I’d been to South Africa the second time in a week, thanks to Airtel, who sponsored my trip to watch the finals of the Airtel Champions League T20, September 2010. The trip was memorable, but the thoughts about having been in Johannesburg still ring in my mind not only because of the experience of being in a new country, but because of a man, Billy, the time I had talking to him and his family.
I’m not sure how I can introduce Billy to you. A friend, a client of a cousin or a self motivated man who at the age of 23 owns a monopoly of Mahindra and Tata spare parts company in South Africa…
Billy is a self motivated man, a man driven by values. He not only comes across more mature than his age, but also as a man with clear plan on what he wants to do, where he wants to be in the next few years.
What was striking about Billy is that he also believes in doing his bit for the community. At the age of 20, this man has driven a tractor some thousand miles (Johannesburg to Durban) to raise some 20k dollars towards charity for cancer! The man also supports the cancer hospital by donating and marinating a few hundred tractors free of cost. For a man who wants his business to be the most talked about, most successful in South Africa, doing charity is pretty amazing!
Billy and his family live in a house that is surrounded by beautifully built porches, and a landscape that takes the breath away. The house is magnificent! What you look turns even more beautiful when you are told that every single wall was hand built by Billy and his father. Yes, even the bricks! The walls, painted as a weekend hobby by the family! That’s a lot of childhood memories for you right there! I have to tell that the house was beautifully planned and organized.
Living in South Africa is hard. You are never sure of when an attack will happen and how you are going to react to it, but Billy and his family have found a way to live with it. “You just have to live with it. If you are worried, you will never feel happy living here.” Thankfully, the house is rigged with motion sensing cameras and alarm systems. The house is also guarded by on call armed security that arrives in seconds of the distress call. The family also has a safe full of guns to use just in case!
You walk into the garage and you are not surprised to see a number of cars with their engines open because Billy loves to rebuild engines as a hobby ? His toolkit is amazing! Oh hey, he has bikes too, because he likes going on bike rides with his father on weekends at times. “I and Dad repainted the bikes only last week, we have a spraying unit in there!” You can only stand there thinking what you have been missing in life.
The house is just full of memories, and the family has more to share at the dinner table. It was nice of the mom to prepare a vegetarian meal for the two of us. Loved everything that was served there, specially with mom having stories of Billy’s childhood. The only thing missing was the talks of Billy’s father who was away on business in Harare, Zimbabwe. Thankfully, I had met him when my cousin, Saahil had called for a business meeting with Billy.
Oh, and not forget his friend Marcus, an owner of a Spare part super market that is one of the biggest in the city. Amazing person with an amazing attitude, a fun guy to be with.
There is a lot more Billy and his family that I want to talk about, but very less time. But what I take away from the trip is what I said to Billy’s mom when we were leaving for India. “The last two days have been the most memorable of my trip so Far.”, A lot of memories.
Until Next Time
PS: Amazing how a single email turned not only into a cordial business relationship between Saahil and Billy, but also transformed into two days full of memories that will only happier every time we meet.