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  • Ankur Sachdev

From Riches-to-Rags, Let's Learn a New Lesson

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

Let's face it, stories of rags-to-riches take us into the world of fantasy. Yes, it inspires but it takes the stories too far. The real, or rather the practical, aspect of life is never shared in these stories.

Riches To Rags
Image Credit: Appalachian History

Every success story is hyped as an overnight achievement. It probably takes one lucky day to get recognized in the overcrowded world but the constant efforts put in by the person are overlooked. The failures faced are ignored. The struggle for every rupee is never talked about. The betrayal from loved ones is hidden somewhere in the success story or narrated as if it never bothered that person.

All this is done for one reason: Motivation. The question is if it is right to motivate without sharing the practical aspects of life and the answer is, it is not. In this article, i will share five stories of people who went from being rich to being in the worst situation and the lessons that we can all learn from their mistakes. Someone's failure, after all, is another person's guide to avoiding mistakes.

Here are five examples of people who went from being rich to being in the worst situation of their life:

1. Ramalinga Raju

A post-graduate who successfully ran Satyam Computers Services, now Mahindra Satyam, for more than a decade is now going through the ugliest phase of his life. The software company was one of the topmost companies in India. There was nothing that could bring it down except for the man behind it himself.

Ramalinga Raju | Satyam Computers Services
In Pic: Ramalinga Raju; Image Credit: Indiatimes

Ramalinga Raju, the Founder and the Chief Executive Officer of Satyam Computers Services, was sentenced to prison after he was found guilty of embezzling the company of ₹7,140 crores. The company was going through financial issues and to secure a loan, he manipulated the financial record of the company. He is currently out on bail still fighting the legal cases against him.

2. Subrata Roy

The Chairman of Sahara India Pariwar, a conglomerate company operating in sectors like finance, infrastructure & housing, real estate, and power, to name a few, was lodged in Tihar Jail for two years.

Subrata Roy | Sahara India Pariwar
In Pic: Subrata Roy; Image Credit: NDTV

The brand that sponsored the Indian Cricket Team for more than a decade witnessed a black spot on its image, Subrata Roy was arrested after he was found guilty in Sahara Chitfund Scam. The scam involved the amount of around ₹24,000 crores. According to The Economic Times, he is now working as the Managing Worker & Chairman of Sahara India Pariwar. The black spot on his image, however, remains. 3. V. G. Siddhartha 'A Lot Can Happen Over Coffee', and a lot did happen over coffee.

V. G. Siddhartha | Cafe Coffee Day
In Pic: V. G. Siddhartha; Image Credit: Business Today

The Founder of India's successful cafe committed suicide by jumping off a bridge. In his suicide note, he spoke about the pressure that he was facing from a private equity firm and harassment by tax officials. His death shook the entire nation and raised several questions on the mental health of people who were conducting business in the country. He received several positive goodbyes and the fact that he could not face the pressure remains debatable.

4. Achala Sachdev The one to take everyone's breath away in the song "Aye Meri Zohra Jabeen" left this world on April 30, 2012. She was ninety-one years young.

Achala Sachdev
In Pic: Achala Sachdev; Image Credit: SKJ Bollywood News

Her notable contribution to the world of Indian Cinema is of more than 250 films. Some of her most memorable films are Waqt, Mera Naam Joker, and Kal Ho Na Ho, to name a few. She lost her husband in 2002, and after that, she lived a lonely life till her death. She only had a caretaker during the night. She slipped in her kitchen and sustained injuries before being diagnosed with paralysis. She was, reportedly, abandoned by her children and the entire Indian Film Industry. 5. Meena Kumari She received the title of The Tragedy Queen and critics called her the Historically Incomparable Actress. Her legacy came to a dramatic end when she died.

Meena Kumari
In Pic: Meena Kumari; Image Credit: The Indian Express

According to Vinod Mehta, the author of her biography Meena Kumari: The Classic Biography, the female actor had various dimensions to her personality. She was an actor, a poet, and someone with high aspirations. She often compared herself to Marilyn Monroe as she thought of herself as being unlucky & unloved. Her health started to deteriorate from the year 1968. She was diagnosed with cirrhosis due to her alcohol addiction. She died on March 31, 1972, at the young age of thirty-eight.

Everyone loves their life during the peak, a time when money inflow is at the highest, a time when success seems like just another thing, and a time when nothing seems to go against us. This peak makes everyone ignore the warning signs that lead to their downfall.

Lessons To Learn

The examples quoted above were to explain what the article is about. Even though they are related to famous personalities, there are lessons for everyone to learn from their downfall. These lessons are:

1. Plan Live your life as it comes, but plan your life as it might come. Think about your future and invest your money after consulting a qualified person. Put some reasonable amount of money in insurance to secure yourself and your family. Since you cannot work all your life, set clear expectations on your retired life and keep a lot of finance aside for your retired life. While planning your future, do keep an eye on new opportunities that may come your way. Play safe and explore every possible way to keep your life financially healthy. 2. Track spending The basic lesson taught to all of us was that we should save before spending. It holds a lot of importance once you start earning, especially if you belong to the category that earns lakhs of rupees every month. Buying a house, a car, or hiring servants seem to be the most comfortable options but it is recommended to check if you have saved enough money for emergencies before spending most of it on such luxuries. Credit cards and discount coupons present an offer that is too good to be true. They motivate a customer to spend more than necessary. Loans are taken from different banks to raise the lifestyle without realizing that loans, if not kept in control, can become a time bomb. 3. Compete Your attitude matters a lot. It can either make you or break you. Face every competition with a healthy attitude. Do not get embarrassed by your failures and do not blame anyone, including yourself, for it. Failure is a part of life and a phase that occurs before success. Use the time that you have to analyze your weaknesses & mistakes and look to explore more opportunities. No matter where you go, you will always be challenged by existing or new players in the job or entrepreneurial market. The quote, 'Do what you love and love what you do' has been rightly said. Enjoy the process and do not put yourself down during competition. 4. Avoid comparisons Getting influenced by someone's lifestyle or luxurious possessions takes the person closer to his/her downfall. It is important to understand that every person is different. Everyone has their priorities, planning, and background in life. Comparisons distract a person and push them to make impulsive decisions. These decisions prove costly in the future. Be the best of yourself and live life in a way that you can afford. 5. Measure consumption This deals with household essentials making sure that there is zero wastage. Every piece of rice when combined makes a bag heavy. Similarly, every small wastage of an essential item - fruits, vegetables, salt, etc - eventually makes up for a lot. This indirectly affects your finances and directly affects your lifestyle. The only way to solve this issue is to keep track of consumption and making sure that the wastage of essential items is zero.

Additionally, it is important to remember that your health is the ultimate wealth. Take care of your body and mind.


Every phase in life is temporary. The lowest phase of life, however, can be handled with care if we learn lessons from the mistakes of others.

That is all for this topic. If you have anything to contribute then kindly share it in the comment section. I would love to hear from you.



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