Chennaiite stresses that hard work brought him success

By A Harsha Vardhan Published on Jul 26, 2018 05:15 PM IST

Chennai: In June 1971, a young man, eldest among seven siblings in his family, landed in Chennai from a small village in Tiruchendur with just Rs 50 in hand.

His B.Sc Maths degree and a trip to the then dreamland for unemployed youth - Bombay - failed to secure him a job. Yet, the undeterred 21-year-old started selling vegetables on the platform to earn a living.

Fast forwarding to 2018, he is now the owner of a school and a famous hardware store in the locality, bearing his name. Today, there is no one in Anna Nagar in the city who wouldn’t have heard the name Amudha Balakrishnan.

Speaking to ‘News Today’, the inspirational speaker and author of 22 books, shared his growth story which can teach a lesson or two about hard work.

“I was selling vegetables on the streets of Bombay as I searched for work. After a few months, I decided to return to Chennai and joined as an employee at a popular ‘katta thotti’ - SK Rajapandiyan and Sons - near Pachaiyappa’s College, for Rs 50 monthly salary. I learned the A to Z of business there.”

Amudha Balakrishnan says that it was his hard work and willingness to learn that separated him from everyone else. He said,”I’ve never shied away from work, even menial ones. I used to be the first to arrive, sweep the floors and lift gunny bags even if it was not my job to do so. Other people’s laziness was making me more efficient.”

He worked in the shop for three years, saving a part of his salary every month, and started Amudha Hardwares in 1974. His meteoric rise from a hardware shop owner to founding his own school wouldn’t have been possible without his wife Rajeshwari’s help, he says.

“She was my pillar of strength. She came from a well-to-do family, yet, put up with me and helped me save money in every way possible to build my business. I worked 18 hours a day and often used to boil rice only once a day in the night and eat it with Re 1 pickle packet. After business started picking up, the number of assistants I hired reached seven in number and she used to cook for all of them to cut costs,” he recalls.

While Amudha slowly built his business, his passion towards learning and Kamarajar’s influence made him start a school in Mugappair by the name Amudha Matric Higher Secondary School. He says, “I have a policy of not taking any kind of donations. Through the school, I am fulfilling my dream of helping willing learners.”

Amudha’s passion for education did not stop with just starting a school. After this millennium started, he has earned triple MA degrees, an MBA degree and also a Ph.D. Out of all his degrees, he says that he found MBA the easiest.

“I already knew what was mentioned in the textbooks. I had been practically applying these management principles in my business all these years. I just had to learn the technical terms by which they were called,” he laughs.

On the message he wants to give youngsters, Amudha, quotes Gandhi, ‘My life is my message’, and adds, “Observe established people and see what you can learn from them. Don’t be afraid to work hard.”