When ace donor to TRF, Ravishankar Dakoju, now a member of RC Bangalore, committed to donate ₹100 crore to TRF, he had also announced soon thereafter that he would auction his Mercedez Benz car, then barely a year old, and donate the amount to the Foundation. Neither he nor his wife Paola was using the car, which had done a mileage of less than 3,000km.
“But then the Covid pandemic hit us all, and I wasn’t able to put the car through an auction, and the value of the car was also coming down,” he told Rotary News.
Asked why he was not using the car, Dakoju said, “After my donation to TRF, I had a better vision for and purpose in life, and I found all such luxuries to be actually a nuisance. I found that to use the Benz, I’d have to take a watchman along with me, as many a time people try to pull out the Benz emblem, or scratch it, and security for the car was a huge issue. Nobody bothered about what vehicle I travelled in — any Uber car, auto or Maruti 800 — only recognising me for the kind of work I had done. And it was only giving 5 to 6km a litre.”
To my surprised look, he responds, “Yes, I am a kanjoos, I buy most things second hand. I also found that my wife wasn’t using it either. Once she asked me angrily: ‘why aren’t you using the car; what’s the point in just keeping it like that. So I felt I was blocking a part of my wealth, which could be put to better use.”
Once he had taken the decision, the rest should have been easy, but for the pandemic. As the value of the unused car was falling, Dakoju sought the help of PRID Panduranga Setty, a member and mentor of RC Bangalore, and “he helped me auction the car.”
The car fetched a price of ₹42 lakh; the philanthropist characteristically added an additional ₹8 lakh, and has donated the amount of ₹50 lakh to TRF. “I have given this money on the condition that the Foundation should use it only for environment, our latest area of focus,” he added.