Saturday, May 12, 2012

Please give me my PROFITS!

After insisting that she be paid her true share of profits, the old woman followed the Secretary to collect her profits.  (Click here to read the earlier part)  Mota Seth's secretary took a handful of coins and told the woman, "Here is your money.  You are lucky to make so much money.  Now be on your way".  "I am not here for any gratis.  Show me the calculations and pay the exact amount.  Not a rupee more and not a rupee less" said the old woman firmly.  The secretary tried to convince her but she was a hard nut to crack.  He started calculating the actual amount payable to her.

His began with a 8 digit calculator and moved on to a 12 digit calculator when he found it insufficient.  The bigger calculator was also of no use after reaching one month's computation of profits.  He took his laptop and calculated on it.  This is what he found out:
Amount Payable

The calculations went on and on like this and  at the end of 360 days the amount payable was:

75153362648762700000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000   or 751533626487627 followed by 95 Zeros!!!

The Secretary rushed to Mota Seth with his laptop and showed him the calculations.  Mota Seth could not believe his own eyes and stared at the figures on the laptop screen.  The figures on the screen appeared to  mock at him.  It took some time for him to collect his thoughts.  He fell at the feet of the old woman and told her "I do not have that much of money to pay you.  I did not even understand what I meant when I said that my money doubles on each day.  You have opened my eyes.  Please accept all my business and wealth and release me from the debt that I have to pay you.  I have nothing more to say".

The old woman smiled and lifted him.  She told the Seth, "I am not a person to en-cash something you said in an unguarded moment.  I have known you since you were a helper in this very place.  I have seen you grow and struggle to reach this level.  I always remain your well wisher.  I want neither my capital nor profit.  But I want you to remember three things.  Firstly, no customer is too small for any business.  Secondly, weigh your words when you talk to customers and never insult them.  Thirdly, time has come for you to give away part of your wealth to the needy.  God bless you and may you live long to share your success with the society".

After uttering these words the old woman calmly walked away as Mota Seth and his Secretary watched in open-mouthed bewilderment.

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!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Uddalaka and Pen-drive

Sage Dhaumya was a very learned scholar and one of the best teachers of his times.  He was running a Gurukula (School or University) in a forest.   His Gurukula was a place where the students were treated like his own children.  Once admitted to the Gurukula, entire responsibility for their well being was with the Guru.  The students were required to do all the work of the Gurukula like cleaning the place, grazing cattle, bringing firewood and other similar chores.  Each one was taught different subjects according to their own taste and potential to learn.  Guru decided what should be taught to a student and how much, depending upon his capacity to receive and retain knowledge.

One young boy wanted to join the Gurukula and study with other students.  He approached the Guru and put forth his request.  Guru declined to take him in for reason that the Gurukula was already full.  The boy went away without a murmur only to reappear after some days.  The request was the same and the answer was also the same.  This repeated for several rounds but the boy did not give up.  Guru tested him long enough to see if the boy was really keen on learning.  The boy passed the test.  Finally Guru gave in and admitted him as a student.

This boy was of average intelligence and not among the brightest of students.  But his devotion to the Guru was unparalleled.  He carried out all of Guru's orders with utmost dedication and accomplished all the tasks assigned to him dutifully. He appeared to have only one goal in life; to carry out every single order of the Guru to his satisfaction.  Though he did not make much progress in his studies, he continued in the Gurukula unmindful of other things.

It started raining heavily one morning and it looked like the entire surroundings would be flooded.  The Guru was worried about the standing crop in a small field nearby.  Any breach in the tank located just above the fields would wash away the crop.  The crop was the main source to feed the students during the next year. He wanted somebody to go over there and inspect the tank and do anything required to prevent the tank from breaching and washing away the crops.  As usual it was this boy who was available immediately and the Guru commissioned him on the job.  The boy dutifully left on the assignment. The pouring rain and physical difficulty did not bother him and his mind was occupied by only one thing; save the tank and protect the crops.

Once his daily routine started Guru forgot about the boy and remembered him only late in the evening.  Worried about the boy not returning till then he went in search of the boy, taking other students with him.  The boy was nowhere to be seen.  When the Guru called the boy's name loudly there was a feeble voice heard from the tank bed.  The boy was lying along the tank bed to prevent it from breaching.  Unable to control the flow of water singly, he deemed it fit to cover the breach with his body.  His body had become cold due to continuous rains and lying in the tank water.  With the help of other students, Guru filled the breach and dragged the boy out of the mess.  Moved by the devotion and dedication of the boy he embraced him and brought him to Gurukula.

When the boy appeared before him on the next morning,  Guru asked the boy to come and sit before him.  He placed his right hand on the boy's head and by invoking all his spiritual powers transferred  all of his own knowledge to the boy.  And now the boy of average intelligence suddenly became as knowledgeable as the Guru himself!

This is the story of Aruni, who was later known as Uddalaka.  Uddalaka, meaning the one who came out of water.  His name is mentioned with utmost respect in Chandogya and Kathopanisahads.

After all,  Pen-drives are not an invention of 20th century.  Sage Dhaumya was already having it with him.  He and Aruni both had USB ports as well and that is why transfer of knowledge, all of it that was there, was possible instantaneously and effortlessly!