Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one - Bruce Lee
Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one - Bruce Lee

व्यवसायचं का करावा.
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एका नामांकित कंपनीच्या बाहेर एक सुप्रसिध्द असे समोश्याचे दुकान होते. त्या कंपनीतील कर्मचारी दुपारच्या जेवणासाठी या दुकानात यायचे. व तेथील चटकदार, चवदार समोसे खायचे. त्या कंपनीमधील बऱ्यापैकी सर्वजण समोसावाल्याच्या ओळखीचे झाले होते.

एके दिवशी कंपनीच्या मॅनेजरला (व्यवस्थापकाला) समोसावाल्याची खिल्ली उडवण्याची लहर आली. मॅनेजरने विचारले, “मित्रा तू तुझे हे समोश्याचे दुकान खूप चांगल्या प्रकारे चालवत आहेस. पण तू तुझा अमूल्य वेळ व हुशारी समोसे तळण्यात वाया घालवत आहेस, असे तुला कधीच वाटत नाही का? जरा विचार करुन बघ, जर तू सुध्दा माझ्यासारखा एखाद्या कंपनीत काम करत असता तर कुठे पर्यंत प्रगती करु शकला असता? कदाचित तू देखील माझ्यासारखाच मॅनेजर झाला असता.”

या प्रश्नावर थोडासा विचार करुन शांतपणे हसत समोसावाल्याने उत्तर दिले, “साहेब माझे हे काम तुमच्यापेक्षा कैकपटीने चांगले आहे. १० वर्षापूर्वी मी डोक्यावर टोपली घेऊन दारोदार फिरुन समोसे विकायचो. तेव्हा तुम्ही प्रथम नोकरीला लागला असाल. १० वर्षापूर्वी मला समोसे विकून दरमहिन्याला एक हजार रुपये मिळायचे तेव्हा तुमचा पगार १० हजार रुपये होता. १० वर्षात दोघांनी खूप कष्ट केले, मेहनत घेतली. तुम्ही सुपरवायझर पासून मॅनेजर पदापर्यंत मजल मारली व मी टोपली घेऊन फिरणारे समोसावाला ते एक स्थिरस्थावर दुकानदार असा प्रवास केला. आज तुमचा पगार ५० हजार रुपये आहे. तर मी महिन्याला दोन लाख रुपये कमावतो.”

समोसावाला पुढे बोलू लागला, “फक्त एवढ्यावरुनच मी म्हणत नाही की माझे काम चांगले आहे. मला जास्त अंगमेहनत करावी लागते हे मान्य. आपण थोडा पुढचा विचार करु या. मी हे काम माझ्या पुढच्या पिढीसाठी करत आहे. मी या कामाची सुरवात अगदी कमी भांडवलात केली होती. उत्पन्न ही कमीच होते. मात्र माझ्या मुलांना हे करावं लागणार नाही. त्यांना मी उभा केलेले दुकान मिळेल. हा वाढलेला व्यवसाय ते पुढे अजून वाढवतील.”

मॅनेजर साहेब ऐकत होते, “याउलट तुमचा मुलगा direct तुमच्या पदावर जाऊ शकत नाही. त्याला परत पहिल्यापासून सुरवात करावी लागेल. व त्याच्या मेहनतीचा फायदा या कंपनीच्या मालकाच्या मुलांना होईल. तो आयुष्याच्या शेवटच्या टप्प्यावर तुमच्या एवढाच किंवा फार तर दोन पावले पुढे जाईल तर माझा मुलगा माझ्या फार पुढे निघून जाईल. तर साहेब आता सांगा, कुणाचा वेळ व हुशारी वाया जात आहे?” मॅनेजर साहेबांनी २ समोश्याचे २० रु दिले व निरुत्तर होऊन निघून गेले.

हा प्रसंग व्यवसाय का केला पाहिजे हे शिकवून जातो. तुम्ही तुमच्यानंतरही तुमचा वारसा केवळ मुलांनाच नाहीतर समाजाला, काम करणाऱ्या लोकांना व कितीतरी घटकांना होत असतो. एडिसनने १८९२ मध्ये सुरू केलेली जनरल इलेक्ट्रीक कंपनी आज एडिसन नंतर ही काम करत आहे. कोणतीही संकल्पना, विचार किंवा संस्था (मग तो व्यवसाय असो, सामाजिक संस्था असो की देश) ही तिला जन्म देणाऱ्या व्यक्तीहून फार मोठी असते. तिला जन्म देणाऱ्या मेंदूचा नाश झाला तरी ती वाढतच राहते. चिरकाल टिकते. फक्त सुरुवातीच्या टप्प्यात आपण तिची काळजी घ्यायची असते. एकदा ती स्वतःच्या ताकदीवर उभा राहिली की आपले काम पूर्ण होते.

July 2014: How it started:

It was a hot searing summertime afternoon in Kolkata. I left my desk for a quick cup of tea at a roadside stall right outside my office. Suddenly a miserable, somewhat scary sight struck me. It was a tattered barefoot little girl holding the hand of a skeletally thin woman walking by -- that must be her mother! This mother was begging for food. The diminutive girl was holding the lady's hand with great care so that the trundling mother could get some support. It was broad daylight. People were looking at the woman in utter surprise, how could a living human be so thin, a walking skeleton!

That was the first time I saw Reshma, that six year old girl who was trying her best to support her frail mother. It is a cruel world, I had so much of work to finish and so little time. I thought I should ignore the duo, finish my cuppa and go back to my desk. But somebody inside me was holding me back. "What can I do”, I wondered, “give them some money at most?" I was afraid to confront that bundle of bones; she looked fearsome, ghostly enough to scare all kindness away. Still I don't know why I could not leave that place. Probably I lost my conscious self, and it was irrationality taking over. I held my breath and stepped towards her. I asked, "What happened to you, are you ill?" People standing nearby were looking at me. It was definitely not normal to go and talk to such an apparition. She was not able to talk properly, going out of breath every now and then; her muddy eyes kept rolling in every direction looking for something in a restless fervor. After a few minutes, she seemed to settle down a little. Her daughter offered her some water from a dirty plastic bottle. Expressionless, she gave me a vacant look, sighed heavily and started telling her story.

Story of Hasi Sardar and her daughter Reshma:


Story of Hasi Sardar and her daughter Reshma

Hasi Sardar, 28, was suffering from drug resistant Tuberculosis. I heard Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria that most often affect the lungs. When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel TB germs into air. A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected. I became afraid for myself, people with TB can die if they do not get proper treatment. Drug-resistant TB occurs when bacteria become resistant to the drugs used to treat TB. This means that drugs can no longer kill the TB bacteria. Hasi’s husband died of the same disease. She used to sell puffed rice for living. As she looked different and diseased people stopped buying from her. She was hungry, she needed medication, food. The only support she had in this world was Reshma, her six year old daughter. My soul was bleeding. I could feel the pain she was going through. I thought I must try to help her. I gave her Rs 500 and passed on my mobile number. I told her to give me a ring if she needed any more help. And I left.

It did not end there. I thought she would never call me back. But after a few days I received a call from Hasi, she had requested someone to call my number. She asked me to see her outside my office at least once. I could not ignore her request. I went to meet her outside office. She requested me if I could give her some money so that she could buy some milk, some eggs for her and her daughter. I said that I would try. Before I came back she would tell me in teary eyes, "I know my days are numbered. But after I die there is no one to take care of my little daughter. Please look after her if possible". I gave a brief reply, "I will try". That was the only way for me to escape from reality. I discussed her matter with a number of my colleagues and friends. One of my friends told me that I should not fall in her trap, she could well be a member of some begging racket. Maybe she was just acting, my friend reminded me of a famous Bollywood movie "Traffic Signal", which dealt with the story of the business of begging. I had similar experience in the past too. So I thought I should verify her claims. I decided to visit her home.Beside the special economic zone (SEZ), Rajarhat, Ecospace, Kolkata there is a small village where Hasi Sardar lived with her elderly parents and daughter in a very small, single roomed tenement. There was no window, no way for sunlight to enter. It was complete darkness inside. I wanted to see her prescriptions, medicines to cross-check her story. I took mobile snapshots of her prescriptions, X-ray reports and medicines and sent those to a doctor. He confirmed that it was a genuine case of TB. I made up my mind to help her. I decided to provide her food, money, medicine -- whatever it would take to bring her back to life.I kept an elaborate log book of whatever happened since then. I started requesting friends to help her, fiercely trying to gather whatever help was possible. I kept a log of everything and shared the status with all those kind-hearted people who donated money for Hasi. I will show you the sequential pictures of incidents that happened since then from my old facebook posts. I am going to share the screen shots of those posts. There will be a direct link alongside. You may click on the link which will direct you to the facebook page of Maha Jiban, a charitable organization founded by me, where I posted these incidents years ago.

August 27 , 2014: 

Met Hasi Sardar in her home

August 30 , 2014: 

Video where she tells abt her problem



Started getting her monthly food at her home

October 15, 2014:
Food for October . She told she was feeling little better

October 30 , 2014: 
A doctor visited her at home.
A doctor visited her at home

November 2014: 
Things started getting better.
Along with food , got them new clothes, as winter was knocking the door. 
Brought some toys for Reshma. Hasi's health was improving .

Things started getting better

Little Reshma , started going to school.

Little Reshma , started going to school.

January 31, 2015:
As it became colder , Hasi Sardar's health started deteriorating. We admitted her to Hospital.

Hasi Sardar's health started deteriorating

February 2, 2015:
Hasi Sardar passed away. Uncertain future for Reshma.
Hasi Sardar passed away in the hospital. It was very difficult for me to face it.
I saw little Reshma crying in front of her mother's dead body. She became alone in this world.
I was clueless about her future. I hugged her tight. Bought her some foods and chocolates.
She was staying alone with her elderly maternal grand parents. 

Hasi Sardar passed away.

In search of a safe and good home for Reshma: 
Reshma's relatives asked me if I could arrange an accommodation at some boarding school for her. They also told me that it would be very difficult for them to raise her. I was puzzled, I did not know of any suitable organisation. But a friend came to my rescue. She told me about an international organization, SOS Children's Villages, in Kolkata. They had a place vacant for one child at the moment. 

SOS Children Villages International


But to get an admission there Reshma needed a lot of paperwork and related formalities -- a birth certificate, consent from her grandparents, visiting appropriate government authority and explaining before them why her grandparents were unable to take care of Reshma. Reshma did not have any birth certificate. Her grandparents were illiterate and it was very difficult for them to arrange it. I used to visit them and guide them with regard to all necessary paperwork. I used to visit Reshma. Reshma did not break down. She was a brave girl, she used to talk with me -- I could feel that she felt reassured, happier whenever I visited her place. Reshma's smiles gave me the power to go through all these difficult procedural hassles. During lunch breaks, after office hours I spent time to get those formalities done. The representative from SOS children's village was also very cooperative. 

March 29 2015: A new home for Reshma
Finally Reshma got a new home in the Internationally renowned organisation , which takes care of children like Reshma.

A new home for Reshma

New home for Reshma

August 24 , 2015 : A happier Reshma.
A happier Reshma


August 28, 2016 : Reshma , The Champion:

Visited Reshma, just before I traveled to Stockholm, Sweden on September 1, 2016. She was going to school, learning music, learning Karate with her other friends at the village. I could sense the confidence and happiness. I asked Reshma "Are you happy? Do you feel good here?" She smiled and told me that she was happy, she got her new mother there (a vivacious lady who takes care of ten children in one house, they call her their mother). Her teachers told me she was such a nice and smart girl! Waiting eagerly to see her again as soon as I return to India.

Reshma , The Champion


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Reshma taught me some very important lessons in life :

1) To learn to be happy : We complain about everything -- an insufficient salary hike, a snarling office hour traffic, the questionable cooling efficiency of an aging air conditioner, a missed onsite money making opportunity, of not having the snazziest smartphone, of missing an attractive online shopping deal! We are the most unhappy people ever lived on earth. I found Reshma amazingly calm and smiling in every situation, always. She never complained about anything. 

2) Poorest of poor can share, but richest of the rich may not : Eating an egg was a rare luxury for Reshma. Once her mother gave her a boiled egg from her own diet. I was visiting them at that time. I found Reshma dividing the single egg in four equal pieces and sharing that with three of her friends. The sight of Reshma sharing her food with her friends brought tears to my eyes. She taught me, generosity resides in our mind, not in our bank accounts. I have never seen anyone so generous as her. I felt that "Maslow's hierarchy of needs" is not always true.

3) If you want to be happy , help others: It is a punishment to think only about your own good. The sooner you start realising this, the better it is for your own mental health.

4) If you love it , you can do it : I never thought I could do anything for Reshma. But I loved that little girl and genuinely wanted to help her. Today it gives me confidence to reach out to people and help them at their times of need. 

This article is written by Subhadip Mukherjee.

His organisation Maha Jiban is constantly looking to help people in need.

For getting involved, please contact : jiban@mahajiban.org

Our StretchToSucceed Team salutes efforts taken by Maha Jiban and wish them very good luck in their initiative. 

A Letter From A Girl To JRD Tata In 1974
A Letter From A Girl To JRD Tata In 1974


Worth reading...This is the stuff legends are made of.

It was April of 1974. I was the only girl in my
postgraduate department and was staying at the ladies' hostel. Other girls were pursuing research in different departments of Science. I was looking forward to going abroad to complete a doctorate in computer science. I had been offered scholarships from Universities in the US... I had not thought of taking up a job in India.

While on the way to my hostel from our lecture-hall complex, I saw an advertisement on the notice board. It was a standard job requirement notice from the automobile company Telco (Tata Motors). It stated that the company required young, bright engineers, hardworking and with an excellent academic background, etc.

At the bottom was a small line: 'Lady Candidates need not apply.' I read it and was very upset. For the first time in my life I was up against gender discrimination.

Though I was not keen on taking up the job, I saw it as a challenge. I had done extremely well in academics, better than most of my male peers. Little did I know then that in real life academic excellence is not enough to be successful?

After reading the notice I went fuming to my room. I decided to inform the topmost person in Telco's management about the injustice the company was perpetrating. I got a postcard and started to write, but there was a problem: I did not know who headed Telco. I thought it must be one of the Tatas.

I knew JRD Tata was the head of the Tata Group; I had seen his pictures in newspapers (actually, Sumant Moolgaokar was the company's chairman then). I took the card, addressed it to JRD and started writing.

To this day I remember clearly what I wrote. 'The great Tatas have always been pioneers. They
are the people who started the basic infrastructure industries in India, such as iron and steel, chemicals, textiles and locomotives they have cared for higher education in India since 1900 and they were responsible for the establishment of the Indian Institute of Science. Fortunately, I study there. But I am surprised how a company such as Telco is discriminating on the basis of gender.'

I posted the letter and forgot about it. Less than 10 days later, I received a telegram stating that I had to appear for an interview at Telco's Pune facility at the company's expense. I was taken aback by the telegram. My hostel mate told me I should use the opportunity to go to Pune free of cost and buy them the famous Pune saris for cheap!

I collected Rs 30 each from everyone who wanted a sari when I look back, I feel like laughing at the reasons for my going, but back then they seemed good enough to make the trip.

It was my first visit to Pune and I immediately fell in love with the city. The place changed my life in so many ways.

As directed, I went to Telco's Pimpri office for the interview. There were six people on the panel and I realized then that this was serious business.

'This is the girl who wrote to JRD,' I heard somebody whisper as soon as I entered the room. By then I knew for sure that I would not get the job. The realization abolished all fear from my mind, so I was
rather cool while the interview was being conducted.

Even before the interview started, I felt the panel was biased, so I told them, rather impolitely, 'I hope this is only a technical interview.'

They were taken aback by my rudeness, and even today I am ashamed about my attitude. The panel asked me technical questions and I answered all of them.

Then an elderly gentleman with an affectionate voice told me, 'Do you know why we said lady candidates need not apply? The reason is that we have never employed any ladies on the shop floor. This is not a factory. When it comes to academics, you are a first ranker throughout. We appreciate that, but people like you should work in research laboratories.'

I did not know the ways of large corporate houses, so I answered, 'But you must start somewhere, otherwise no woman will ever be able to work in your factories.'

Finally, after a long interview, I was told I had been successful. So this was what the future had in store for me. Never had I thought I would take up a job in Pune. I met a shy young man from Karnataka
there, we became good friends and we got married.

It was only after joining Telco that I realized who JRD was: the uncrowned king of Indian industry. Now I was scared, but I did not get to meet him till I was transferred to Bombay. One day I had to show some reports to Mr Moolgaokar, our chairman. I was in his office on the first floor of Bombay House, the Tata headquarters, when JRD walked in. That was the first time I saw 'JRD'. I was feeling very nervous, remembering my postcard episode. SM introduced me, 'this young woman is an engineer and that too a postgraduate. She is the first woman to work on the Telco shop floor.'

JRD looked at me. I was praying he would not ask me any questions about my interview or the postcard that preceded it. Thankfully, he didn't. Instead, he remarked. 'It is nice that girls are getting into engineering in our country. By the way, what is your name?'

'When I joined Telco I was Sudha Kulkarni, Sir,' I replied. 'Now I am Sudha Murthy.'

He smiled and kindly smile and started a discussion with SM. As for me, I almost ran out of the room.

After that I used to see JRD on and off. He was the Tata Group chairman and I was merely an engineer. There was nothing that we had in common. I was in awe of him.

One day I was waiting for Murthy, my husband, to pick me up after office hours. To my surprise I saw JRD standing next to me. I did not know how to react.

Looking back, I realize JRD had forgotten about it. It must have been a small incident for him, but not for me.

'Young lady, why are you here?' he asked. 'Office time is over.'

I said, 'Sir, I'm waiting for my husband to come and pick me up.'

JRD said, 'It is getting dark and there's no one in the corridor. I'll wait with you till your husband comes.'

I was quite used to waiting for Murthy, but having JRD waiting alongside made me extremely uncomfortable. I was nervous. Out of the corner of my eye I looked at him. He wore a simple white pant and shirt. He was old, yet his face was glowing.
There wasn't any air of superiority about him. I was thinking, 'Look at this person. He is a chairman, a well-respected man in our country and he is waiting for the sake of an ordinary employee.'

Then I saw Murthy and I rushed out. JRD called and said, 'Young lady, tell your husband never to make his wife wait again.'

In 1982 I had to resign from my job at Telco. I was reluctant to go, but I really did not have a choice. I was coming down the steps of Bombay House after
wrapping up my final settlement when I saw JRD coming up. He was absorbed in thought. I wanted to say goodbye to him, so I stopped. He saw me and paused.

Gently, he said, 'So what are you doing, Mrs. Murthy?'

'Sir, I am leaving Telco.'

'Where are you going?' he asked.

'Pune, Sir. My husband is starting a company called Infosys and I'm shifting to Pune.'

'Oh! And what will you do when you are successful.'

'Sir, I don't know whether we will be successful.'

'Never start with diffidence,' he advised me 'Always start with confidence. When you are successful you must give back to society. Society gives us so much; we must reciprocate. Wish you all the best.’

Then JRD continued walking up the stairs. I stood there for what seemed like a millennium.

No need to explain who Mrs Murthy & her husband are.