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Lending money:'I paid the price of my blind faith'

Last updated on: August 5, 2010 11:14 IST

Photographs: Rediff Archives

On Monday, a day after the Friendship Day, we asked Getahead readers to mail their experiences of how they lost their friendships because of lending money to them or borrowing from them.

Two friends -- both bitter with their experiences -- narrate their tales. Interestingly, while one of them would want to meet his friend at least, if not to forget the past but get his money back, the other one feels let down by himself for trusting a dear friend blindly.

I joined a company at Ramagundam (Andhra Pradesh) on promotional transfer and met Tej on the first day at office. He was supposed to take care my official needs. He did the job effectively and impressively. He was a very well behaved and cultured chap, at the same time very ambitious too. He was in non-executive category at that time and wanted to jump to executive cadre without any loss of time.

His ambition was to earn money and to lead a very luxurious life and to provide all sorts of comfort to his wife and two daughters. I was not very materialistic but liked to live comfortably with my ideology and principles. He tried to impress that earning money is essential and that cannot be done by working in a company and suggested we should start a good business by leaving the job citing example of his friend, who managed business along with his service in the company, who later took voluntary retirement.

Finally I left the company and Ramagundam after I got a better job in another company. He bid a very warm farewell to my finally and me leaving a good impression on me about his honesty and sincerity.

Almost 10 years passed after that day. He became a good businessman at Vizag owning a hotel along with some marketing of engineering products. Living a good luxurious life with his family members and made a lot of business friends. I enjoyed his hospitality on a few occasions during my trips, official as well as personal with my family, to Vizag.

I expressed that my greatest responsibility is my daughters' marriage and for which somehow I had saved Rs 15 lakh even by curtailing the good professional education to my children as well as our luxury. We used to live a simple but dignified life. What education my children could get on their merit, they got. I didn't spend big money to explore their capabilities. After a year or so Tej suddenly came to meet me. He narrated to me about his business progresses and future prospects. He told me that since there was more than two more years for my daughters' wedding, and since my savings and earnings were not enough, I should lend him Rs 5 lakh for which he will give me Rs 10,000 per month for my daughters' study as interest. He promised to return all my money in case their marriage came up.

I had great faith in him. Considering the asset that my friend had generated which I saw during my visits to his house, I felt that an amount of Rs 5 lakh was very small. He was fully aware of my situation and so it was safe to give money to him.

Anyway with all my faith and belief in his honesty I gave him Rs 5 lakh. After taking the money he visited me twice or thrice but thereafter he never visited. Exactly two years later when my daughter got married he visited with bare hands. Even during the intervening two years he did not pay any interest for my daughter's studies, as promised.

I retired at 63 but I still haven't got the money from my friend. Today I realise that giving money to my friend was the greatest blunder of my life. But the damage has been done. I am not able to excuse myself for not understanding that my friend demanded the price of my blind faith. He very much understood me.

It is true story and never said this to anyone else apart from my dad.

'I don't want my friend; just want back my money'

Fortunately, I have been blessed with many friends throughout my life. I have always helped others specially friends when they needed my help. Being in a foreign country, I have always helped people from India.

But it all changed when one of my friends (let's call him M) borrowed money from me and stopped contacting me thereafter.

We used to study together and did well in the exams. I have been in the UK for longer than my friend so I was in good situation regarding job and house. M was struggling to find job and house to stay after completing his study. I spoke to my director and after some struggle with my team leader they offered him a job. We spent around a year working together and I decided to move to another job.

After two weeks I received call from M. He asked me if he I could lend him some money. In the past I have given him some money and he did return the same on time so I thought this time too he would do the same.

The amount was quite big so I asked him why he needed that kind of money. He said his dad had suffered a heart attack in India and so he needed money straight away for his bypass surgery. Since I had recently changed my job I did not have that much money in my account. I asked my dad if I could borrow money from him.

M told me he would return the money in a week's time when he gets his wages. After two days I called him to see how his dad was doing but I could only get to his answering machine. I called another friend and he told me that M had left for India. I thought he had to go back because of his dad but was surprised to hear that his company had closed down. M's visa had also expired and so he went to India.

I sent him many e-mails to which he reverted promising to return my money soon. It's been nearly two years now. I did not tell my dad that M was yet to return the money but returned all his money from my wages. It took me sometime to return his money and it is really embarrassing for me to face him every time this subject comes up for discussion.

After returning all his money, I decided to tell him the truth. He was really calm and told me not to worry about it. He said though I had lost a good deal of money I learnt a valuable lesson in my life.

I don't think any MBA course or self-development course will teach me as valuable a lesson as this one. I have all evidence to report it to police: bank transfers, e-mails but I didn't do it. I don't know what's stopping me but I don't think it will make any difference. One thing I really want to do is to talk to him. I can understand if he does not have money at this stage but at least he can call me to let me know what's happening with him.

He has stopped contacting our common friends. He has changed his telephone numbers. I only have his e-mail address but don't think he checks his e-mails.