I come from a lower middle class family. I spent the first 26 years of my life in a chawl in Mumbai. In view of the stringent financial situation at home I had to look after my college education myself. This I did by giving tuitions to a few school students in my building complex and also by taking up temporary jobs during summer vacations.
Mr.Palekar, the Principal of the R.A Podar College of Commerce where I studied, used to help me by ringing up some old student of the college and request him to give me a temporary job. I worked as a Sales Assistant one year, a Bank Clerk another year. My last summer job as Accounts Assistant at Dharamsi MorarjeeChemicals, which was otherwise routine, was memorable because of a meeting I had with the sales manager — I remember his name was Shukla —on the last day of my stint at the company, which was to transform my life
As a temporary Accounts Assistant, my seat at a corner table was not far from the cabin of Mr.Shukla. He was a smart young man always impeccably dressed, Sitting in the corner and watching him in action, I became his ardent fan. I decided that I must meet him before I leave the company to find out the secret of his success!
I am a pushy person by nature. On the last day of my job, I barged into his cabin and requested him to spare me a few minutes. Though he was initially annoyed at my insolence, when I told him who I was and that I was one of his admirers, he immediately relaxed and asked me to take my seat.
After giving him a brief background about myself, I told him about my plans to become an adman and sought his advice in the matter. Much to my surprise, he was categorical that advertising might not suit me and explained why. He felt that at that point of time advertising was meant for people with social standing. My lower middle class background would keep me down in the ad world, even if I found a job.
He however, gave me two pieces of advice, the words of wisdom, that not only transformed my life but also gave a clear direction to where I was heading in my life.
Advice No. 1: Since you will be starting a career in a couple of years, you must introspect and prepare a balance sheet of your plus points and minus points. Show this balance sheet to a few of your near and dear ones to add or eliminate some points. Having got a final list, you must make a sincere attempt to convert each one of the minus point to a plus point. It will take you a whole lifetime to do this but the efforts will be worthwhile.
Advice No. 2: Do not judge the success of a person based on how he lives or the amount of money he makes. He may have all the money in the world but in the process of accumulating that wealth and enjoying the pleasures that such wealth can provide, he would have missed out on important values in life — values pertaining to relationship with people.
To become a really successful person in life, start at being a good son, a good brother, a good friend, a good student, a good spouse, a good father, a good employee and eventually a good boss. In other words, you must be successful in every role that you are called upon to play in life.
He said that this also would take a whole life time to achieve. But the goodwill that you would have created will guarantee greater happiness than all the money in the world could buy. `Money can help you buy pleasures of life but not happiness`, .he said.
Much against Mr.Shukla`s advice, I took up advertising as a career and made a name for myself as a Rural Marketing Specialist. To get over the negative point of my not having a social standing, I joined a social service organisation through which I not only made a legion of friends across the country but also became somebody in my society- respected and loved by people who crossed my path. Though I did not accumulate big wealth, my bank of good will has been always overflowing. This has helped me experience the `joy of giving`- not just sharing my limited wealth but my talent, my time and my other resources in the service of the society.
I am happy to say that at 75 when I look back, I feel that I have led a very successful and fulfilling life! .Celebrating my life all the way!
(This article appeared in the January,2017 issue of `INFINITHOUGHTS` published by Ra..Ra..Mahatira
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