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     Volume 6 Issue 12| March 30, 2007 |

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Views from the Bottom

Glimpses of Greatness

Shahnoor Wahid

Once in a while you come across a person in real life or read about him in newspapers or magazines, who takes your attention away from whatever you have been doing. You notice how wondrously different this person is from the regular Tom and Harry or Ram and Rahim you are destined to meet in your everyday life. Such a person makes you sit up and contemplate, makes you want to spend some of your valuable time thinking about him or knowing more about him to satiate your curiosity. This person could be your domestic worker or your car driver or a social worker or even a millionaire in a far away land. In fact, he or she could be just anyone who is different from general folk.

Below is the story of a millionaire I read about some days back and would like to use it as the first example. I read it in a newspaper. The story is reproduced hereunder.

'There was a one-hour interview on CNBC with Warren Buffet, the second richest man who has donated $31 billion to charity. Here are some very interesting aspects of his life:
1) He bought his first share at age 11 and he now regrets that he started too late!
2) He bought a small farm at age 14 with savings from delivering newspapers.
3) He still lives in the same small 3-bedroom house in mid-town Omaha, that he bought after he got married 50 years ago. He says that he has everything he needs in that house. His house does not have a wall or a fence.
4) He drives his own car everywhere and does not have a driver or security people around him.
5) He never travels by private jet, although he owns the world's largest private jet company.
6) His company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns 63 companies. He writes only one letter each year to the CEOs of these companies, giving them goals for the year. He never holds meetings or calls them on a regular basis.
7) He has given his CEO's only two rules. Rule number 1: do not lose any of your share holder's money. Rule number 2: Do not forget rule number 1.
8) He does not socialise with the high society crowd. His past time after he gets home is to make himself some pop corn and watch television.
9) Bill Gates, the world's richest man met him for the first time only 5 years ago. Bill Gates did not think he had anything in common with Warren Buffet. So he had scheduled his meeting only for half hour. But
when Gates met him, the meeting lasted for ten hours and Bill Gates became a devotee of Warren Buffet.
10) Warren Buffet does not carry a cell phone, nor have a computer on his desk.

His advice to young people: Stay away from credit cards and invest in yourself.

Well, that was the story of one 'eccentric' rich American. Below is the story of one 'eccentric' Bangali who lives in a remote village. He is not a millionaire in terms of money. He only has a very rich soul. He is Paulan Sarkar. He is 86 and he buys books with his own money, whatever he can save from a modest earning. He lends the books to the people of his village Bausha to read. He is a lone missionary in the fight against poverty of the mind, and he knows only books can remove that poverty. Doesn't this moth-eaten society of ours need more missionaries like Pulan Sarkar to remove the darkness that resides in our minds?

Then there is the story of a rich lady, I could never get her name, who cooks two large cauldrons of food in her house every day and takes them in her car to a Christian Missionary school in Dhaka where disabled beggars are fed by the sisters with great care in the noon. This Muslim lady also takes part along with the sisters in giving the beggars a proper bath before serving food and applying medicine on their open wounds.

She was very strict in maintaining her anonymity as she always keeps her face covered and does not talk to anyone. No, she does not wear a hijab. She is a rich and modern lady who quickly gets lost in the concrete jungle after her mid-day sojourn. Doesn't someone like her intrigue you?

Do not the likes of Paulan Sarkar, Warren Buffet and the mysterious lady make you stop on your track and make you ponder a while?

Photo courtesy: Prothom Alo

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