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Call It Chance , Call it Fate …….


There is an element of Skill, Smart Work, and of course Hard Work behind any Fortune.And Prudence definitely helps in making and hanging onto it.But there is really another big variable……call it Chance or Fate……a combination of events that might just never again be repeated.Perhaps they are unique events meant to happen to the individual,or its all just random…..Nothing illustrates this better than the following series of events from Ramkrishna Dalmia’s life.

Ramkrishna Dalmia grew up in penury in Calcutta during the 1930s’ Depression.He was twenty-two when his father died and he had to support his mother, grandmother, three sisters and his wife in a single room that he had rented for Rs 13 per month. He was desperate to get rich quickly.

He speculated in silver and lost and suffered the humiliation of defaulting on his debts. Declared insolvent, he became persona-non-grata in the bazzar.

When he was thus down and out without a rupee to his name, he received a telegram from London informing him that the market for silver was set to rise.

Dalmia rushed to the bazaar and entreated his friends and associates to buy silver. But he was spurned and laughed at.

He next went to a wealthy astrologer, who had predicted that Dalmia would one day grow very rich. The astrologer agreed to purchase silver worth £7500, for which young Dalmia would only earn Rs 100 as commission. The astrologer also gave him Rs 10 for sending the telegram. Since he did not have the fare for a tonga, Dalmia jumped on to a tram to the general post office and sent off the telegram………

The next day, as he was praying during his daily dip in the Ganga, a messenger came from the astrologer and told him to cancel the transaction. Dalmia was stunned and he rushed to the astrologer and pleaded before him, reminding him of his prophecy, but to no avail.

On his return home, he received a telegram confirming the transaction along with the bad news that the market had gone down and that he had lost half the capital the same day.

The market, however, turned very quickly in the next few days and since he had not squared his account, he suddenly found that he had made a significant profit.

A prudent man would have booked his profit, but Dalmia was a risk-taker. He stole his wife’s only ornament and pawned it for Rs 200, and made another bet through another agent for another £10,000.

The silver market rose again and he doubled his capital, which he used to buy more silver through a third agent. Soon his profits had risen seven fold.

Dalmia desperately wanted to unburden himself, and as he was friendless, he confided in his mother. He told her that he had stolen his wife’s jewellery. She ordered him to immediately retrieve his wife’s ornament from the pawnbroker and never to try and earn again from stolen capital. She also assured him that they could live comfortably on Rs 50 per month. He gave in to his mother’s wishes and sent a telegram to his agents to book his profits.

But as luck would have it, the telegram got garbled in transmission; the market rose again dramatically, and now his profits were fifteen times his capital, as a consequence of which he had become a very wealthy man. Thus, Dalmia laid the foundations of a vast industrial and real estate empire, and went on to become,one of the three largest industrialists of India at the time of Independence…..

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About Keerthika Singaravel
Engineer,Investor,Businessperson

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