This interview was taken on a Sunday morning on the Spanish-style terrace of Dr Naresh Bhat’s residence. Dr Naresh Bhat was interested in a number of topics, but finally decided to give an interview on wealth. For this leading gastroenterologist in India, the formula to earn wealth is rather simple – money grows gradually, get an expert to handle wealth and sit back and enjoy life. This enchanting interview is perfect to remind ourselves that the rat race is not always the answer to earn more.
Naresh Bhat, 61 years, Gastroenterologist, Bangalore
Interviewed by Poorva Dinesh
Why did you decide to give us an interview on wealth?
A lot of people are a little hazy about wealth. What wealth means. What you should do to acquire it, and what you should do with it. That’s the reason why I thought I should speak on wealth.
Can you give me a concrete example of what you just said?
Well one thing that readily comes to my mind is that if I look at the younger generation, or my younger friends I meet, they seem to be in such a desperate hurry to make wealth. This was not the case when we were growing up. I don’t mean to say I didn’t make money. I did make money. But the whole thing was a process. These days, they start out wanting to make money. I remember my first two months I made about 190 or 200 rupees. Yes, but at any point I don’t remember putting myself a target of so many lakhs, or something like that. I think it just came my way. But today you find youngsters saying, I want to make three lakhs a month, four lakhs a month, I want to acquire this within the next one or two years, and I somehow feel strongly this is not a great way to live life.
Do you spend a considerable time planning on how to grow your wealth?
I must admit in the initial years of my career, money was just accumulating in the bank. Nothing much really happened. Maybe just a few investments here and there in shares. But I had a setback when I was 45 and had a heart attack. Suddenly it occurred to me I need to be going in some direction, and I was lucky enough to have a few friends who got me an investment banker. Since that day, that’s about 12 or 13 years ago, there is someone who actually looks after my wealth, in terms of investment, tracking them, things like that, while I hardly break my head over it. Somewhere down the line, you must have a professional who will guide you. My brother did guide me about shares and things like that in my younger days, but it was in the form of “why don’t you buy this, it may be good…” but it wasn’t anything professional.
You do pay a small price in terms of money, but I think it’s worth it. Especially for people like me who neither have the aptitude nor the time to really sit and work on it.
Do you consider yourself wealthy?
All of us are wealthy in our own way. It’s just what target you put for yourself or an arbitrary figure. At the end of the day, I think if I can live my life comfortably then I am wealthy. By comfortable I mean if I can make sure I have those three meals a day, I am able to go to work and come back, and sleep comfortably, then yes – I am wealthy. It is not a figure.
The last question has nothing to do with your interview topic. But we ask everyone we interview-what does love mean to you?
Life means faith. Love means you must have the other person’s interest supreme.