When my father retired from business, he handed over the responsibility of Al Adil Trading Co and its retail shops across the UAE to me. He went to India and began living peacefully with my mother in Mumbai. He remained an industrious and self-dependent person. After my mother’s demise, he survived only five more years. Despite being lonely he continued his life without any complaint or seeking any help from others.
He had an affinity for plantation and gardening and developed a beautiful terrace garden. Whenever we visited him, he would always talk about his plants with pride and joy. One visit when I saw him cleaning each plant with a toothbrush carefully for a long time, I asked, “Father, why do you spend so much time cultivating the plants yourself? Just give them water, fertilisers, sunlight regularly and they will grow naturally.”
My father looked straight at me and smilingly replied, “My son, do you think it is sufficient? No. You always have to protect plants from insects, maggots and pests. Sometimes birds pluck and eat tender buds. Those who eradicate the pests in the initial stage and keep a vigil on their plants will later enjoy watching the beautiful blossoms. Remember, it is equally true in nurturing both life and business.”
Sometime after this incident, my company’s HR manager reported a complaint from another company regarding the insolent behaviour of one of our workers. This worker had started a side business of a recruitment agent in Dubai. He had developed acquaintances and sources in other companies. Whenever he would come to know about any job requirement there, he would use the opportunity to his benefit. He would charge a certain amount in cash to his clients for fixing and manipulating the position.
Once paid, he would use his good contacts and also a part of the income to get the work done in his client’s favour. He succeeded rapidly, earned a lot of money and became a seasoned fixer — but alas! Money made him a bully.
No one in our company, including me, was aware of this worker’s outside activities as he was conducting them secretly after work hours and of course outside company premises. But one day he was exposed as a result of his greed, haughtiness and bullying behaviour. He had taken a partial payment from some needy people against a promised employment. Unfortunately, after getting the job they couldn’t pay the dues immediately as they had to manage their expenses first.
This enraged the agent and one day he behaved like a merciless money lender. He caught the workers at the company gate, threatened and harassed them and ultimately snatched the wallets from their pockets. The humiliated workers made a complaint with their company and the same was further redirected to us. I ordered our HR manager to sack the culprit immediately from our company. At that moment, I was remembering my father’s precious words.
Dr Dhananjay (Jay) Datar is the chairman and managing director of Al Adil Trading
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