'A rich man has many friends but poor has none.'
The thought flashed through my mind as I slid back into my chair in the luxurious cabin of the managing directior of Sharma Builders.
Today, my establishment is one of the leading construction companies of the nation. It's foundation was laid by my late father. It had a humble beginning as a small office with meager furniture, a telephone and two staff members. I still remember those days when I was just a school student. After my school, I used to visit my Dad in his office. I had started having my initial lessons of business right from those days, from my first and foremost teacher - my father. I had learnt a lot from him that no business schools which I have attended could teach me. He taught me that to become a successful business- man, one should become a good man first who does his business honestly and sincerely. There are lot many things that I was taught in my B- schools but nowhere I was taught such fundamental things as my Dad had taught me.
In the evenings, my Dad used to take me to a nearby tea - stall. As we both were regular customers there, the owner of the tea stall, Mr Freddy became friends with us. His boy used to carry tea for the staff members who used to work in Dad office. Mr Freddy used to gift me a free biscuit everyday as a token of our friendship.
"Business tactics!" Dad used to whisper in my ears while I was happily feasting upon the biscuit.
"What?" I raised my head and asked as my perplexed eyes darted at him.
"He gives you free buscuits everyday so as to keep us happy and in turn persuade me to order tea for our office from nobody else but him."
"No Dad," I said as I shook my head, "he is a friend of mine. That's why he gives me buscuits."
"A rich man has many friends but a poor has none." Dad said thoughtfully, "only time will tell you who really is your friend."
"What do you mean, Dad?" I was confused again.
"As long as you have money in your pockets the whole world will salute you. But many will turn their backs on you once you lose your wealth. Only he, who stands with you through your tough time, is your friend indeed."
"What do you think, Dad?" I said as Dad's teachings sunk deep down within me, "Is Mr Freddy our friend indeed?"
"We will find out tommorrow." He said as he raised to leave.
The next evening as we passed by Mr Freddy's tea stall, my father held my hand and quickly walked away without stopping there.
"Won't you care for a cup of tea, sir ?" Mr Freddy called out as he saw us.
"No, Mr Freddy," Dad pretended, "my business has suffered a huge loss and I am neck- down in debt. I have no money to pay my staff. I couldn't even afford to buy a cup of tea for us."
"Don't worry sir," Mr Freddy said, "you will prosper again."
"Thank you Mr Freddy," Dad said as he tugged on my hand and walked ahead.
"Please wait sir," Mr Freddy called out to us.
"What's it, Mr Freddy?" Dad asked.
"This is for him," Mr Freddy said as he held out a buscuit to me.
"Take it back Mr Freddy," Dad said, "I have told you, I cannot afford even this."
"No sir," he said as he smilingly shook his head, "it's a gift to my friend. You know I have never charged you for it. Money will come and go but friends are forever."
I hugged him as he has proved me right in front of my father.
"Right Freddy!" Dad said as he proudly patted on Freddy's shoulder.
I took the biscuit from him and he made his way back to the stall with a wide grin. Dad lovingly stroked my head and said, "he is your friend indeed."