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Thank You Matadin Babu!

I received several email and text messages over the past few days with people asking about my whereabouts.

“Where have you been? No posts for the past two days?” emailed a reader.

“I hope you are fine,” wrote another.

“Alive?” asked a friend who is also a reader.

Well, if you have been wondering where I’d been over the past few days, just want to let you know that I am still here…alive and kicking.

Over the past few days, I was in a small, nondescript town of Bankura in West Bengal – the place I was born.

This was a sudden trip, and I’d gone there to meet a man – Matadin – who has served our family for the past 55 years (out of his age of 70) in various roles and responsibilities.

Matadin had quit, and there was a small tremor within the family. We had grown so dependent on him and so accustomed to seeing him around us, that his quitting had raised fears of a sudden vacuum in our lives.

“You can’t quit, Matadin!” I told him the first thing as soon I met him on reaching Bankura.

“Why Vishal Babu?” (I had heard this word – babu, which means “sir” – in a long time but was used to such royal treatment from Matadin).

“Because our lives will be different without you being here!” I said.

“See babu, I have now grown old and feel incapacitated to deliver my responsibilities to my best!” he said.

“You are kidding, Matadin!” I said. “For the past 55 years, and without a single day off, you have been working tirelessly to serve my family. I have never seen you tired! So why now?”

“Babu, I’ve invested my whole life in your family, but now I am feeling tired and helpless. So want to quit!”

“You can’t, Matadin! I will not let you go! Nobody here will let you go! Have you ever imagined how our lives will change after you leave?

“Who will do the tasks that you singlehandedly performed all these years? Tasks like…

  • Cleaning the house temple at 4’o clock in the morning
  • Taking care of the entire house in the absence of the family
  • Helping my father manage the business
  • Dealing with demanding customers and ill-behaved labourers
  • Frightening away stray cows and dogs that ventured into the farm
  • Securing the house at night when we were peacefully asleep

Have you ever thought that we will need 4-5 people to handle all these tasks that you did all alone for the past 55 years?”

“What do I say, babu!” Matadin said this time with some sadness on his face. “I wanted to stay on, but…”

I now tried an emotional trick, and said, “I still remember the days when we were small and you used to show us the town on your shoulders. Or the days when you cooked your amazing daal-bhaat (rice and lentils) for us and then sat patiently watching us eat with aplomb.

“Who will carry my kids to show around the town now? And who will cook daal-bhaat for them when they are here?” I asked.

“I know babu, but…”

“Nothing doing, Matadin! You are not quitting! I won’t let you quit!”

This time I heard nothing from him!

How could he speak?

Matadin was lying at a distance from me…lifeless.

He had died a day ago. I was here to attend his funeral…to see him for one last time and to pay my homage to a man who had dedicated a big part of his life away from his home in Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh), and to serve my family. He never married, and thus had no family to leave behind.

Matadin’s work was his investment, and he made it for 55 straight years, not stopping for once thinking about his past or the future.

Why Matadin, and why here?
You might be wondering, “What is your Matadin and his story doing here?”

Well, I want to share with you a couple of key life lessons that I’ve learnt ever since I saw the lifeless face of Matadin.

One, I regret that I was not able to thank Matadin for his dedication towards my family for so many decades.

I want to thank him now, just in case he is able to hear my thoughts sitting up there.

“Matadin, you were the real ‘babu’ for me. I thank you so much for your service to me and my family all these decades!”

Matadin’s death has changed something within me. After having seen a body literally turn to ashes within an hour, I’ve grown more thankful to God for this life, for a complete and able body, and to everyone who has invested their time to my upbringing and development as a sane-thinking individual.

I want to thank each person who has invested a part of his or her life in me – my teachers, parents, and now my wife, who can do anything to ensure that I stay a sound-thinking man she wants to spend the rest of her life with.

Each one of us has someone around us who is investing (or has invested) his/her life in us – either as parent, spouse, friend, employee, or as someone like Matadin who can’t be put into any of these categories.

It’s time to say ‘thank you’ to those people who’ve invested their lives in us.

While we as investors are always looking for that return on our investment, these people have invested in us without expecting any returns.

There’s definitely someone Matadin around each of us. We just need to identify such people, and thank them.

There’s no point waiting for that ‘perfect time’ to thank them, like I waited and in the end failed to thank Matadin for what he did all these years. You must not regret later, like I am regretting now!

That’s lesson number one.

The second lesson is – apart from the monetary investments I am making for my future, I must find time out to invest in someone else’s future – like in the future of my kids, wife, parents, readers, underprivileged – without expecting any return on the same.

I read this somewhere, “When someone dies, a part of the people they left behind die too.” I can feel the same after Matadin’s demise.

I’m sorry for this emotional post, but I had to share this with you, my dear friend.

Anyways, the usual stuff at Safal Niveshak resumes this week. I will publish Puneet’s post on Charlie Munger’s mental models on Wednesday, followed by my review of Warren Buffett’s letter on Friday.

Thanks for reading! Thanks also for being my partner in this journey of long-term, independent, sensible investing!

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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. Abhishek Sethi says:

    Dear Vishal,
    When is the next art of investing workshop in Delhi. I’m interested.
    Regards,
    Abhishek Sethi
    9871545700

  2. Anil Kumar Tulsiram says:

    Rest in peace Matadin

    Very true Vishal. Most of the time we are lost in chasing our dreams and money.

  3. Hi Vishal,

    Thanks for writing this article.
    I will t\\hank everyone who’s a part of me–directly indirectly.

    Regards,
    Avadhut

  4. Rest in peace Matadin.

    Vishal, thanks for writing this article and highlighting the importance of relationships.

  5. Hi Vishal:

    Thanks for writing your emotions out, it really feels light!

    RIP Matadin Babu’s soul, a very selfless human being he was I think.

    Your article also teaches that time waits for none, so better thank whomever I want to thank before the time has gone. Many people around us needs thank you or gratitude letter for what we are today because of their contributions.

    My heartfelt thanks to you for being part of my life and teaching many of the great investing lessons. Thanks much Vishal!

  6. Hi vishal,
    Sorry to hear the sad demise of someone very close to you.

  7. R K Chandrashekar says:

    Hi Vishal
    Thanks for sharing your emotions on the parting away of a fine human being-Matadin Babu. May his soul rest in peace. Let me share a fine PPS on “Live a life that matters” – http://www.slideshare.net/bturino/live-a-life-that-matters-2851383

  8. Though it is said that best investors are not driven by emotions, we should always remember that we are humans first and investors afterwards. And your post reminds us of this fact.

  9. Reni George says:

    Dear Vishal
    well actually i was going to post a lookout notice for you,in all the leading newspaper..joking,but then last Saturday Sanjeev told me about this tragedy.
    Your Post has reminded me of my childhood freind who went for the heavenly abode,in january leaving me in tatters and completely broken,still now i have not come out of the shock.
    After starting my family life,somewhere down the line i could give time to our friendship which was 25 years old,busy in daily chores trying to fulfill all the material benefits for my family, i even could not try to help him in his bad phase,where he took to drinking heavily which ultimately took his life,still now also i think iam the culprit for his death,if i could have persuaded him to go to rehab,he would have listened to me,but i was so busy that i could not care for him,which still now makes me go numb.
    I remember he was hospitalized and i was out of station on a project,i came back at night and came to know that he was hospitalized and was in serious condition,he wanted to meet me.As i was fully exhausted after a drive of 500kms, i thought i would visit him in the morning,thinking that he might get well,as he was hospitalized before with a similar problem.
    Next day morning,5 am my phone rang i got up from the sleep,trembling i took the phone,and the news came he died,his last wish was to meet me,his close friend.I felt Numb,my eyes went moist,there were no words coming out,i was just staring at my wife,who from my face knew what had happened.
    If i had just met him that night forgetting my tiredness,if i could have just postponed my work for him that day,how many lectures i had bunked for him during my college days,so that i could take him on my bike to meet his girlfriend.
    What did i achieve,i could not be there with my friend when he needed me the most.If only i had taken care of him,he would have been still living.
    so i know how it hurts,when in you eternal pursuit for material benefits,you somehow miss the small happiness that fill your day to day life.
    My friend gave up his life to teach me that.
    Let our Investments not run into a greed of sorts and more that money,let us together be friends and be there for each other when we are in desperate need of each one.

    From a Friend
    Reni George

    Happy Investing

  10. Thanks for the article Vishal..:) RIP Matadin…

  11. Vishal –
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
    Thank you for touching our hearts by sharing about Matadin. May his soul rest in peace.

    – Kapil

  12. Nice One Vishal… Let his soul Rest in Peace

  13. Hi Vishal,
    RIP Matadin. Sorry for major loss, a part of your life.
    But, thanks a lot for sharing the incident with all of us. You have made me realised how important all close ones are in my life. I will surely show my gratitude will all who have been significant part of my life. Your blog and this tribe is a complete learning school, not just investing but a way to live. Thanks again for sharing and may his soul rest in peace.

    Thanks,
    Vikas Kukreja

  14. Sanjay Kulkarni says:

    I penned this recently in a poignant moment when my father-in-law passed away. He was close to me. I thought of sharing with you.

    One, two, family…

    One starts life with a cry
    Life is not that awry
    Snuggled amidst fluid and love
    Is there anything before love?
    Is there anything after love?

    One, two is now family…
    It isn’t mere blood relation
    It is a larger revelation

    One, two family…
    Is
    One, two infinity…

    …It is family of those
    Who made a pact and chose
    To learn lessons and evolve
    To love and let it devolve

    …It is family of those
    Who made a pact and chose
    To give not just pleasure and to love
    But also adversity, trauma and to shove

    …It is family of those
    Who made a pact and chose
    To let one go of sole
    To recognize other divine soul

    …It is family of those
    Who made a pact and chose
    To help one build character and strength
    To see gift of adversity at length

    One now recognizes everyone
    On this planet earth,
    One is part of a larger family
    Where love has no dearth

    They come for sometime
    To play their part and mime
    To share grand one-ness
    And to become one
    With divine & with one

    One starts life with a cry…
    Is life really that awry?

    Prose…

    We come to this world with a cry. We are probably apprehensive to shift from a life cocooned in love and fluids. Does our life start with love? Is there anything before and after love?

    We are part of a family. Our definition of family is our kith and kin. But, in reality, we are family not only to those with whom we are blood related, but we are also part of a larger family – a family that is made up of those with who we may have made pacts even before we came into being from the cocoon of love. These pacts are made with the purpose of learning lessons and helping each other in our evolution.

    Our broader family members do not always provide us with pleasure and beneficence. They also come to provide us with adversity and challenges so we can become stronger of character. As we let go of our self-importance, we are better able to recognize these soul family members and the gifts they bring to us.

    We, then, see a world where we recognize that everyone we meet, everyone we share this beautiful, abundant Earth with, is actually part of an even larger family that has come here at this time to experience oneness together.

    At this point, we are family of one.

    Warm Regards,
    Sanjay Kulkarni

  15. vishal
    i find it strange that you quit your job to do what you want to do. but never gave a days rest to matadin. made him do four persons work?and would have liked him to keep working even at age of 70.
    “Have you ever thought that we will need 4-5 people to handle all these tasks that you did all alone for the past 55 years?”

    • Thanks for your comment Umesh!

      Well, I just want to say one thing – There are humans (who quit, like me) and there are super-humans (who never quit, like Matadin). I won’t justify here Matadin’s place in my heart, as that would demean his dedication towards his work, which incidentally he did while staying with us for 55 years.

      BTW, sometimes we must try and understand the real spirit behind the story, instead of trying to creating meanings out of written words. Regards.

      • I feel sorry for your loss.I chanced upon this blog through google. I am in the same situation as you were before u quit your job. Trying to figure out where my calling is.
        rajesh

  16. Sorry Vishal didnt realise this was an Old post. But it moved me.

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