I got my first award for business excellence in 2003. It was quite surprising and an unexpected development for me. Previously throughout my life I hadn’t got any prize or even an appreciation for anything. I was an average personality in everything –academics, sports, extra-curricular activities. Besides, I had joined the profession of a shop-keeper for which a prize was beyond imagination.
But a prize was surely there in my destiny. By God’s grace I was able to turn my small business into a successful retail company and we won a contract to supply the groceries to Dubai Airport Authority’s flight catering section. I was not alone. There were three thousand other suppliers serving like me. I did my work honestly and always supplied quality merchandise year after year. It paid off.
Once, Dubai International Airport prepared a list of their best suppliers on the basis of excellence, performance, consistency and commitment to business- and a total of 52 suppliers were short listed. Our Al Adil Trading Company achieved the 8th ranking in the list for which I was honoured with a cash award and a memento at the hands of HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, one of the chief rulers from the royal family of UAE.
But the award ceremony ran very late as there were a number of awardees from various categories to be honoured. I was waiting for my turn. As I turned my attention back I saw a very sparse crowd behind me in the auditorium which made me nervous. I began blaming my destiny for giving me everything late in the life. But just then I remembered my mother’s inspirational words- ‘Nothing is ever late in life.’
Since my childhood, I had always observed my mother taking her lunch and dinner late. She would first serve food to the family and then have it herself. Sometimes when we were invited by relatives or neighbours for a feast, my mother would first rush to the host’s kitchen to help the lady of the house. She would prefer to wait and accompany her in the last batch. Once I had asked her the reason. She smiled and said, “Son, we should not degrade the pleasure of life by dividing it into categories like early or late. Think positive. Nothing is ever late in life.”
As the ceremony was concluding my name was announced. I convinced myself that in any function the best performance award is always conferred at the last. I climbed the stage enthusiastically and received the award with pride. This time when I looked, I saw the auditorium was fully occupied and the crowd was clapping for me. I still enjoy my life and business with the same positive thought- ‘Better late than never.’