Self-made man!

I met a very interesting man yesterday. He was introduced to me by a mutual acquaintance at the joggers’ park, where many of my neighbors meet every evening.

This new comer to the park is a new resident to the colony and has just moved to Pune after retiring from his own business in the Middle East. When I asked him as to how one can retire from one’s own business, he explained that he has sold his interest in the business to a relative who is also in the Middle East and who wants to expand.

Introductions over and preliminaries done with, I asked him to tell me something about himself and he started off by telling me “I am a self made man.” He then proceeded to tell me the story of his life, which is not what I wish to write about.

I do however wish to write about this business of being a self made man! Firstly, logically, it is not possible to make one’ self. Despite being a Vedantin of sorts, I cannot imagine some one being the maker, the material and the made, in human terms. Self-made persons do have mothers and fathers responsible for their birth. There must have been a lot of others in that person’s life to mould his character, and perhaps even his physique! There must have been people and events, which would have influenced him one way or the other.

Assuming however that what is meant by this phrase is that the individual concerned, did not get any assistance from his family and friends in his rags to riches story, this again is next to impossible. While he may indeed have not received any support from his family, every single person that he came across in his path to growth would have contributed to his existence, growth, experience etc.

I believe that our own Dhirubhai Ambani was once introduced as a self-made man and he took serious objection to this. He clarified that there were a number of people in his life who helped him along and participated in his life and growth and therefore he could not be called a self-made man. What humility!

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