One, Mr. Gupta boarded flight from Delhi to Mumbai, economy class. He noticed an old person sitting next to him on the window seat. Since he had a presentation to be made in an Engineering Company in Mumbai, he took his documents and started going through them for the final time before the presentation. After 15-20 minutes as he was done with his documents, he put them away and started looking out of the window, and suddenly he looked at the face of this person sitting next to him. He thought he had seen him somewhere but could not think of right now.
He was pretty old, his face, the suit was not very expensive and he was replying to some e-mails or going through some documents on his laptop. I noticed his shoes; they were of average quality. Something struck me and I asked him: “Are you Mr. Narayana Murthy?” He looked me, smiled and replied in his polite voice, “Yes, I am.” I was completely shocked! For one second, I had no idea what to say next. I looked at him again. His shoes, his suit, his tie and his specs. Everything was average. This guy was worth $2.3 billion and co-founded a great Company like Infosys.
I always wanted to become super rich so that I could buy all the luxury things in my life and travel business or first class. He could buy the whole airlines and yet he was sitting next to me in the economy class. I again asked: “Sir, why are you travelling in economy class and not business class?” He replied in his gentle voice and said: “Do business class people reach early? Is there any difference between them and us?” I felt completely humbled by his reply. Afterwards I introduced myself and where I was working. He very kindly listened to me and also asked me few questions regarding my work and we got talking.
He also answered few questions I asked him. But his last answer to my question changed my life entirely. I said, “Sir, you are so successful and have made so many good decisions in your life. Is there something you regret?” He got pretty intense look on his face, thought for a while and answered, “Sometimes my knee hurts, I should have taken better care of my body. When I was young, I was so busy working that I never got time to take care of myself and now even if I want to work more, I cannot. My body does not permit me.”
He further said, “You are young. You are smart and ambitious but don’t repeat the mistake I made. Take proper care of your body and take proper rest. This is the only body you have got! Do not play with it the way you want to. Life is all about taking things calmly and learning how to relax in our day-to-day life but when we are young, we are very energetic and are racing to meet targets and overburden ourselves with work.” That day I learned two things, one that he told me the essence of life and another that he showed me that being rich is not about owning things. His knowledge was priceless. I understood immediately how I needed to be conducting my life from today onwards. What a great and down to earth human being he is, no doubt he is so successful and humble at the same time. Rich people too can be unassuming at times.