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The Happiest Man I’ve Ever Met

I was recently in Nagpur for my True Wealth Workshop. I had a few free hours prior to the Workshop and decided to spend it touring the Orange City.

It turned out to be a wise decision not only because I loved what I saw of Nagpur, but also because I came to know about Ramesh Shet, an auto-rickshaw driver who took me around the best places in the city. Why meeting Ramesh was a great thing, you’ll come to know in a bit.


“You’ve come here for the first time, Sir?” Ramesh started the conversation as we started on the journey.

“Yeah,” I answered.

“It’s a very nice city. I’m sure you’ll love it,” he said.

I asked him about his family, his work, and income. “So how much do you earn daily?”

“Rs 300 on an average per day,” he replied.

“Is Rs 300 good enough for you and your family?” I asked.

“Of course sir. My daughter, who recently got married, is my pearl and my son, who just started his own small business, is my diamond. What other wealth do I need sir?” Ramesh replied.

“That’s a great thought Ramesh bhai,” I said, “but what about your daily living and saving for the future?”

“This rickshaw is like my pension sir. I can earn Rs 300 daily out of running it just a couple of hours a day, and through a large part of my life.”

Before I can say anything else, he continued, “Staying happy with my family is my greatest wealth sir. I don’t need anything extra than Rs 300 that brings me food and pays for my home.”

“How much do you save out of this Rs 300?” I asked.

“Nothing sir, I spend it all,” he replied.

“Spend it all? No savings?”

“No sir. I give away my entire income to people poorer than me. You may call it spending.”

I was stumped on hearing this and did not ask him anything further about money and savings. But we talked a lot about life and happiness.

As I realized while talking to him, even as most of us remain worried about relative salaries, relative wealth, relative returns, and relative happiness, here was a man living in absolutes – absolute bliss.

He was not unhappy because he owned and earned less than others. Rather, he was immensely happy with whatever little he owned and earned because that was enough for him to take care of his family and people less privileged than him.

That contained some big lessons for me, and I duly applied one of them right away.

While I had to cut short my journey after Bhubaneswar (sorry Ranchi, Patna, Lucknow!) due to my son’s ill-health, I have given away the entire net profit from my True Wealth Workshops to Dakshana Foundation, an NGO founded by the legendary investor Mohnish Pabrai, that gives free IIT-JEE coaching for poor but talented scholars from across India.

That’s my ode to Ramesh bhai and others like him who inspire me to live a life of absolute happiness – a life where love for my family and gratitude towards my fellow beings drives me more passionately than the race to earn more money.

Anyways, when I came to know about Ramesh’s singing talents, I requested him to sing his favourite song for me, which I duly recorded for you. This song is in Hindi language and is a statement on the dishonesty we see all around. If you can understand it, I’m sure you will really like it. 🙂
[audio:http://www.safalniveshak.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Ramesh_driver_song.mp3]Click here to download the mp3

Finally, here are the amazing people I met in my last three True Wealth Workshops in Nagpur, Raipur, and Bhubaneswar respectively.


It was a great 7,500 KM journey that I traveled over the past 20 days. Meeting Ramesh bhai near the end of it, and learning from him the real meaning of “true wealth”, was the icing on the cake. 🙂

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About the Author

Vishal Khandelwal is the founder of Safal Niveshak. He works with small investors to help them become smart and independent in their stock market investing decisions. He is a SEBI registered Research Analyst. Connect with Vishal on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing Vishal… truly inspiring…

  2. Jitendra Khandal says:

    Its really gr8 and inspiring….

  3. “Spend it all? No savings?”
    “No sir. I give away my entire income to people poorer than me. You may call it spending.”
    — Noble thoughts, however, without savings (and its subsequent investment use as capital), we are doomed to living in poverty with no increase in our standard of living. At an individual (or family) level, no savings exposes us to be at the mercy of kind behavior by fellow humans. That may not always be forthcoming! It is not safe to assume that the world is filled with humans who share our values/concerns.

    • Dear Mr. Rama, I wish I could carry the entire story of Ramesh bhai. He has saved money in the past and his son is doing now. With his past savings, he helped his son start a small business of selling mobile handsets, and also bough the auto rickshaw that he drives now.

      But your points are well taken.

  4. What can I say, Vishal! Rameshji is a most amazing individual. His life is what makes the world happy and sustainable. To work hard, earn enough, and share any excess in daily income with those in need – this is truly amazing to many of us who are unhappy even though we have enough to last for months, if not years.

    I met someone recently who told me that the way to be more rich is to give. He asked me to start small, then increase as per my comfort levels. The act of giving makes us eligible to receive more, since what we receive will be used for the purpose that is correct.

  5. Wow..thanks Vishal for sharing “Lesson from the Road”..:-)

    I’m going to share it with my friends..who think “Standard of Living” is all that matters.

  6. I must say this way people feel ‘joy of GIVING’

  7. People like Ramesh are the real hero who know that how to feel happiness in life. He is the owner of real wealth.
    Thanks for sharing

  8. Prashant Jog says:

    Thank u very much Vishalji for sharing your experience …and off course the song sung by Rameshbhai…
    I have a passion for singing as well.

    The words of wisdom spoken by him are truly inspiring ….He endorses the fact that the happiness which you can get by “giving” is unmatachable …and I try to inculcate this habit in my personal life too…I have also learnt some useful lessons from your workshop… and will definitely implement them in my advisory so as to pass- on its benefit to my clients who are just like my family…Thanks once again.
    I would also request you to kindly share the presentation as promised…
    Look forward to attend more such sessions from you in future..

    Warm Regards,
    Prashant Jog

  9. Nice song. Unable to download though.

  10. nice to hear such stories ,which inspire us thanks for good work .

  11. karunakar says:

    Very inspiring Vishal Ji… Thanks a lot for the touching and inspiring share… BTW how is your son feeling now? hope is feeling better. God bless!

  12. Kudos for Rameshji and YOU Vishal for rushing back home to take care of your son and perhaps help out your wife in sharing responsibilities at home !!!
    Also, it takes guts to donate all your profits from your hard work — kudos to you Vishal for this !!!
    .. guess most did not comment on this —
    “While I had to cut short my journey after Bhubaneswar (sorry Ranchi, Patna, Lucknow!) due to my son’s ill-health, I have given away the entire net profit from my True Wealth Workshops to Dakshana Foundation “

  13. You are Great. I am really touched by your gesture of donating the whole profit. I pray to God to give you more of health happiness & prosperity.

  14. WOWsome and Inspiring, as always!

  15. Srivishnu Charan says:

    Hi Vishal, I just came to know about you and this Blog 2 days before when i was reading the your interview with Mr. Subra. And today is my first visit to your blog and this is the first article i read and boy i am stumped….i am glad that you have shared such article, the whole point of earning and saving is to lead a comfortable life but there while definition of comfort may vary from person to person however there is no meaning if we do not have happiness in life even with lot of money. This article explains happiness is not just having lot of money though we all need it. Thanks again you ve got another follower to your blog. Thanks

  16. Dear Vishal, I’m writting this mail from Singapore.
    Some how i reached your site when i start searching of “Circle of Competence” by reading Warren Buffet book.
    The article about the Auto Rickshaw Ramesh bhai, touched me. I now realised what is true happiness is about.
    Thanks a lot for sharing. Kind Regards,
    Ganesh

  17. Vishal Sir. I am from pune. Any plans to conduct True Wealth Workshops in Pune

    • Very soon, Santosh. 🙂

      • Dear Vishal,

        I will be interested in attending the workshop in Pune. Kindly let me know whenever you are planning.

        I am following your blog from last one year . All your articles are helpful for true value investing.

        After following your blog, I started reading the annual reports of companies which I own. Also I started investing only in few stocks of my circle of competence.

        Thanks for your valuable guidance.

        Regards,

        Sunil Ghadage
        Pune

  18. Thank you Vishal for your kindness. May God bless you even further.

    There is a Bible verse which says (parable of talents) “For to everyone who has, will more be given, and he will have an abundance.”

    Some people realize about their own abundance early. Some realize it later. Some never.

    Those who realize will give abundantly irrespective of their relative wealth.

    And those who do not, will lead a life of poverty, irrespective of their wealth.

    You met one who had that realization. And you yourself always had that realization, evident from many other similar instances i noticed while following your post for the past two years..

  19. I don’t like such non-finance topics on your blog 🙂 Because I come here to read on finances not on life’s value lessons – for which I have books and other sources. It is boring to keep reading to find some new points etc…

  20. Kiran Kumar says:

    One must be careful when generalising or drawing inferences. He comes across as naive and philosophical, which works when everything goes as expected, but in reality they don’t. He might have come across as happy on that day but sadly his song says otherwise and he is in risking the future happiness of his family by not saving at least for medical insurance for him and his wife.

  21. lovely coverage VIshal sir. Hope your son is keeping well now.
    I was just feeling dejected with what crap I am into and read your post.. thank you..feel a bit light..
    How is the proposed bull market as per you.. are you buying waiting or selling? do enlighten us..

    Regards,
    Aditya

  22. Sanjay Mohanty says:

    Truly inspiring…This woke up the lot of sleeping “Ramesh Babus” within us

Trackbacks

  1. […] I met one of the happiest persons on the planet recently. You’ll be amazed at what keeps him happy. Read here. […]

  2. […] me finish this post with Ramesh bhai, who manages to give while earning Rs 300 ($5) a day. I don’t think we need any more inspiration […]

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