It was early in the morning at 4.30 A.M.; I had reached city Bus stand of Panaji, Goa from Pune, Maharastra in the year 1999 mid August. After getting down from the coach, I could not find anyone at the street; it was quite unusual that there was heavy shower. I quickly ran to the Bus Terminal and looked for Tea Vendors around. Unfortunately I could find none. I kept my luggage and sat near the pole until I could find a transport to go to the Hotel. There were many city buses parked in the Terminal.
After a while, I could hear someone singing hymn! I looked around, to my surprise, there was a boy cleaning the buses and singing. I walked towards the boy and asked, "Where can I get a cup of Tea?" The boy replied, "Sirji, this is Goa! You won't get anything till 6.00 A.M. At 6.00 A.M. there will come a tea vendor with some eatables in front of the two-wheeler parking lot. All others will open after 7.00 - 7.30" Hmmn.. I was annoyed but I had to wait. As I had nothing to do, I started talking to the boy. I asked him, What is his name, from where he was, what were his parent, what they do, etc. and so on...
It was a touching story to know about the boy. The boy must be hardly 15 years old that time. He was from Karwar, Karnataka. His father died when he was 10 yrs. and his mother was a domestic worker at his hometown and he had 3 sisters - 1 elder to him and 2 younger to him. He was the only son. At that age he was the bread winner of his family! He came to Goa a year before to search for job that time. His name was Raju. His one point dream he shared with me was - "Sirji, in my village to get a girl married requires lots of money. I want my sisters to get married in good families." It was Raju's DREAM & DUTY. For that he worked day and night. Early in the morning he cleans - Buses, once the shops opens and at the time of closing - he cleans the shops and wash. After that he was also engaged into Hawker activity in the buses and also in the terminal. One very touching part was he only eats whatever the shopkeepers shares their leftovers and also by the daily commuters! He never spent a penny from his earning to himself! He use to send whatever he could earn to his mother every week.
After hearing him, I felt bad and at the same the time I felt proud for his mother to have a son like Raju! I took out Rs.100/- and gave to he but he said, "Why Sirji, I am not a beggar. I earn my living." He refused to take. I told him, "Let's get something to eat and drink for us." He went happily and got some eatables & tea. We had together and by that time it was already past 6.00 A.M. He helped me to find a cab to go to my hotel.
Then after some months I was permanently posted in Goa. I met Raju quite frequently at the Bus Terminal. He always greeted me whenever we met. It was very recently, I met Raju at Mobile Repair shop. I asked him what he is doing these days. When I heard him I was so proud of him and felt so happy. It is almost 15 years since I met him first; in this period he and his 3 sisters got married and he now owns TWO SHOPS near Bus Terminal; where he trades Flowers and Vegetables respectively.
I was so curious to know how he could do so much. He narrated, his part of story in few lines - Those cleaning job he could fetch good amount for a year or so, later lots of migrant workers came and the work got distributed and his earning drastically went down. Later, he spoke to his mother back home and discussed about bringing flowers and vegetables and sell in Goa. Flowers and vegetables were very cheap at his village. He spoke to some vendors about it; those vendors supported him by giving orders to him. For two years, he never had any shop; he use to supply directly from the transport itself. He found this opportunity more lucrative. He expanded his vendor base and started speaking to other vendors in other city markets in Goa. Soon in the year 2004 he could purchase one shop near to the bus stand and after one year again he purchased another. Now, he became one of the major and reliable wholesale trader of Flowers and Vegetables in the state. He also told me that he has a Flat in the City!
How he could "CONQUER HIS DREAM" is simple - SHEER DEDICATION - HARD WORK.
When you examine him, there are many shortfall in him like -
- He was not educated.
- He was not smart or well dressed.
- He never had good amount of money to do business.
- He never had ROOF in his head when he started.
- There was no SUPPORT/GODFATHER
But he overcame his all weaknesses by his dedication and hunger to do something.