When we first suffered a massive loss in business, I was determined to turn it into profit. I began hard work, 16 hours a day. I started my career with chores like sweeping and polishing the floor, loading and unloading 50 kg bags, etc. 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 Dubai, I would often opt for an Abra (wooden boat) to save money.
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 Dubai. 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. He taught me to operate the machinery in the mill. He would always inspire me by saying, “Young man! Always remember that hard work and skill are never in vain.”
Once, as usual, I had gone to Deira Dubai 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 high quality stock of red chilli powder and insisted that I purchase at least a 40 kg bag. Since I had spent our entire budget in 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.”
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 my skin began burning. But I didn’t care and, after walking five kilometres, finally brought the bag into the shop. Since the powder was of really excellent quality, the entire stock was sold in a fortnight and I earned a handsome profit.
I have never forgotten the inspiring words of Mulla Chacha and have always strived to work hard and acquire new skills.