Success Story: One Meeting Changed Life, Rickshaw Pullers Hand, Became Gemstone Connoisseurs

Last Modified Tuesday, 16 June 2020 (17:30 IST)
-Who says that there cannot be a hole in the sky, hurl a stone enthusiastically, friends

Written By Dr. Ramesh Kumar Rawat
Someone great said that to create a hole in the sky, a stone should be hurled with enthusiasm a
resident of Jaipur Mr. Khandelwal has demonstrated this. It is about those days when
Ashok Khandelwal was known by his childhood name Ramratan. Right from his childhood, He
was filled with promising and learning passionately.

When he passed the eighth, he learned the task of improving radios from Nathulal Sharma, a resident of Chomu. But the money was tight and Due to the desire to do something in life, he came to Jaipur alone in the search for his destination to live a better life. In a special discussion with Dr.Ramesh Kumar Rawat, Ashok Khandelwal has talked about his achieved success by facing various challenges. Washed dishes and drove a rickshaw: In Jaipur, you did every little work with care. First washed used utensils in a dhabha, ran a rickshaw, and became a tour guide. From the age of 14 to the age of 18, you were away from home.

During this, the period you Washed cup-plates, worked as a waiter At the same time, you met a rickshaw driver, Gopi who inspired you to be boss of own by riding a rickshaw and then you started driving your rickshaw. after a year you met Azad, who used to entertain foreigners and learn a lot more money. Even you wanted to do the same but the problem was that he knew how to speak in English and you didn';t, which made you think that Azad completed his school due to which he can talk in the foreign language but after confirming with Azad you realized that you don';t need to go to school to learn English, you bought an English speaking book and learned from it and then started interacting with them and became their favorite tour in Jaipur.
 
Meeting with foreign tourists turned into a friendship: In this way, you met Rodolfo a professor of England. He gave you good money for your hard work and took a picture of you for memories, he also took your address which was written in Hindi by you. Later a slip written in Hindi of the same address you wrote and the picture he took was posted at your address by
him which made you feel special and you are still in contact with him. After this, you met Alain Claudie, the second person from France. He stayed in Jaipur for seven days and you became there personal favorite tour guide, as you were away from home he made you stay with him for those seven days which made you feel special. The friendship that happened at that time is still intact today. On their visit to India, they made an album on you too.

After this, you met an Israeli group leader named Naama. This is also an interesting story. She
came to Jaipur with a group of visitors and she was heading them all. It was a Sunday evening.
She was sad and tense when I asked her she denied expressing as she thought how could a
 
rickshaw driver help her, but when you asked her for a chance and told her that you should pay
my rent only when your work is done. You help her and she was so impressed with you that all
the groups that came with her to Jaipur, she would introduce you to them. After this, the sources of your income also started increasing.
 
Gemologist Thomas made you stone lover: You wanted to start your own business. At that
time Israeli people used to buy a lot of cloth from Jaipur. So you thought to trade. With this, you
started working on a commission-based with Babula Dosi. after some time you Made up your
mind to open the shop too. At the same time, you met a gemologist, Thomas who was a tourist
from Austria-Vienna. You shared your idea of opening your clothing shop, he said " A guy like you from Jaipur city is born for being part of Gem World .", as you didn't know anything about it, you requested him to guide you and then the JOURNEY TO THIS GEM WORLD begun.
 
Thomas told you that no one comes educated by birth, you learn in this world only.The journey from counter to a small showroom: In Gem Line, you started a counter byputting it in a small shop. Thomas was your First customer. He gave you business for many years.and you started to export from him. Thus the customer chain went on. You started doing business with your family back from a room in Chandpol.
 
From there, your business started moving forward. You lived here by rent. During the 1990s
there was a curfew in Jaipur at that time you met an Israeli person who gave you money to
pursue silver work. On your visit to one of the silver manufacturing units, you didn't agree with the process of making so you picked Raman Mondal and worked Together to create a process where the customer explained the jewelry designed to the smith which minimized many problems, and that how your business grew exponentially.
 
There is complete faith in religion: Ashok tells that his father late Nathulal Ji Rawat always
had complete faith in religion. He served cows a lot and helped in setting up a cowshed and
managing fodder. With the blessings of all the saints with due to all respect of my late father. I
have been able to succeed today. My wife Manju Khandelwal, my daughters Gitiksha, Vidushi,
and my son Raghav has always been supportive and thankful.
 
THOUGHTS OF FOREIGNER'S ABOUT ASHOK
 
Rodolfo-England: My wife, Rosa, and I met Ashok in 1985. We were touring India on our own,
using internal flights between the various towns, and going to restaurants and hotels
recommended in the Lonely Planet book on India. We were in Jaipur only two full days,
traveling from/to Delhi. We stayed at the hotel at Bissau Palace. On the first morning, after
breakfast, we started our town visit on foot, to go and visit the Museum. It had been raining
during the night and many roads were still full of mud and water. After a while, we decided to
get a rickshaw, and that was when we saw Ashok. He and his rickshaw seemed nice and clean;he seemed to us a boy of around 14. We agreed on the price and went to the museum. As hespoke English, we talked pleasantly along the way. On arrival I paid, but he offered to wait andcontinue with us. I said that this was not necessary, as we were probably going to stay there for a long time, but if on exit he was still there we would be glad to do so. When we got out he was there, so we continued with him for the rest of the day, the day after, and then from the hotel to the airport. We talked a lot, liked him very much, and took several photos and an address for sending them. On our return home, we sent a letter of thanks and a copy of the photos. At the end of that year, it was a nice surprise to receive a best wishes card from him. We replied, and included a £5 note. This exchange of cards and news continued every year, and Ashok gave us better and better news of his progress and success, until telling us he had a jewelry shop. We were very happy indeed to hear he was doing so well!
 
In 2001 I went on an Explore tour to Northern India and Ladakh that had a stop-over in Jaipur.
Therefore, I took with me a 1985 photo of us and Ashok. The first morning in Jaipur I left early
the group, with the photo and my map of Jaipur. It was easy to find jewelry. When I got there,
Ashok recognized me even before I could show the photo.

He embraced me and we were both immensely happy. We talked, exchanged telephone numbers, and agreed to have another short meeting the morning after, before rejoining my tourist group. When I saw him the next morning, to my amazement he had rung my wife in England, telling her of my visit and asking about stones she liked! So he was ready with a gift to take back to her! It was a really happy experience, and from there on we kept in regular touch by telephone, and later by email. Ashok kept asking us all the time to go back to Jaipur and see him and his hidden family. In 2004 Rosa and I organized a tour on our own of India and Rajasthan, hiring a car and driver from an agent in Delhi. I told Ashok when we would be in Jaipur. This time he came in his car to fetch us at our hotel and took us to his home. We met his wife, children, parents, and relations.

We had two wonderful, happy days with all of them! There were so many memories to
exchange! So many good news of the past, and promising ideas for the future! We loved all his
family! The two children were beautiful and extremely intelligent (like their father!)
Throughout those years the news of the wonderful success of Ashok made us very happy since
we were very fond of him. However, in addition to that, we admired his extraordinary qualities.
My love and interest in the art, architecture, literature, history, and religions of India were known
to all my friends, colleagues, and university students. Therefore, India was a frequent subject of
conversation with them. I always mentioned Ashok and his successes as a model and a symbol of the strengths and potential of India. What he had done, and was doing, indicated the possibility of great rapid progress, it showed that that country could transform itself more quickly and fully than expected. In my view, Ashok was a symbol of the new India, taking shape as we looked and studied her.
Alain& Claudie, France: A beautiful couple, Alain & Claudie, from France, tells me that for the first time on September 16, 1985, they met Ashok at MI Road in Jaipur. At that time Ashok used to ride a rickshaw. When they came from Delhi, they met Ashok who lived with his friend Gopi in a very small house. He had a hand injury at that time, so Claudia uses to applied
medicine daily on his hand. They lived in Jaipur for the first time for those seven days, every day they use to meet Ashok at breakfast. When they went to his house with Ashok, the crowd
gathered to see him. They have been visiting Jaipur several times from 1985 to 2016. And, in
2012, we created our micro-enterprise Ashok Creation and bought jewelry from Ashoka Gems to sell in Saheli and local markets. It was scheduled to arrive this year also but canceled due to
Covid19.

Claudia says " Ashok is more than a brother to me and Ashok's family is the same as my family. Ashok is a very good and sincere person. Can't say in words My son also came to Jaipur and learned the work of Gem from Ashok." Ashok came twice in France at the International Exhibition of Jewellery and Mineral the 2 last years, The opportunity to meet
customers. Ashok is this kind of person when you meet him, you will never forget. Thanks to
him, and I am so happy to cross him 1 day in the fabulous city of Jaipur
 
Naama Israel: Resident of Israel, says, I met Ashok in Jaipur in 1986. I stopped a tuk-tuk.
Ashok was sitting next to the driver. I got in and he immediately turned to me with the biggest,
most beautiful smile, waved some card, and said: today I got my license for a motor rickshaw!
His smile was so endearing I knew we';ll be friends.
 
The next time we met he was driving his rickshaw. I was working for an Israeli travel company
and needed transportation around Jaipur for a small group of backpackers. Ashok had many
friends amongst the other rickshaw drivers, everybody loved him. So he arranged a few
rickshaws and took the group to wonderful tours around the city. He did a great job so I
recommended him to all the tour guides. And so he helped with the tours every summer for quite a few years and became friends with many of the tour guides, so much that he was known at that time as Ashok Israeli.
 
I can';t remember what happened first. I stopped working for the travel company, or Ashok
opened the gem business and stopped driving the rickshaw. But eventually, we lost touch. Then Ashok suddenly called me in 2008! I couldn't believe it, and I was very happy. Our meeting in 2009 was very very exciting. I was amazed and pleased to see Ashok's success in the gem business. And equally amazed and happy to realize Ashok thinks I had a part in his success, by believing in him.
 
Bengt Ahlqvista, Swden: He expresses that they have been friends for more than 35years now, he tells that when he was let down by his business partner, he was there for him. He also tells that he this very happy today to see Ashok progress so much, he says that the reason why Ashok has been successful is that he always care for all the people involved in his business.. l
remembers we were talking about "the good business" where everybody gets a fair share of the profit. where everybody gets happy.. from the smallest worker to the biggest customer.. and Ashok has done that brilliantly.. his secret is a heart of gold.
 
Ayelet-Israel: I have seen Ashok's journey from a Rickshaw driver to a gem lover, I met him in a famous lassi wala shop in Jaipur where he explained about lassis flavor, he has the most beautiful and unique eyes. After finishing my tour in Nepal I came back to Jaipur and met Ashok again and this time we talked a lot, especially about the diversification and similarity in the culture of India and Israeli and always had a healthy conversation on Women';s Rights, Ideology.
 
After staying in Jaipur for some time, my parents visited me and I introduced them to Ashok.
They loved him! I remember my father gave his first camera to Ashok as a gift and Ashok
immediately went and buy him a present as a farewell goodbye.In my second visit to India after a long time, I saw Ashok started his business with stones, he explained to me a little bit about it. I noticed that he is the most honest and authentic person that I ever met in my life, I thought he is very special, I told him that, & with hard-work, honesty, and good service he will reach all of his goals.& 1992 I came again to Jaipur and this time I met his parents, they were very nice to me and they explained to me their culture. Soon after that I met my husband and started my family, due to which we somehow lost connection as there was no internet and we couldn';t write letters due to family and responsibilities. I always thought about what must be going on in his life.

And one day my friend wrote me a mail telling that she went a went to Jaipur and met a very nice guy, who helped her with the groups and in the last day she saw my picture with him and asked him "how do you know her & quot;, he said "she is a very good friend of mine from Israel. She called me back and told me to contact him and now from then, we have been in touch. About a year ago I visited India again and I could see my thoughts coming through, how he never left his principles, his values. He has a very beautiful family now, I could only meet his son but he told me about his daughters, His wife is soo nice and we had a
very good time. I wish him all the luck.
Stella- Argentina: I first came to the city of Jaipur in late 2006. I had already heard about the
great potential of raw materials that I could get in this city of Jaipur, it was a great temptation to
go there. Jaipur is the largest city in the world in the variety and quality of precious and semi-
precious stones, also the greatest artists in jewelry designs. Someone, in Ibiza, before leaving for

India that same year, had given me a card from someone he advised me to visit and meet in
person, suggesting that he was a special being, a lover and a great connoisseur of gemstones, this person was Ashok Khandelwal. When Ashok first saw my work, he was amazed and shocked, although he also criticized me for using very low-value materials (bamboo, stones, woods, seeds, bone, and many other noble materials from South America).
 
Ashoka Gems office, for me, it is like being in an advanced learning school, a place where
learning became my greatest passion, both ways, in the environment of stones and inhuman
treatment, where I met hundreds of wonderful people and masters from all the most diverse
nationalities, religions, and cultures. I gained great friends and I knew a place in the world where love bonds are cultivated wherever you go. With respect and deep love to Ashok Khandelwal.
 
Thomas, (Ashok';s GURU!): I met Ashok in 1984 when I was working as a buyer for an
Austrian import company. He was smart, headstrong, and determined to find his luck in Pink
City. A year later I decided to venture into the gem trade. My doings probably inspired Ashok to
do the same. Ever since he has this foolish notion of me being his guru. The fact is that Ashok
has accomplished everything by himself without my help or counseling. I can only congratulate
him to have succeeded in this very difficult business.
 
Toni - Belgium: Ashok is for me the personification of intense friendship, goodness for any
other Human Being. The respect he shows for norms and principles is overwhelming and how he applies those principles in normal life is so sincere. I know him for 20 years and the way he is looking to live, to people, to business,…is so refreshing, intelligent and open-minded. He always.
 
surprises me in his very deep feeling about philosophy and religion. My Family and I Regret it
very much we can not meet him in Europe this year, due to Corona. I am thankful to know him
and with him his beautiful family and the rich Indian Culture.
 
Dany- Spain: I met Ashok first, in the winter of 1987 or 1988: I had come back to India after
having been there in 1982 for half a year, and I thought I knew everything about India, the
people, and the culture.
 
I had come to Jaipur to buy cloth and jewelry to sell back in Spain, and I wasn';t very
experienced. I do not remember exactly the day that we met, but Ashok was hanging around the
 
Chameliwallah market, in his Rikshaw, and he was so much more friendly and respectful than
the other Rikshaw drivers, we soon started talking..and from there a beautiful and long-lasting
friendship started.
 
Ashok is one of my most faithful friends, I know I can count on him, wherever I am and in
whatever situation. Of course, he was also a great teacher for the stone business, which he had just started on a very small scale when we met. He had some stones that he was selling mainly for other people, but he already then had started to develop this amazing love and interest for gems, and knew so much and was happy to share his knowledge.
 
I could, of course, write a whole book about Ashok, about our friendship over the years, but I am not going to do this here, maybe on a different occasion. I am very impressed by the way Ashok handled his life, its amazing to see him now, a well off and respected businessman, from a bicycle rickshaw wallah, to a motor rickshaw wallah,.... and now, the owner of Ashoka Gems,
with many people employed by him, with a big house, with a beautiful wife and children, with a
car and trips abroad... The Indian dream come true. And no-one deserves it more than Ashok.
Frank, Berlin, Germany: On my first trip to India in 1993, I was very fortunate to meet Ashok
in Jaipur. I had traveled for nearly 4 months through India and came to the pink city only near
the end of my trip. Luckily I had met Alan, a crazy old Englishman in Goa, at the beginning,
who gave me a chit of paper with an address on it. He said 'Whenever you come to Jaipur go tothis man. He will be very honest and help you to set up some jewelry business.' I had nearly
 
forgotten about it and some not so honest dealers had taken advantage of me, but then I
remembered the words of old Alan and found my way into the small alleyways of Chandpole to
Ashok';s famous small office. I was immediately greeted as a friend and I knew I finally found
somebody, whom I can trust. I also witnessed, how his gemstone business grew more and more and as Ashok used to say &;I don';t need to travel because the world meets here inside my office;.
 
But after many years Ashok was ready and he started to travel abroad and we met in London,
Sweden, and France and already twice he visited me in Berlin. I am very grateful to be his friend.
 
Pamila-London: I first met Ashok around 2011. My auto driver Abu took me to Ashok';s place
as I was interested in buying jewelry. I have a textile and clothes business but I don't sell jewelry so it was for my personal use. As soon as I entered the room I knew that I was in for a treat. All those drawers and drawers were full of the most beautiful gems. And of course, there was Ashok.

Ashok is a very generous and good-hearted man who gives himself whilst being the most
knowledgable. He has a special place in my heart. How many people would do that –. I know
that he has been through bad times - one of the worst must have been when his friend and partner died. His life has not been easy but he is resilient.
 
Esteben-Colambia: Hello, this is our story with Ashok.... we meet first Ashok in 2003 on our
first trip to India, we found him very nice, very human, 10 years later we found again 2013 and
since there we are working together showing Ashoka Gems to the world. In 2015 we have to
identify together Trapiche Rubi (Chakra Rubi) unique stone in the world because of its
characteristics.
 
Ratna – France: I was 18 when I met Ashok, I was on the path of my Indian roots. In India for
a few months, it was not planned for me to go to Jaipur. But I needed to move from where I
was!
 
A good friend gave me a letter to post, but this letter I never posted it, I went directly to Jaipur
and try to find the address and this person, was ASHOK. He was surprised to see that an 18 -
years old small Indian girl with her yellow decathlon rucksack was doing 1000 kilometers to
give a letter.
 
I started to feel that I was Indian! Because of him, but also thanks to all the HIS family! (mum,
dad, wife, nephew, uncle, aunt. (kaka, kaki)...and his children ) Of course, we are what we are
thanks to our education and our genetic heritage, but some people and events can potentially help and guide you!
 
Now I am going every year in India and staying with Khandelwal's family and I am so happywhen a 10 years old little girl from Ashok's family says: but antie, your surname is Khandelwal? Isn't it ?! (Ambe Deepak's daughter). « I am proud to be Indian and to belong to The Khandelwalclan! I finally found my Indian family! »
Read more on : Guide Ashok Success Story