1. Tell us about your early life, where and how you grew up.

I was born and raised in Mulugathur, a small town near Ramanathapuram, approximately 100 kilometers east of Madurai, in the Rameshwaram region. Both my parents were teachers, and we were relatively well-off. My schooling began in Mulugathur, where I excelled academically, often standing out as the top student in my class. The teaching background of my parents ensured that I received focused attention on my studies.

Throughout my childhood and until the completion of my 10th grade, I lived in the rural setting of Ullathoor. With aspirations to attend a prestigious engineering college, I moved to Alathoor, which was 56 kilometers away from my hometown. I attended SP Higher Secondary School there, renowned for its academic excellence. This is evidenced by the fact that out of 46 students, about 38 pursued engineering studies, highlighting the school’s high educational standards. These experiences shaped my early life and academic journey.

2. How did lifeĀ  in Karunya shape you?

My journey at Karunya Institute was transformative, with unexpected beginnings. Initially, I was studying BSc in Mathematics at Senthil Kumar Nadar College in Virudhunagar. Then, one morning, my mother brought the surprising news that I had been admitted to Karunya Institute. I was overjoyed, as I had set my sights on Karunya and applied solely there, even hoping for admission through the DOTE quota. The institute’s reputation had drawn me to it, and finally being accepted was a dream come true.

However, the transition was not smooth. I struggled initially due to the language barrier, as I came from a Tamil-medium background and Karunya was English-medium. I even wrote to my mother about leaving. But, with the support and encouragement of my friends, who reassured me that language was not a barrier to learning, I persevered. This challenge turned into an opportunity for growth, both personally and professionally, in ways I might not have experienced elsewhere.

At Karunya, I not only adapted but thrived, becoming an outstanding student and earning the title of house captain. I also held a significant role on the board of directors of civil engineers. These achievements, along with the exceptional education and experiences I received, are treasures I attribute to my time at Karunya.

This period of my life also fostered a boldness in me, preparing me to face any challenge. The prestige of the institute was evident, as we were often invited to events like those at IIT Madras and received high regard wherever we went. The excellent professors and management at Karunya contributed greatly to my personal and professional development. Reflecting on my time there, which constituted about 25% of my life, I can confidently say it was remarkable and a pivotal blessing in shaping who I am today.

3. Why did you choose to become an entrepreneur, and what difficulties have you faced in your entrepreneurial journey?

I graduated from Karunya College with first-class honors, and despite having opportunities for employment, I was driven to become an entrepreneur. My entrepreneurial journey began in 1995 when I established a construction company, drawing courage and inspiration from my experiences and the support network at Karunya, including friends and family.

My venture into the construction industry lasted until 2003. Building on the success of my first business, I ventured into the hospitality industry, setting up “Green Rock Resorts” in Ooty and Kodaikanal. My entrepreneurial spirit didn’t stop there; I expanded into various sectors, including tea and power, fueled by the lessons and experiences gained during my time at Karunya. Without these experiences, I might have remained a small contractor in my hometown. Karunya played a pivotal role in shaping my journey as a young entrepreneur.

However, the journey wasn’t without its challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic hit the hotel industry hard, causing significant setbacks and leading to the closure of many businesses, including some of mine. Despite these difficult times, the resilience and lessons learned at Karunya helped me persevere.

Today, I continue with the construction industry, which has bounced back and is thriving again. My children have also pursued successful careers; one is a doctor and the other an architect. I attribute much of my success and ability to withstand challenges to the foundation laid by Karunya.

Looking ahead, I am excited about a new venture – a 100-acre township project. I am confident in this endeavor and optimistic about the future, believing that my company will reach new heights in the coming years. My journey is a testament to the transformative impact of Karunya, which I proudly regard as the best influence in my life, despite the closure of some of my businesses.

4. What advice do you have for those who want to become entrepreneurs?

The essence of my entrepreneurial journey can be summed up by a profound saying: “The one well-versed in a job never fails, and neither does one who thoroughly explores it.” Entering college with aspirations to become a professional engineer, I was driven by the belief that no one fails in civil engineering if they truly delve into it. My confidence in this field was unshakeable, and I only experienced setbacks in areas where I lacked familiarity.

Initially, had I continued solely in the civil engineering sector, I believe my company could have reached a turnover of 1000 crores in Madras. However, when I diverted my focus to other areas, challenges arose. This experience led me to an important realization that I want to share with future entrepreneurs: Concentrating on one specific area is key to success. This principle is echoed even by film actors, who often speak about the importance of focus in determining one’s destiny.

Though I learned the value of focused endeavors later in my career, it has now become a guiding principle. My current goal is a civil engineering project with the target of a turnover of 500 crores, and I am confident in its success. This renewed focus has also fostered tremendous personal growth, much of which I attribute to my experiences at Karunya.

My message to future generations is clear: Do not fear challenges. Concentrate on one area, persist until you achieve success, and only then consider diversifying. Success often comes from a singular focus. Throughout my ventures, while I have achieved success, I have also faced setbacks, often due to misaligned associations. These experiences underscore the importance of persistence in your area of interest. History rarely speaks of those who fail due to persistence in a single business area. This lesson is born from my own journey, emphasizing that focused determination is the key to triumph.


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