Jose Thomas

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Bailed Out
Wednesday 27th June, 2012



     

 

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Dear Friends

In the last couple of days I met with many new people related to my business – mostly consultants, people who offer solutions and guidelines for various finance related matters. They had lots of questions on certain situations that I had overcome in the past. Over the last couple of days I was like a story teller narrating my life’s experiences. As I sit down again to write my blog, I am filled with memories of my past, reminiscing about how I turned my life around to attain financial freedom. One thing is sure. Had I not made the correct decisions at the right time, I would probably have been wiped out from the business world a long while ago.

Now, let us look at where I ended my last blog. I returned from my trip with the firm conviction that I had to resolve my bank issue. Soon after, I convinced my mother to sell our ancestral property which my family had acquired many years back. In fact this property was very dear to my parents. I got the permission to sell this but I had to find a buyer. A feeling of despair started to take control of my life thinking about selling this precious property which my parents had acquired after saving and sacrificing for many years. It wasn’t an easy decision to make. I just could not imagine doing this. But when I thought about the debts I had, I knew that this was probably the best and the only option I had at that time. Could I have asked somebody else for help? Maybe a friend? Forget it. There are no friends out there to lend you that kind of money, especially when you are broke. They may help if you have more than what they have, but not otherwise. I have learned all these lessons and I guess some of you would have too.

I started to look around and someone told me that the Bishop of the Latin Diocese in Cochin was looking at the possibility of starting a college and I said to myself, “Here we go, this could be my potential buyer!” I got an appointment and met the Bishop. The Bishop knew me well because of my dad. I presented my case to him and he said, “We are looking at the possibility of starting a college and we are in contact with Rome from where we have not got permission yet.” I started going to the Bishop’s House every morning sharp at 7 0’clock, stayed in the church and put on a sad face, hoping that maybe sympathy would come in my favour. He kept telling me, “We don’t have money to buy the land. The money has to come from Rome”. This ordeal started to make me a habitual visitor at the Bishop’s House. The cook, the security and even the dogs started to recognize me. But I had only one goal in mind, and that was to make this happen.

My property was 13 acres of land out of which 80% was wet land with paddy cultivation and the rest was hard land with coconut palms. The Bishop finally put me in contact with a few other priests who were not that straight forward according to me. They started to give me a hard time. I thought they were supposed to be very religious but I did not see that in them. They started giving me excuses saying, “How do we build this college on a wet land?” On certain days I lost all my hope, but I did not give up and went back there giving them convincing answers and propositions.

I kept the bank at bay giving them these stories because they were after me. I even took the guy from the bank to meet the Bishop who was good enough to smile, but never said yes or no. These were not tactics, but simple straight approaches in trying to resolve the problem.

Friends, I was in a situation where I said to myself, I am not going to get any value from this property if I sell it to the church. But I knew there would be no other buyer. One day I walked up to the Bishop and quoted the Godfather and said, “I will make you an offer which you can’t refuse”. He listened to me carefully. Remember friends, I was only 21 years old at that time. I said,“I will sell you this entire property of 13 acres of land for Rs.8 lakhs”, or rather about $ 30,000 in those days. The offer I made was so attractive that it started to draw their attention. My debt was well within the sale value and my objective was to sell, get out and resolve my problems rather than keep the problem within myself and complicate matters even further. They willingly agreed to my proposal and they paid me the Rs.8 lakhs.

When I collected this money, after almost two years of virtually being a daily visitor to the Bishop’s house and almost feeling like a priest, I said, “Thank God! Looks like my troubles are over”. But I never realized I would face further problems. The sale registration documentation got so complicated – lawyers, document writers, etc. It was a mess, but still I did it. I settled my debts with the bank and took the rest of the money and gave it to my mother and said, “I am extremely sorry I had to do this”. She didn’t have to say a word, but from the look in her eye I could tell that she understood.

Even though today this property would have been worth at least a 100 times more in value, there is no point in looking back because as I have stated before, had I not made this decision then, I probably wouldn’t have made it to today. I am sure many of you out there must be keeping title deeds of great properties in your lockers, not selling it and at the same time fearing banks and institutions to which you may owe money. In today’s day and age, there is no escape. I go by the basic philosophy of, when you have a problem, try and settle it at any cost today rather than dragging it on to tomorrow. Dragging will only aggravate the situation and take a toll on your health. This is simply not worth it.

Have a great day!
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