Self-belief and Hard work will always earn you success.


-Virat Kohli


I have a story which is a perfect example for this quote. Story of a man who just worked hard to achieve something. He was not educated but he created his own path for his better tomorrow.

In year 2011, I was studying in second year of engineering and staying with my friend Neelesh in a rented flat in City Center, Gwalior. One day Neelesh and I got billed wrongly at Pandit ji's juice shop where we used to visit regularly. They had charged us for sitting there for more than half an hour without ordering anything after first order.

When I asked Pandit ji about this he said, 'In our area my shop is the only place where people can sit for hours in the noon time even in this hot summer of Gwalior and we noticed that some of the couples started coming here regularly. They order 1 or 2 juices and blocks the space for 2-3 hours. As you can see this shop has small area, so it is very difficult to manage other customers. Hence, I have decided to charge customers, if they sit for long time without ordering anything.'

I replied angrily, 'But Pandit ji we were not aware of this, also it is not written anywhere in the shop and even no one from the shop told me anything before. Don’t you think, you should write this on a board here. This is wrong way to earn money.'

Pandit Ji smiled and said, 'Beta, I came here from a very small place with nothing in hand, so what I have today is more than enough for me. I am not doing this to fill up my accounts by fooling my customers. I build this small shop by learning new things from here and there. Today also, I learned something from you. I will surely apply this.'

After listening to this my anger was over. I thought Pandit Ji must have struggled a lot to survive and I should ask him the story of his journey and so I asked, 'If you don’t mind may I know your struggle story.'

Pandit Ji laughed and said, 'Sure, I will tell you but come when you have free time'.

I said,' I am always available to listen to people’s stories.' Then he told me his struggle story.

In the hot summer of June month when the sun was right on top of the head, a 19 years old boy was crushing sugarcane on his locally made wooden press. The sweat on his face showed that he had been working for hours. He used to work like this without taking rest. Who would have thought, he was not doing this just for his living, he was burning himself in the scorching heat of summer because he dared to dream. Who would think, that crushing sugarcane on road can be a way to better future.

When Pandit Ji was around 14 years old, one of his uncles advised him to drop school and took him Gwalior from village, for work. His uncle was working in a factory near Gwalior as a supervisor. Pandit ji also got the job of a laborer in the factory with his uncle’s reference. Pandit ji did not know if this was the correct path for him or not. He worked there for 6 months and realized that this is a wrong place for him. However, he was living and working with his uncle so could not take any decision. He used to work with different type of acids due to which slowly-slowly his hands started having black spots. It’s been one and a half year, but he couldn’t mobilize the courage to leave the factory and uncle. Also, he did not have any other place to go.

One day he did not go to work. That day while having tea at a tea stall, Pandit Ji met a person named Santosh Dubey (changed name) who was a priest in a temple in Gwalior city. When Santosh saw black spots on Pandit Ji’s hands, he asked about it. Pandit ji told him that he works in a factory and there he has to work with acids due to which he got black spots on his hands. Santosh asked his name. As Pandit ji was also a Brahmin, Santosh advised Pandit ji to quit the job and offered him to become a priest (as his helper) in the temple. Santosh asked him to think on it and gave him the address of the temple. Later, Pandit ji thought that serving in a temple would be better than working in the factory. After two days he packed his clothes and took the money he saved and ran away quietly from his uncle’s home.

He joined Santosh and started helping him. As he was priest of the temple, he did not have any salary, but he was feeling bit relieved. He was getting accommodation and food. In next 1 year he learned worship lessons from Santosh. He knew that serving as a priest is a good deed, but he did not want to do this for lifetime. Again, as he did not have any other option and do not know anyone in Gwalior to start anything new, he decided to continue serving in the temple. He served there for next 1.5 years and after that he left the temple.

He did not know where to go, where to stay and what to do. He spent some nights on roadside and railway station. Later he found a shared room on rent. He paid one month rent with the money he had saved earlier. Now he was left with some money with which he could pay the rent for next month and arrange some food for next few days. He had one option, to work as a servant in any shop. He could get this kind of work easily, but he did not want to work for anyone, so he decided to do something on his own. Pandit ji thought he will start something by which he can earn on daily basis and then he decided to start sugarcane juice stall.

He first visited a Ragman’s shops in nearby area to buy an old handcart. At one Ragman shop he found an old handcart and luckily, he found a wooden press for crushing sugarcane at the same shop. Handcart’s wheels were fine but top was broken and crushing machine’s handle was also broken. However, He bought both and was left with some money by which he could manage to buy sugarcanes.
Pandit ji fixed the top with a wooden pot. Now to fix the crushing machine he went to a carpenter whose shop was near to Pandit ji’s room. Pandit ji did not have money for repairing the machine so he offered carpenter 2 glasses sugarcane juice daily for one month in return for his work. Carpenter understood the situation and repaired it for free, also he installed the machine on handcart.

Now Pandit ji arranged six glasses, some utensils and opened his new sugarcane stall in the market. From day one Pandit ji started getting customers. He could earn enough to buy raw material for next day and to buy meals for himself. He used to work from morning 7 till 10 o’clock night, taking half an hour break for lunch. For whole summer season, he continued this stall. In winter he must stop selling sugarcane juice as he was not getting enough customers. Now he bought a second hand coffee machine from the money he saved and started coffee stall at the same place. To get more customers he also started selling tomato soup at his stall after some time. Work load was very high but he was happy in doing this. He was earning good and saving some. He made some friends also. Pandit ji knew that, with this stall he could survive easily but for better future he should grow his business.It has been a year; he was doing the same but could not find any means to grow his business.

One day in a general discussion, a friend of him who had tea shop near Pandit ji’s stall, told him about a shop in basement of newly constructed commercial building in front of their stalls. That shop was not getting sold as it was in the basement and deep inside the building, so no one preferred to buy it even at a low price. That night, before returning to room Pandit ji went to see the shop. He found two drawbacks in the shop. First, the shop was small and second it did not have direct entrance. But still he liked the shop. He did not discuss it with any of his friends as he knew that everyone will laugh at him. Even Pandit ji was not sure that how could he think to buy a shop in this situation, when he does not have enough amount for a down payment. And he was uncertain about getting a loan from any bank. He did not even have a bank account.

However, he was getting positive vibes for the shop. He made up his mind to talk to the builder at least once. Pandit Ji met the builder, but he also asked the same questions about down payment and bank loan. Pandit ji could not answer and came back but did not lose hope. Later, he thought about a plan to convince the builder.

Pandit Ji went to his office for the second time. Builder was a good person; he gave his time again to let Pandit ji tell the plan. Pandit Ji said, ‘I do not have money right now, but I can do the down payment in installments. Give me six months of time, If I fail to pay the down payment, then you can sell the shop to anyone else. For remaining amount also, I will pay the installments to you directly. I know that no bank will give me loan because I do not have any guarantor or anything against which I can get a loan. We will not do the registry until I pay you the full cost.’ Pandit ji told everything about his past to the builder and tried to convince him that he is trustworthy and a genuine person. On listening to him, the builder asked Pandit Ji to give him two days’ time to think about it.

Pandit Ji felt satisfied that at least he could make his point. In those two days, perhaps, builder enquired about Pandit Ji with people nearby his stall and room. Some people informed Pandit Ji that some unknown person was discussing about him. After two days, builder called Pandit ji at the new shop. He agreed on Pandit ji’s plan with conditions. First, once Pandit Ji pays the full down payment, it will only ensure that shop will not be sold to any other person. Second, builder will decide the date of possession which will be after one year of full down payment. Third, after possession, until full amount of shop is paid, he will not do the registry and till then they will document it with a rent agreement.

Pandit ji agreed immediately. His happiness knew no bounds. Builder asked him to get some sweets. From that day Pandit ji worked even harder. He started paying installments, but he could not pay down payment in the agreed six months’ time. However, builder did not mind and gave him two more months to pay. Pandit Ji managed to pay down payment in extended timeline. Now, they had an agreement on stamp with builder's conditions. Pandit ji grew his stall with a variety of juices and got a new helper.

After six months, during summer, one day builder visited that area and saw Pandit ji crushing sugarcane in scorching heat, he decided to give him early possession. Within a month Pandit Ji got the possession and inaugurated his new juice center. In the next five years, his business grew really fast. Builder himself asked to do the registry even when 60% amount of the shop was remaining to be paid.

The day he told me his story; only last installment of the shop was remaining. By the time he possessed a double story house and two plots in Gwalior. He had two children, and both were studying in English medium school. Pandit ji had even started a new shop named ‘Paratha corner’.

Pandit Ji was not educated but made his own path without guidance of anyone. He could do this just because of his self-belief and hard work. Creating a better future is not a matter of situation but it is the matter of choice. This story proves, “You know what you are but you do not know what you may be”.

Kushal Rusia
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