Have you ever spoken to money? Well, I have. Today I am going to share a very special story of my life, Yes a packet of flour actually changed my life. You can listen to the Hindi version of this story in podcast format as well. But if you are still reading then let’s start this amazing journey.
I had just appeared in the final semester exams of my graduation and was waiting for the result. Had cleared the interview for the new job as well. They said that I can join as soon as I submit the passing certificate. I was expecting my result to be out in the next 20-25 days. My mom would teach English in her English-speaking classes and her students were all these working professionals and small businessmen.
I was around 19-20 at that time so naturally, those students were elder to me. Around three years ago my dad had passed away, so my maternal grandpa gave all the copies of his self-published books to us, saying that this is the only property he has for us now. 'Sell these books and earn your living,' he said. I used to sell those books door to door. Since my mother was a teacher, the lecture fee was the prime source of income for us. Money that I would earn by selling books would go in paying for our daily expenses. My brother was in school at that time. So overall, life was fine. But as we all know that life doesn’t like the word - fine and soon I became the victim of its hostility.
The drama starts
My mother got sick. We went to the doctor and after a few tests, we found out that she was suffering from typhoid. The doctor advised not to admit in the hospital but she needs a complete rest at home and she can’t work. She had to stop her lectures. At that time, the majority of our total income would go in paying debts and rent. We would meet our daily ends if something is left after paying debts and rent, that means we didn’t have any concept of saving. Books helped us to make our daily ends meet.
Because Mom couldn't teach, we stopped receiving fees, so I had to sell books every day anyhow. One day, after lunch, when I was just about to leave, mom asked to bring some groceries including wheat flour as everything was finished. I asked for money and she said that there is no cash left and asked me to withdraw cash from the ATM and bring all the items.
She asked me to withdraw 500 rupees so that I would get a packet of flour for Rs.210 and will get some rice and lentils. I went to the ATM and dialed 500 after putting my pin and I see this message on the screen that transaction declined due to insufficient balance. Checked the balance on the account and it was just 80 rupees.
'No worries,' I said to myself thinking, I will sell some books today and then will buy all the groceries. After returning home told mom that I will bring groceries on my way home in the evening but not now as I am getting late. I didn't tell her about the available balance because I didn’t want her to feel restless and have an adverse effect on her health.
I left my place around 12.30 P.M., To be honest, I didn’t like selling books door to door at that time as I was too young. I didn’t want anyone who knows me should see me selling books. So I would choose an area that is too far from my place to sell books. We would reside in Borivali and I would go to Dahanu, a place located around 1.30 hours from Borivali by train. MRP on books was Rs. 210 so I would sell it in 150, 180, or sometimes 200 as well. That day, I decided to sell three books for 200 each and that would be enough to get the groceries.
I reached my work station around 2-15 thinking about a packet of flour and I rang the bell of the first house. A man in the mid-30s opened the door and I started my sales pitch, ‘Learn English in a new and easy way, a new formula to learn English anywhere...
He welcomed me in the same way any salesman gets a welcome, by shutting the door on the face.
I started loving such hostility so much that I needed someone to shut the door on the face to get me in the groove. That day, facing such a motivational act right at the first door, boosted the confidence of a salesman in me. I went to the next one with double the excitement and enthusiasm. I could see a packet of flour
Game of varieties
My confidence gave me the result I wanted. The man at the next door listened to my full sales pitch. I asked politely after finishing my sales pitch, 'so how many books would you go for?' I got the answer in an equally polite manner - 'none'. The polite rejection indicated that there is not enough space for follow up either and I moved to the next door. I kept going on and on, one door after the other and started learning new ways of rejections. There was this variety of reasons for saying no. Rejection wasn’t a new thing for me but on that day it looked like everyone was playing a game with me called - we won’t buy. Weird game it is!
I was enjoying it because I was focusing on the variety of saying no rather than rejections.
In this banter, I didn’t realize that it was already 5 P.M. My usual time for leaving for home was 6, so that I would reach by 7.30 and we would have dinner together around 8-8.30. It was 5 P.M. and I couldn't sell a single book. It never happened to me before that I would not have a single sale in the first three hours of selling. Now the situation got serious.
I pulled up my sox and doubled my efforts and enthusiasm. With added confidence and speed, I started delivering my sales pitch aggressively. Exactly the way all the salesmen do in such a situation. As if selling is a war and he, an important soldier, no fear of losing, no fear of dying, only one goal. Winning. I could only see the packet of flour. I tried all the tricks of the trade-in salesmanship that I knew that time but nothing worked. It was 6 o’clock. Now I was a bit scared.
A reality check
What will happen if I fail to sell even one book? Who will help me? Will the shopkeeper give groceries on credit? and if not then what? How will I face mom? An educated son can't even feed his family? After so many questions I decided to try again for the next half an hour and even after half an hour if nothing happens, I will ask a friend to help. I was just 19-20 years old and all my friends were just like me- broke. Everyone was jobless, so borrowing even Rs.50 was a bit task. I understood that I don’t have any other option but to sell books. I started my sales pitch again. Again, with full confidence, full enthusiasm, and again the same result, rejected. Now my fear was transformed into this furious volcano. I will sell anyhow. Again a new house and again the same story.
It was 6.15 on the clock. I decided to do whatever it takes to make a sell and if I fail in these 15 minutes, God knows what would happen. I started my sales pitch. This time, after listening to the full sales pitch a man started asking a few questions about the book. If a prospective buyer asks questions about the product, it means he is curious about it and all you have to do is clear his doubts to make the sale. I started answering all his questions as if it was my only shot to sell. After this question and answer round of entire 10 minutes, he denied buying the book by saying that he doesn’t need it as he is a teacher and he was just checking whether the book is a high quality one or not.
It was 6.25 and still not a single sale. I was just about to weep. I said to myself, still have 5 minutes left. Let’s give it a try. Last house of the day. I rang the bell. A lady in mid-forties opened the door. I started my sales pitch with the same energy and a smile on the face. She said 210 is too much, by that time I had decided that either I will sell it in 210 or I won't sell it. The lady denied and I started walking my way back to the train station. I would have walked about 4-5 steps and I heard a sound from behind, ‘listen, come here.’ I went and stood right in front of the door.
Her husband came and stood in front and asked to show the book. He started reading the book. He read the first page, then second and then third. After reading three pages he gazed and me and said, ‘210 is too much, I will give 200.’ I said yes on the go as I couldn’t think much and I wanted those 200 so badly. I wanted a packet of flour.
He went inside to get some cash and handed me over the two notes. I gave him a good copy of a book by holding those notes in the other hand and thanked him. As soon as I started to make a move he said, ‘This is just one book, I wanted three copies.’ I said, ‘how can you get three copies for 200?’ ‘Check it again it’s 600, not 200,’ he said. I opened my fist and saw it. There were two notes. One of 500 and the other of 100.
I gave him two more copies; he thanked me and closed the door. I started walking towards the train station. This was so sudden that It took a while for me to digest the whole scenario.
I may have walked for about 10 steps and I realized that I have Rs600 in my hands!
I stopped and gazed at those notes and said, ‘You don’t know what you are to me right now, thank you so much for everything.’
Tears started rolling down my eyes and I started crying. I folded those notes and kept it in my pocket and started walking. Eyes were watery and I had a smile on my face. Tears of joy and a smile of gratitude and happiness.
I bought the packet of flour worth Rs.210 along with some rice and lentils and a bar of chocolate worth Rs.10 too. All three of us shared it. The Wheat Roti of that day was the tastiest Roti that I ever had in my life. A packet of wheat changed my point of view to look at life, It taught me to be happy, it gave a meaning to my life.
Be happy and Grateful
Many a time we complain and feel sad about our low paying job, no promotion, more bills, house rent, not having enough, not having a good place to live but we forget that above all, we have food to eat and a place to live and that is all we need to stay alive. So let's stay happy right! Let us put our all efforts into our goal if we get it or we don’t get it all. Whether it's in part or full, let's accept it as a bonus, and even if we don’t get it we have enough to feed ourselves and that is enough. So why complain? let us be happy with whatever we have got. Trust me a packet of flour is all we need to feed ourselves.
Life doesn’t ask for more, it is our expectations that make us sad
You are important
Do let me know your response to this story in the comment section and I follow thebestuknow.com to enhance my English language skills.