Blowing My Own Trumpet : BE GOOD TO THE UNGRATEFUL

Security is one of the main concerns in any educational institution, particularly in hostels. As Rector of Symbiosis International Hostel, I had observed that the security personnel there were callous and lethargic.

The proverbial final straw on the camel’s back was when a gentleman audaciously walked through the security at the gate, without being stopped and entered the common room of the hostel where students were watching television.

He coolly walked towards the TV and before the students could realise what was happening, he picked it up and pushed away the students who got up to snatch it from him. He then carried the TV on his head and walked out of the gate. Seems incredible but he was a thief who committed the crime in a smooth sailing manner. Therefore, Dr Mujumdar asked me to change the security guards, lock, stock and barrel!

Around the same time, an army Subedar came to me, searching for a job as a security supervisor. Happy that he had an army background and would work with sincerity, honesty and tenacity, I asked him his salary expectations. He replied, “Sir, Rs.1,500 would be fine.” I decided to be generous, as I had instantly thought of a business strategy with him. I said, “If you are ready to work with me, I will ensure that you earn Rs.15,000 per month.” I suggested to him that a lot of ex-servicemen were in search of jobs and that, he should bring them under one umbrella. We would then start a Pune Ex-servicemen Assistance Forum (PEAF) and register it with the appropriate authorities.

I also told him, “you being a Maharashtrian, look out for all ex-servicemen in Pune who are in search of jobs. You will get a commission which will exceed your expectations of Rs.1,500 salary per month. Besides Symbiosis, we can have security guard contracts at other campuses and buildings. Till such time your income does not exceed Rs.15,000, you need not share anything with me, but once you exceed that amount, the surplus should be shared by both of us, being partners in the business.”

The division of work was simple—mine was the brain work and his was the field work. I also suggested that he should employ additional staff for PEAF. He brought in his brother-in-law and many others into the company fold.

As I was preoccupied with students and hostel affairs, I completely depended on him to run a fair business, as I trusted him wholeheartedly. A time came when the surplus amount crossed Rs. one lakh, but he used to give me a mere Rs.5,000 or Rs.6,000 per month. I got to know of this much later.

During this time, he wanted to buy a small, one-bedroom flat, for which he asked me financial help. I magnanimously gave him Rs.50,000, unaware that he had been stabbing me in the back. Over and above this small apartment, with the surplus money which he never disclosed to me, he had also bought a three-bedroom flat.


A situation arose when I had to suddenly leave Symbiosis and I was searching for a place to stay, for myself. This business partner of mine told me that he could spare me his one-room flat, provided I pay a rent of Rs.1,000 per month. I had no choice but to agree. I thought he would lend a helping hand in my time of need, just as I had done in his hour of need. I believe a true friend should be like your two hands, involuntarily and in a jiffy, holding your lungi if it is slipping. But alas, he decided to treat me as a tenant.

That was when I started to check the accounts and realised the fraud that he had played on me. I was wondering how to tackle this stab-in-my-back issue as I was also guilty of not having checked the financials in this partnership deal. So, I thought in one corner of my heart, that I was paying the price for my lethargy. Blind faith is not right and yet I indulged in it.

As I was preoccupied with students and hostel affairs, I completely depended on him to run a fair business, as I trusted him wholeheartedly. A time came when the surplus amount crossed Rs.1 lakh, but he used to give me a mere Rs.5,000 or Rs.6,000 per month. I got to know of this much later

I decided to accost him. It did not help as he did not bother to respond. He took advantage of the fact that I had no documentary proof. The partnership deed was not done in a thoroughly legal manner, so he used that against me.

One day I told him, “From my side, everything was done on faith. Okay, you have earned and have become the owner of two flats. You think I am finished, but I shall prove you wrong. You will see me standing tall in the city very soon but that time you will not be my partner. You are going to cry for losing your good friend. If I can ensure that a person who wanted a (salary of ) Rs.1,500 got Rs.15,000, I could make you earn Rs.15 lakh too. But you ditched me. I have no anger against you, but there is no love either.”

Time passed by and one day he came to me for the admission of his daughter. I helped him by giving her a full scholarship. Today, the elder daughter is doing a full-time MBA programme at our institute. Then he brought his sister’s daughter. She too received the fee waiver. I learnt that his brother-in-law had died suddenly. Despite all the hard feelings I had for him, I visited their house, gave a good amount of money and took complete responsibility for his children’s education at Agrasen High School.

You may ask, why did I decide to continue to be magnanimous? For, I believe that the best way to punish a person who has stabbed you in your back is to do good to him.

Also, there is another lesson to be learnt here. Keep your documents intact, and, never have blind faith in anyone, not even your best friend.