Life lessons from the ice cream King of Mumbai

In my travels I’ve met a lot of interesting people. Some real Assholes that I couldn’t wait until the door hit them on the way out and others who I wish I could put in my suitcase. Both types of people teach me lessons, either “be more like them”or “slap me if I’m ever like them”. I wasn’t “enlightened” in India like all the hippies and yogis claim to experience. Way too many starving begging kids in the streets. At the heart of my trip I found people that were a lot like me, hard working and hungry for knowledge. But of all the students at evolution Mumbai gym, one really blew my mind.
Everyday when I woke up, I had this guy knock on the door to fetch me for practice. He tried carrying my gym bag for me, always asked me If I wanted anything, coffee, breakfast etc. And every night he’d walk me to the door, making sure I had everything I needed until the next day. I assumed he was just another gym lackey, especially one night when he started offering to take my laundry to have cleaned. Boy did I feel like an idiot when I found out the truth.
So one night we are driving home from a day of sight seeing, he asks me if id like to go for ice cream. I don’t know who he talked to beforehand but ice cream holds the key to my heart and soul. So off we went, down a few side streets before pulling up to an ice cream shop. I was excited. We walk up and my unnamed friend walks behind the counter, passed the employees and into the freezer, grabbing this and that. My jaw dropped a bit as he handed them to me, the employees of the shop not skipping a beat at all. Come to find out, this is his shop. He not only owned this one but 28 others just like them. So basically I stuffed my “fat kid at hearts” face, even rubbing it in a little bit to the guys that had fights coming up. The joys of not cutting weight are infinite.
Anyway on the drive home me and the The ice king cream talked a bit, I had to know what this ridiculously humble and unassuming guys story was.
“When I was a boy, I wanted to own an ice cream shop so that I could eat all of the ice cream I wanted”. That one sentence is at the heart of every young mans existence. He took it to the next level. He moved to Mumbai with $40 in his pocket and a dream. He got a loan from the bank and got started. It wasn’t all smooth sailing, he took his losses, having to restart a few times with nothing. He told me there were days he worked 20 hours, sleeping on the floor of his ice cream factory with his workers, he couldn’t afford a place of his own because he put everything into the business. Police constantly looking for bribes, mafia dipping their hands Into the ice cream pot, set back after set back. He cried himself to sleep sometimes, ready to quit, to give up. But he held onto the dream, opening his second, then his third shop. He’s now in a position where he doesn’t have to work, he has managers and employees who handle the day to day. He’s 31 years old now, pretty much mission accomplished. He is the ice cream King of Mumbai.

I asked him what’s next, he’s basically the ultimate ice cream champion of the world, where does he go from here? He says he’s happy with where he is at, that life is good, but he is not satisfied. That resonated with me instantly. I feel the same way after a fight, like cool, I won, nice shiny belt or medal, but that’s not it, I’m not done yet. In a few years he’s going to sell the business, his home,car, etc buy a backpack and travel the world. If I didn’t know better, with him being rich and doing martial arts, this guy is on his way to being Batman. Amazing. That’s the secret with the hugely successful types, a hunger for the next step. But let’s not forget; this guy asked to do my laundry. Humility isn’t the right word for this guy, it doesn’t cut it. He’s on another level. This guys story should be in the bible, forget the guys who have God like power, this is a man who came from nothing with a dream and faced setback after setback, triumphing in the face of adversity to reign supreme over all ice cream cones. To add to his character level, he would say no to having his name written in stories. He doesn’t want his name in this blog, doesn’t want recognition for being who he is. He isn’t the ice cream hero Mumbai needs, he’s the one it deserves.
“V” you have my respect and my admiration. If you ever visit the US, you can sleep on my couch, I’ll buy you yogurt-land every night and I’ll have someone do your laundry.
Ous.

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