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. 🙂