“How did you get the idea of starting a business of your own?” I asked Kaki Uma, who runs her own readymade garments shop. “I like keeping myself engaged in one thing or another. It’s a good thing to work,” she said.[caption id="attachment_6956" align="aligncenter" width="2000"] Kaki Uma[/caption]On another day, a new town, and to a different micro-entrepreneur, I asked, “What inspired you to start this business?”“I just wanted to work. This is the only thing I know how to do,” said Shafaben. She runs a Sopari (betel nut) cutting business.[caption id="attachment_6957" align="aligncenter" width="2000"] Shafaben[/caption]It was again a new day, and standing in the midst of a small textile industry, I asked to a worker who was printing designs on a bedspread, “How come you entered this industry?”For a while, he looked at me like I had asked a completely bizarre question. When I showed no signs of understanding, he said, “I needed money and I wanted to work.”[caption id="attachment_6958" align="aligncenter" width="2000"] A worker dyeing dress materials in a textile industry[/caption]No matter to whom and how many different variations of this question I asked, answer was almost always the same. A strong desire to work, and just an initial boost was all that was required; and after that never once these people whined or sat idle. These are the honest hard working people of Gujarat, a western Indian state where people are known for their love of food and instinctive business acumen. Maybe it’s just my luck that all the Gujarati’s I've met so far have a high regard for an honest day’s work, but after living here for four months, and meeting hundreds of people all from different towns, localities, castes, and educational backgrounds, it must have been one heck of a luck that all of them share this opinion. Whether it’s a tea stall, a garment shop, snacks making business, a textile industry, or a vegetable selling cart, no work is small for them. But that in no way means that they are lazy or content in just the way things are. They experiment, they work hard, and they try to achieve new levels of excellence in whatever it is they do.Call it wishful thinking, but if each and every individual could develop an attitude like that, maybe we can resolve all the socio-economic issues. A society where no work is ridiculed would open thousands of new doors to the unemployed. Financial independence, and taking pride in one’s work, will dispense went up frustrations and put a stop to various psycho-social problems. And once these basic issues are dealt with, we could look forward to new avenues of excellence emerging every single day.
Fruits of honest labor