Al Adil Trading: Hard work and skills are never in vain
Dubai - When we first suffered a massive loss in business, I was determined to turn it into profit. I began working 16 hours a day. I started my career with chores like sweeping and polishing the floor, loading and unloading 50 kg bags, etc. My father and I adopted a frugal lifestyle. We would eat only three items, i.e. kuboos, rice and curry in our daily meals. I couldn't even afford a bicycle, so I would deliver goods by walking to the customer's houses. Whenever I was sent to purchase spices from Deira, I would often opt for an abra (a wooden boat) to save money. It was the cheapest mode of travel.
There was a flour mill near our shop owned by an elderly Bangladeshi trader. I would address him as Mullah Chacha (uncle). He was a kind-hearted and taciturn businessman. Besides the mill, he was involved in the wholesale spice trading business in Deira, where he owned a small office. My father and Mullah Chacha were good friends. We would purchase some of our spices from him and also get our grains ground in his mill. Chacha was fond of me and appreciated my hard work and integrity. He taught me to operate the machinery in the mill. He was aware of the hardships we were facing in those days and would inspire me every time by saying, "Young man! Always remember that hard work and skills are never in vain."
Once, as usual, I had gone to Deira to purchase spices. After my work was over I dropped by Mullah Chacha's office. He greeted me smilingly and enquired about my purchases. While conversing he informed me that a few days back he had received a high quality stock of red chilli powder. He insisted that I purchase at least a 40 kg bag. Since I had spent our entire budget on other purchases, I was about to decline his offer. Understanding my difficulty, Chacha patted my back and said with assurance, "Son! Don't let go of good quality things. I will give you the bag on credit. First sell it for a good price to customers and pay its price to me after a month."
I listened to his advice and carried the heavy bag on my shoulders. It was a boiling summer afternoon and the temperature was 45 degrees Celsius. The chilli powder mixed with my sweat and skin began burning, but I didn't care. After walking five kilometres, finally brought the bag into the shop. I then made packs of small quantity from it. Since the powder was of really excellent quality, customers liked it. The entire stock was sold in a fortnight and I earned a handsome profit. I returned Mullah Chacha's money the same day.
I have never forgotten the inspiring words of Mulla Chacha and have always strived to work hard and acquire new skills.
Dr Dhananjay (Jay) Datar is the chairman and managing director of Al Adil Trading.
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