Memories of Madras….
While leaving Marinas of Madas,I quote here,my Guru,
Swami Paramarthananda’s famous words:-
There are Two types of people in this world…
One Type,they give Happiness..WHEREVER THEY GO!
The Second one ,is like me. .WHENEVER THEY GO!
I am leaving many pleasant memories and Friendly Fights with many rlatives&Friends…
A few Down the memory lane of Madras…
I..Madras of mine in the 70s…
I joined Mafatlals after my MBA at Calcutta in 1973 and got married in the same Year to my long time Love Saraswathi..Luck wd have it within a Year of my failure in Mafatlals,one great Industrialist of Tamil Nadu,Pollachi Mahalingam,invited me for a Breakfast at Taj Bombay and asked whether I can come&serve him as GM for his Textile Units..I was a bit confused beyond words as my many failures, till that time cdn’t have been noticed by him, and surely Facebooks wre not Yet Invented by then..I stood up and thanked him immensely and was about to jump fom the Taj 20th Floor, when the door man said that the Lift is on that side of the corridor!
Me,my wife,my mom &my two unmarried sisters, packed our Mulund flat to Madras,without even an APPOINTMENT Ltr on my hand..After landing in Oct 1974,I went to see Mr.Mahalingam exactly on Oct 2nd ,Gandhi Jayanthi Day,when he was about to go to a function as he was a great Gandhian..He remembered his offer and despite the intrusion,called his SecretarySahadevan..,dictated a nice Letter of appointmnt and handed over the same and while getting into his Benz,he told his Sec.. “Pls reimburse his xpenses for Transfer and also hand over thatAmbassador with driver..!”
When I came back home with an Ambassador car and driver to my Kilpauk Home,my wife refused to believe it..as she knew my real worth by that time!
Mahalingam,acc to me is one of the greatest Gandhians I have come across..He always used to read Spiritual Books,play Chess (He was the first one to spend his personal money to encourage ManuelAaaron and others..the First Indian to ncourage Chess in a Bigway!)and he used to take me whenever he visited cos like Madras Fertilizers where he was the Chairman..
One fine morning he asked me to take charge of Sakthi Textiles at Pollachi which was closed for 2 Yrs with 1500 workers jobless,money less on 7-7-77!God was with me when I revived that unit about which I have written a blog too…
I decided to grab an opportunity in 80s to go to Nigeria with Mahalingam’s Blessings….
II..Scond Innings of Madras..
I returned in 1986 and sent my wife earlier on NRI Transfer of Residence and imported a Toyota Carolla too..one of the few Madrasis at that time with so much Import Restrictions driving a Toyota Carolla..I helped, on the request of a relative of mine,his close friend to establish a Leather Garment Factory in Ambattur with a German Buyer.Helpd them to establish using my close friend&Classmate, Farooq’s connections in Dubai to have a Fac in Dubai too(I have written a blog about Farooq too in Sulekha too..He is no more but he is one of my closest friends who used to always hang my father’s picture in his 12th Story apartment in Dubai,as a mark of respect for his Aasaan..He used to tell every one ,introducing me, ‘but for his father,my life wd have been a Zero’..He used to regularly send me&my family, First Class Air Tickets to be with him in Singapore in Strand street apt for the New Years!)
That Leather Garment Fac is said to be making Rs 600 cr today..but still they havent paid me even my Toyota Carolla’s Petrol Bills!
Such is life!!
I joined TTks Tantex Division as CEO and made it a No 1 name in the South..Today’s Hari Stores in Luz corner was my creation who used to sell only Tantex Seconds..Many Dyers in Tirupur still fondly remember me..
Narasimhan(Eldest son of TTK)Chairman of TTKs&Padma Narasimham often used to visit my house in Adyar,for dinner by telling me.. “I am coming for dinner..You know what I like(Black Label,a Piano recital by my elder daughte and patience to listen to his Kapi Raga Aalapana after Dinner!)”When TTKs Condoms division wanted to start a 100% EOU factory,and almost bought a place in Pondicherry,I barged into Narasimhan’s room and openly argued..
“Sir,ITPT,Virudhunaagr unit was the first one started by you..We have 11 acres of land..ITPT can sell this to London Rubber co., andby this move, you will also help your most loyal employees..Why do you want to take it to Pondicherry?”(I was the CEO of ITPT to and used to visit once a week!.
In one second he said..
“Suri..You are right..I owe something to ITPT&its employees..London Rubber Co., is only at Virudhunagar..Don’t worry!”
I have pictures of the Foundation cermony at Virudhunagar with T.T.Jagannathan and today Virudhunagar’s&India’s most treasured Condoms Export Co., is this Airconditioned LRC!I shd thank a great man Narasimhan for the same!
Tantex brand name was so famous at that time,Triumph of Germany came all the way to have a tie up with us..Their President Guntherr Spieschoffer&Mktng Director,Holm Breshneider,came all the way to meet us and they put only Two Conditions..:
“We will invst 100%.. of the money required for the projct.We will buy back all the goods produced..You only need to lend your Indian infra and mgmnt support,as we want to be in India at any cost!”
This was Sweet Laduu in a Golden Plate studded with Diamonds..
I have the picture in our TTK spectrum Magazine(run by now famous Historian Muthiah)me&Holm signing the agreement..TTks messed it up in such a way that it was a non starter..I got fed up&quit for a lucrative post to Hongkong,leaving my family in Madras..
Cannot forget Madras during this period which was so lucky to me that both my daughters did so well in School Examns,Piano Examns,passing all French &German programmes,they both got Full Scholaship to do their UG Studies in Princeton by elder one and Harvard by the Younger one..I keep repeating this as an Idiot as I can’t imagine how this cd happen to a STUPEDEST human being on earth!
For that I shd thank you Madras!
I hav a close friend who knows my Leather Garment Fac fiasco and was after me to help him start a Chemicals Fac..In this case all hard work,Project work,financing eveything was his,but he used to always keep me by his side..At that time King Fisher Beer was banned in Madras..He wd suddenly appear in his huge car and ask me to come with him to Bangalore just to have a KF beer in Taj Residency &return in the evening..!I was with him and helped him for his Factory’s inauguration by inviting R.Venkatraman,Ex President,who was my father’s clasmate..He used to always tell me..
“Suri..Tell me why shdn’t I become a Mini Ambani..”
He was so smart that (Fac was inaugurated in 1993)in 5 years his turnover touched Rs500 cr..He was flying very high&obviously he had more wealthier friends and I started my own fac sooner…Socks Factory..called Florentia Fashions Ltd,because I imported thee computer controlled Mcs for the First Time In India from Florence..
I had a very good German buyer who used to open a Lc for the entire 6 months’ production..so many people wanted to participate in this venture..
I,being a Technocrat found over a period that I was a minority shaeholder & cunning friends joined together to give me raw deals..
So I left in agony and started this venture called Capricare.
Some of my Clients preferred to be come with me..some of the Socks Factoris to whom I have given the knowhow,supported me with whateve I asked for..
God has been very very kind to me..except that ..
One close friend whose worth is Rs 100 crore today in Real estate,cheated me,by taking a loan with a Promissory note..The loan was taken by his father..Tha man is nearing 100..worth Rs100 cr..
He wants to die with a case on his Coffin..my case!He is not attending the case for the fear of losing the same..so dragging it on&on!
Madras has taught me many lessons like this..
My own sisters whom I helped to buy lands&flats with my hard earned earnings,became indifferent when the money value&land value appreciated!Valueless Idiots!
That’s why I started going for Upanishads&Bagavd Gita Classes under Swami Paramarthananda,whom I Visualise as Paramacharya Himslf!
While bidding Bye to Madras,I want to thank Mr.Sinivasan,Secretary of Hindu Mission Hospital,who was so kind to me years back when I met him with a few lacs to build a block in memory of my father..He immediately obliged giving that OP ward for the poor at the entrance and a few years later,a block next to my father for my mother too..I cs have bought 4 gounds in Neelankarai at that time for the same amount,instead!
I met him Yesterday(he is 80!)and his selfless service needs to be recognised with a Padmashri atleast..!
When yo have Faith in God..He will always listen to you&guide you..
So Bye Bye Madras!Have Faith in HIM!