Saturday, May 12, 2012

Old Woman and her COIN

Sitting on his sofa placed in a vantage point, Mota Seth was surveying the large sales area.  The hall was overflowing with customers and all his employees were busy attending to them.  For a moment he reflected on his past and the long and difficult journey he had traveled to reach today's position. He was just an eight year old boy when he started working.  He had started as a helper in the same shop fifty years ago. His father had placed him in the hands of the then owner of the shop.  Abject poverty of the family had compelled his father to surrender his small son to the shop owner for a meager salary. As a boy he did not even know the amount paid as the so called salary.  His father came to the shop on the first day of every month without fail and collected the money from the owner.  The only thing he ever got was a cup of tea his father would get him in the roadside tea stall next to the shop. Father and son met only on the first of each month.  As a boy he was permitted to go to his village and see his mother and siblings only once in a year during Deepavali festival.  He had to work all day and sleep in the corner room of the shop in the midst of all those huge bundles of goods. He was scared on many nights initially but got used to it quickly.  The owner was a highly calculative man and believed in earning and saving.  He was otherwise a kind man and that was the only silver lining in the boy's life.  There was sufficient food and three pairs of clothes was more than the boy could ask for at that stage.

The shop owner suddenly fell sick and the boy took very good care of him. Owner's son chose academics instead of joining the father to pursue the family business.  The sick owner was disappointed with the son's decision and channeled all his remaining time and energy to nurture this helper boy in understanding secrets of business.  The boy was a quick learner and understood the flow of business quite fast.  He was ready to take over when the owner finally left this world. At twenty years he was full of energy and bubbling with enthusiasm. The business was handed over to him by the owner's son on a mutually agreed Deferred Payment terms and it took five years for the young man to clear the agreed amount and be called as the "Owner" of his own business.  Over the next twenty five years he had built an empire by extending the scope of his business.  He was now owning a chain of stores in different locations and all others in the business community looked to him for advice and guidance. He had scientifically divided his business into different divisions and well trained Managers looked after the various divisions.  His only work was to get daily reports from them and enjoy his success by looking at the final profit figure for the day.

His chain of nostalgic thought was abruptly cut short by the sight of an old woman standing in front of the sales hall.  What was this old woman doing in his big shop?  She was pleading with the salesman for something but nobody had time for attending to her.  She was moving from counter to counter and her movements were obstructing other customers from getting their requirements.  He also observed that some of the customers with long list of items to be purchased were showing impatience and frowning on this old woman.  She was indeed a nuisance and a source of annoyance to his valued customers, he thought.  Something should be done immediately, he decided and moved towards her.

"What are you doing here old woman?  Why are you obstructing my customers from getting their requirements?", he asked her.  He was himself surprised at the hardness in his tone while asking the question. "I am not obstructing anybody, Mota Seth.  I am also one of your customers. I want to buy something but your salesmen are not interesting in attending to me", replied the old woman.  "What can you buy in my shop? How much money do you have?" queried the Seth.  "All I want is salt for one rupee" said the old woman.  The Seth burst out laughing.  "Salt for one rupee!  And that too in my shop!!  I sell salt only in truck loads.  This is too big a shop for you.  Go to some small shop in the street corner and get your salt. Clear this place immediately" said the Seth in a voice that ridiculed the old woman.

"You consider yourself as a big businessman.  I do not know any business or what business is.  But just for my curiosity, please tell me how big your business is?" asked the old woman.  Seth was even more annoyed now.  "Can you understand what business is?  And how vast my is businesss?  You will never be able to fathom it.  What can you understand about a business where the money doubles everyday?" retorted the Seth.

"Money doubling everyday?  You are a great master.  I am an old woman with meager resources.  I would like to join you as a partner in your business.  I may not live for long.  Take me as a partner for just one year. I will be grateful to you and spend the rest of my life singing in your praise!" said the old woman.  Mota Seth was taken aback.  "What amount you want to invest?", he asked jocularly.  "Take this rupee as my contribution.  Let it double each day in your business. I will come back after exactly one year and collect what is due to me.  Please help an old woman, Seth", the woman begged him.  Seth wanted to get rid of her and this was a golden opportunity for him.   He took her coin and tossed it into the nearest cashier's box.  "Now that your wish is fulfilled, go away and do not come till one year" the Seth told her.  The old woman mumbled her thanks and left the place.

Mota Seth forgot the old woman and her coin in his busy life and his ever expanding business empire.  One day when he walked into his office he was approached by the old woman.  "Good morning Seth.  You were indeed right about growth of your business.  I find your business has grown a lot in the last one year!  Now please give my capital and profits quickly.  I do not want to waste your valuable time.  I take my profits and be on my way leaving you to attend to your pressing business engagements" said the old woman.

"Ah, you are back.  Do not worry. I will not cheat you and pay you as agreed.  I will tell my secretary to pay you off immediately" said Mota Seth.  He called the Secretary and told him to pay off the old woman.

How much should the Secretary pay her?  If you are too busy  (or lazy) to calculate CLICK HERE to find out!

1 comment:

  1. very interesting... the amount of course would be enormous....