Dr. APJ Abdulkalam was one of the most adored and most admired leaders by each and every Indian. He toiled all his life rendering yeoman services to our Motherland.
His death revealed that he was left with no worldly possessions or money. All that he had were a few pairs of clothes, his books and some simple possessions. He gave away all his earnings and dedicated his life for the cause of the Nation.
Was he rich? No. However, did he live a rich life? Yes!! His contributions will be remembered as long as the Indian Republic lives.
Don’t we all desire to make as much money as we can or build our home, own a nice car, live a life of luxury. Yes, indeed.
We’ve built our houses, educated our children, travelled the world and take great pride in belonging to the niche group of the society. It is immensely satisfying that we are successful and have been able to realize our dreams…
But, quite often, when we look back in retrospect, we realize that true happiness is not in these possessions. But, true happiness lies in the fine moments in our journey of life, moments that we gave us more happiness… it is these moments that we always want always cherish. Have you wondered why?
It is because money or these materialistic possessions are not the real wealth. They are only transient and temporary in nature.
In the year 1990, I was serving as the President of Rotary Club in Visakhapatnam. I was the youngest member and the President and the oldest member was a very successful businessman, we called GVS. He was 72 years old. He owned a Ship Stevedoring Company, had a fleet of fishing trawlers, three cinema theaters… the list was endless.
During a chat during one of our long drives together, I asked him, Sir, What is the secret of your success?
Suresh, the secret is simple. If one rupee comes in to your account, you should ensure that it never goes out.
I was intrigued…
He explained, “If one rupee comes in, it should never go out, you have to wait until it gets to ten, you invest the ten and spend one rupee from the profit of that investment”.
He painstakingly built his empire brick by brick and went on to become immensely wealthy. But, in the process he lost that human connection. He got caught in the rat-race to amass wealth; he had no time to nurture relationships. He lost the connection with his children, his siblings and everyone who really mattered.
Few years later, when he felt he was too old and decided to retire. He decided to distribute his wealth and businesses to his children.
After a few years, GVS’s health started to deteriorate. He had already lost his wife by then. He began to lose his motility and his memory.
Slowly his kids stopped visiting him. Each of them were running the “rat race” that he once did. No one had the time for him.
GVS died a very sad and depressed man, regretting his actions and his folly.
A man who had spent his entire life amassing wealth and possessions, a celebrated industrialist, a respected businessman, died a loner…with no possessions, no loved ones…like an orphan.
Was it a worthy life? Wasn’t it a life wasted?
Yes friends, we need to value our relationships, nurture them, we need to celebrate life, sharing the joys and blessings with others and partaking in their pains and suffering.
I have always strived to live a “rich life” not with a lot of riches, but “rich” in the true sense. I feel so fortunate and blessed to have a battery of friends with me wherever I lived. I have been fortunate to get support when I need, be advised when I am in doubt and even been admonished when I tended to drift. Honestly, at times, when I ruminate on my life, I wonder, whether I truly deserved the relationships that I have enjoyed. It makes me feel so very humbled, fortunate and blessed.
Yes, friends, money and worldly possessions are necessary but they are not true wealth. It is not what you got; it is what you do with it and whom you share it with, the moments of happiness that you enjoy, the happiness you bring to the lives around you, the relationships that you cherish….that will make your life worthwhile!
We live in deeds, not years;
in thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, not in figures.
It is he who lives the most, who thinks most—feels the noblest—acts the best!
Live a rich life, a life of substance….live on in the minds and hearts of all those you associated with, even years after you are gone!