Gujarat: In an effort to wean his son from a life of silver-spooned privilege, a Gujarati diamond merchant and proprietor of a Surat-based Rs 6,000 crore company with presence in 71 countries, persuaded his only son to go to Kochi incognito and survive on odd jobs for a month.
Dravya Dholakia, 21, doing an MBA in the US and on a holiday in India, arrived in Kochi on June 21 with three pairs of clothes and Rs 7,000 that his father instructed should be used only in an emergency.
“I gave him three conditions: I told my son that he needs to work to earn his money and he couldn’t work at a place for more than a week; that he can’t use his father’s identity nor use the mobile phone nor Rs 7,000 taken from home for a month. I wanted him to understand life and how the poor struggle to get a job and money. No university can teach you these life skills except experience,” Savji Dholakia, proprietor of Hare Krishna Diamond exports, told TOI over phone from Surat. Incidentally, Dholakia had hit the headlines after his firm gifted cars and flats to employees as bonus.
Dravya accepted the challenge and it was decided that he would go to a place he was not familiar with and where the language would be new to him and search for a job. “He decided to come to Kochi as he didn’t know Malayalam and Hindi is not commonly spoken there,” said Dholakia. But little did he know what was in store after he landed here.
“For five days I had no job or proper place to stay. I was frustrated as I was rejected at 60 places, as no one knew me here. I understood what is rejection and the value of a job in these few days,” said Dravya, who lied to his employers that he is a class XII student born in a poor farmer’s family in Gujarat. Dravya Dholakia first got a job in a bakery in Cheranelloor. Then he worked at a call centre, a shoe shop and even McDonalds in the city, earning Rs 4,000 plus in a month. “I never worried about money and here I was struggling to get one time meal worth Rs 40. I needed another Rs 250 per day to stay in a lodge,” said Dravya, who returned home on Tuesday.
Sreejith K, a finance manager who met Dravya, said: “I met him at the bakery and liked him. I gave him my visiting card and offered him all help. However, as my colleagues warned me against employing him, I wouldn’t respond to his calls. On Tuesday, I received a call from Dravya’s company CEO thanking me and informing me of Dravya’s journey.”