Once I was invited to discuss some business alliance. The client was a wealthy businessman. Our meeting was set in a luxurious hotel. The person preferred to meet over lunch. He ordered a staggering amount of expensive dishes, drinks and desserts including various delicacies of eggs, chicken, mutton, seafood accompanied by wines & ice-creams. I thought it unnecessary to order so much food for only 2 persons. I couldn’t express my disapproval as I was a guest and moreover a small trader. What really hurt was that my host tasted only a few bites and the leftovers were thrown out.
The incident reminded me of a touching memory. My father had been working for a Dubai company. When the project was finished he was discharged. He searched for a new job and another company employed him. Before joining he came to Mumbai to visit. Unexpectedly his company didn’t grant him a visa in time and he had to spend the next 6 months in unemployment. The situation in our home soon became grim. All his savings were spent on daily expenditures. Finally a pathetic moment came when there was no grain in our cellar and no money in our pocket. But my parents remained resilient. They had encountered such challenges in the past.
My mother had the habit of storing some grains and pulses for any adversity. That day she managed to draw a fistful of rice from her grain bank and cooked simple but delicious dal-rice for us. She made us pray before taking the first bite and said, “Boys, Life teaches us in many ways. Only a hungry person understands the value of bread. We should always thank the Almighty and respect our food whether in adversity or prosperity. Remember- never waste a single grain as it is enough to feed an ant.” I have never forgotten her words. Even today our family and company follow the strict rule of never wasting food.
According to Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, one third of the food produced globally for human consumption annually (approximately 1.3 billion tonnes or valued roughly at 990 billion US Dollars) gets lost or wasted. I think everyone should remind themselves of an apt quote of Mahatma Gandhi- There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.
By: Dhananjay Mahadev Datar, CMD, Al Adil Group, UAE Bahrain,Oman Saudi Arabia & India.