What do you think I was doing?

One of my friends told me the outline of the following story (dialogues are mine) just before we joined college. Somehow, that story still lingers on in my mind. So, I thought why not share it.

The story is about a poor fisherman and a rich merchant. One day, a rich merchant notices the fisherman sleeping near the shore. He goes and wakes him up, and the following dialogues are exchanged between them.

“Why are you sleeping in the afternoon? Why don’t you go and fish?”

“I have already caught enough fish for this week”

“Well then, why don’t you catch some more – you’ll get more money for them right?”

“Well, I might. But what to do with it?”

“That’s just the stupidest question I have heard in a long time. You can buy a new boat, you can buy a cell phone, you can buy a car, you can buy a house, and if you have saved enough, you can even buy a villa along the seashore”

“And then what?”

“You can sleep peacefully…..”

“For your information, I already have a villa by the seashore – that’s my hut. And what do you think I was doing before you woke me up?”

I am not saying that one of them was wrong. Both were right, in their perspective. But the perspectives are extreme – the fisherman does not save for emergencies, and the merchant saves too much money but utilizes a very little of it. Or worse, he spoils the younger generation by giving them ‘free money’!

Make hay while the sun shines. But if you make too much hay that you are never going to eat (or the cow is never going to eat), all those efforts that went in to making it becomes a waste.

Actually, this one is for the politicians. Election special 😛

Destination Infinity

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18 Replies to “What do you think I was doing?”

  1. Since you found the merchant’s perspective extreme just like the casual, lazy & careless one of the fisherman; what according to you should a common man do?
    Be lazy and work whenever he pleases?
    Spend all he earns not bothering to save enough for his offspring?

    1. This saving enough for the offspring is a dangerous thing. The duty of parents is to give basic education and food to a child. After a certain age (20 – or even earlier), the young people should be made to work and and fend for themselves. I know a lot of young people who just sit and eat in their homes (does not happen much in the cities though) because their forefather(s) have left them a lot of property and wealth.

      If you would have noticed, the rich kids make a mess of their fathers organizations (while managing them). That’s because, they never built them – so how can you expect them to manage something that they didn’t build? At an age where they should get good work experience and exposure, they become Vice Presidents!! Comedy.

      I didn’t criticize the laziness of the fisherman as much as I criticized the greed of the rich merchant, because that was evident and people recognize that fault. Its the latter who gets praised for being able to make a loooooot of money.

      Common man can aspire to become anything – rich, poor, or take the middle route. Doesn’t matter. But if the common man aspires for ‘free money’ (like the inherited wealth), they better be ready to face the consequences and pay the price for it.

      Destination Infinity

  2. I wish i can do that .. D I .. for the life of me i just cant save anything and the month i feel oh done well along comes something or the other ..

    I do think that one should save for emergencies but then not kill themselves to save too cause you live once and if you wont go nad enjoy then when will you ..

    I am like that If i see something i want to go for it.. sometimes i make a wrong decision sometimes i dont so in the end it all even out..

    I have always wanted a long leather jacket full length and a good proper one not a cheap stuff and the other day i was in london happened to see one that i likes cost me 400quid but hey as you said that why we earn for .. at least one of my things in the wish list has been completed 🙂

    I have seen a lot of kids go haywire cause of the money there parents had , my dad was always strict he never let money go to my head …

    1. I think many people in the previous generations were brought up like that. Its very good, the money should not get to the head. Especially if one has not made all that money. But these days, parents are intent to spoil the children (by throwing money at them) at every opportunity, which is absolutely wrong.

      Destination Infinity

    1. Yeah, but we are talking about journey, not destination! But what you said is absolutely true – and if people realize that simple fact, they might behave much better.

      Destination Infinity

  3. Have heard of this before and no matter how many ever times more I hear this – it makes me feel that there is a sense of purpose of life so richly depicted!

    1. I agree with you – but we need to labor for a long time, before even realizing our purpose in life. We can see only the dots. Someone connects them all to make perfect sense.

      Destination Infinity

  4. I have heard this story from someone somewhere.. dont remember when and where.. but it is really interesting. I think the motive should be save enough to survive in case of some emergency but spend and enjoy while you can. Saving too much and working too hard without enjoying doesnt make sense. After all we earn in order to enjoy 🙂

    1. That’s right. I am not sure what exactly is the fun in stashing away so much money in Swiss banks, that no one ever touches!!

      Destination Infinity

    1. That’s what our need really is, but we have come a long way where so many of our wants become our needs. The deception in the design of life, is too perfect!!

      Destination Infinity

  5. I’ve heard this story before…. 🙂 pretty simplistic in approach but profound in message….
    Money becomes equal to the value of the paper it was printed on……once there is more money than there are needs (to be fulfiled thru money) in a person’s life…
    Hence the taking for granted and spending money unnecessarily begins…

    1. Needs differ. For a poor man, his need is to eat good meals three times a day, but for a rich man, his need may be to eat at 5 star hotels everyday!

      Destination Infinity

  6. Interesting story.Money can’t buy everything but we can’t live without having money.For everything whether it is food,water or anything we need money.According to me we should save some and rest enjoy with the money.

    I agree that rich kids spoil their fathers money but u see the exceptions like ambanis,tatas,birlas……

    1. The genes are always there! But what I was pointing out is, spoiling the young people at a young age by giving them some high positions – without any practical exposure. After some years, when they have enough exposure they will always be able to handle the business.

      Destination Infinity

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