’s dream began with this same question. From the day that he had read it in a story in his English class, it had peaked his attention. The only decent teacher they had was their English teacher. The story “in the trenches” wasn’t all that interesting to him, but that one line had made him pause and look up at the teacher, he listened intently as the teacher spoke, in the context of the story. The French troops were in the process of capturing an enemy hill, but as the Prussian soldiers called for reinforcements the tide had turned and now their superior officer was asking them whether they wanted to retreat? All French soldiers refused. So he posed them with the question, “Is this the hill you want to die on?”

There was deaf silence among the French. The teacher explained to the class what the idiom meant, and Amit was drawn to this. It had remained with him after all these years.

This is the story of Amit, an entrepreneur by trade born into turmoil, but always destined to succeed. His ambitions had always been bigger than the city that he lived in. He cast his mind back to the first time he had started searching for Fashion school. It had not been an easy task. He pictured it clearly in his head as if it were yesterday.

“He looked away from the screen disappointed, all the institutions that he applied for had fees well over the 3 lakh mark per semester, and his disappointment heightened when he realized that none of them were within the proximity of his city. But he had accepted that long ago, he knew he would have to move to another city to get into the field that he wanted. He put his hand to his pocket and found the ten-rupee note, his time was almost up. He handed the note to the guy behind the tiny desk and headed out of the cyber cafe”.

He had given it a second thought and then given up, there was no way he could afford the fees for even the worst of these schools, he decided to follow what his dad had told him and go to the local government school and try to get a job. He was shattered but he didn’t have time to stop and gather all the pieces he would just drive on and build himself from what he had left. He still hadn’t forgotten it always remained a dream in the back of his mind.

He got a job after his graduation, a simple B.A in literature, it had been his cheapest option for a degree. It wasn’t much but it pushed him closer to the Fashion Industry, every day as a journalist he read stories and interviews and met many people who worked at his dream job; Designing clothes. He had to move to Mumbai for the Job, he made sure to send money home every month. He lived in a room with some of his friends. It helped lower the rent, each of them only paid part of it.

He saved up to buy a laptop, it had increased in necessity the more time he dedicated to working. He saw an ad, it merely said apply, he clicked on the link and it redirected him to another website. He read the article, and right down at the bottom he saw the fee structure, it was like the mother ship was calling him home. He sat immobilized, but he couldn’t go to college daily that would be ridiculous, he had just got a raise and leaving now would reset everything, he still had to send money home every month. forfeiting a Job meant he would give up all that money, and right now he more than ever he needed the money.

It felt like he was back at the cyber cafe, sighing frustratedly he was about to close the website when he noticed the now available online. He clicked on it as soon as he had seen it. He read the first line, “Our Fashion Design course is now available online and students can complete the degree from their homes at their own pace, within 5 years from commencement. His eyes lit up, he proceeded to apply and waited for the college to respond.

He barely got any sleep, the first semester exams were coming up and so was the local elections he had a lot to do at work and a lot to study for the test. He backed himself to perform well in the exams but he needed to dedicate time to it. But there was never once doubt in his mind, he stayed focused after all this was the hill he chose to die on.

He took the time to draw out a schedule between work and study. He had phoned home beforehand to let them know he would be busy and would call them when he would get the time. He said to himself, he will get through it, and he did.

He had started designing too when he found time, this is where his job helped him out a lot, he met designers and got their views on what they made of his designs. And that’s where his hard work had paid off, and luck decided to favor him. After a meeting, he met one of the most respected designers, Nidhi Murthy. He spoke to her and asked if she would be interested in looking at some of his designs. She seemed uninterested and callously asked him to leave the designs with her assistant. He followed the instructions and waited for her response, after two weeks of waiting it was clear that she hadn’t liked them.

Amit smiled at the Journey and recalled that buzzing of his phone and how his heart quickened when he heard Nidhi on the line. She had loved his work and wanted to take him up as a designer in her boutique. And that was it, he began to live his dream slowly everything had come together. He had waited for his opportunity and grabbed it with a vice-like grip when it was given to him and he never let go.

Amit had performed so well in fact that people were lining up to pry him to their company. But Amit had plans of his own, once he had established his reputation he applied for a loan. Now He sat in his own boutique alone after closing hours; happy that he was where he promised himself he would be. Happy that he had become the entrepreneur he wanted to be. Happy that not only had Amit Kumar Yadav dared to, “Die on that Hill”, but He had also become the King of it.


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