Meeting the Author who changed my life 12 years ago!!

It was the Night of 15 May 2002, when I was feeling Dejected and Broken due to my Failure in completing my Graduation. It was then to get Some Sleep, I Picked up the latest copy of Business Today lying in my room and stumbled on an Article “The School of Hard Knocks”

Reading that Article I found a new Zest of Energy in me and immediately wrote to the Author Thanking him for the Priceless words he wrote which made me realise that Failure is Nothing and based on those Learnings I marched forward and was able to grab a Big Achievement within 45 Days.

Today, after 12 Years, I was Lucky Enough to Thank The Author in person. Mr Mahesh Murthy

Link to the Article.


Read More

“Na Kar Bura, Na Ho Bura”—-Yash Chopra

I do watch movies but have a very limited relationship with them, not as much as many of my friends do.

The only offline relation I had with Movies was of escorting some Movie Stars to my official Events in Appu Ghar, Swiss Military and Gitanjali Lifestyle.

But there’s one relation that I am being reminded today.

It was 2 years back(2010)…..In order to utilize a vacant shop of ours, we had taken up a “Bisleri Mineral Water Distributorship” for our area of West Delhi

It meant supplying different sized Bisleri Bottles to Stockists, Retailers, End Consumers, Hotels, Caterers and anybody who came asking for.

After working on it for 2 months and laying down the systems, I handed it in Auto Mode to my staff and continued with my regular work.

During that time, I heard that there’s some Movie Shooting happening in our Area and on Enquiring, I was told by my Rickshaw Wallah Bhaiya that “Shayad Ranbir Kapoor hai” aur “Rab ne Bana di jori wali larki”

Next day on the front page of Delhi Times, I could spot the details and realized that it’s “some” Ranvir Singh and not The Ranbir Kapoor as told. The Movie was tentatively named “Shaadi Mubarak”.

The Movie was later known as “Band Baaja Baraat” and was one of the Most Entertaining movies and was a Critical and Commercial Success.


Somewhat excited, I reached the location and saw the shooting in progress. The area which was actually Subhash Nagar was addressed as Janak Puri in the movie.

On reaching there, amongst the hustle bustle of the crew, Security, Spot Boys, Camera Men and Junior Artists, I noticed a truck parked on the back that was handing out Tea, Water, Tissue Papers, Juices, Biscuits to the members of the Unit.

I approached the person “Siya Ram Tiwari jee” and asked him about what’s happening.

He told me that this is a truck which goes with every shooting unit and stocks all the supplies like Juices, Biscuits, Water, Tea, Milk, Tissue Paper etc. that may be required by the crew. They had stocked it for 4 days from Mumbai and now it’s time to refill it in a day, specially the water.

On Sensing an opportunity, I jumped in and was introduced to the Executive Assistant and the Accountant who after knowing and verifying my credibility asked me to send 100 Cartons (1 Carton=12 Bottles) of 1 Litre Bisleri Bottles and 40 Jars of 25 Litres immediately.

To confirm they would not run away with my Money I approached the Accountant Dada,  Mr. Mukherjee. He advised that I need to ensure to get all Delivery Slips signed & then Payment will never be an issue.

They have a set rules to pay the on-site vendors on a weekly basis. All goods received in a week HAS to be cleared by Friday. This is a Rule made by Mr Yash Chopra himself and ensures that all his accountants (Each unit has a different Accountant) follow it to the T.

He told me that he has been earlier working with Actress Rakhi jee and then with some other producer before started working for Yash jee. He has been working with YRF for past 18 years, and not even once any vendor has to face any problems. :-)

With this trust, I made arrangements that my Office staff take special care in dispatching the goods on time &  the payments kept trickling on time.

We used to sell them water worth Rs. 10,000 (BIG) Daily and whenever there was a Big Shoot, (Like the first big shaadi wala scene, where Stage Rotary Motor does not work), then even more.

After a Few Days…..I was sitting with Dada, and he told me “Gurpreet, bore ho gaya hu, yeh khana khakar”, and I invited him to my house and served him jo bhi ghar par bana tha…..Bhindi, Daal and Roti. And then we started talking.

He told me that Yash jee is unlike many Producers/Directors in the trade. The Sense of Responsibility towards the Indian Film industry,  Humane Approach towards his employees and a commitment to serve Entertainment to his Fans was utmost for him.

He has a Mantra for Life

Na Kar Bura, Na Ho Bura

Guess that is also a reason that I can sense many Unknown people being teary Eyed today(The day he expired).

Though the shooting had shifted to Mehrauli (20 km away), They wanted my company “Gurbani Enterprises” to continue the service and were ready to pay us extra, as we had to travel a longer Distance to deliver. Thankfully, Bisleri too agreed as we had to sell beyond our territory, that too on special request by YashRaj Films for the same.

Another instance that reminds me of his greatness was when I met a Sikh Gentleman on the sets.  He hails from Ambala & undertakes Food Catering and also provides Vanity Vans and Generators for Movie Shoots across india.

He told me that I was a very small business man in Ambala and used to provide Generator for marriages and Functions in the area.

It was one of his Generators which was being used for  Yash Chopra directed  Movie “Veer Zara’s Shooting. In the melee, He overheard Yash Chopra complaining about lack of Vanity Vans and how his stars have to get ready under uncomfortable circumstances.

This is quite similar to how I got my first order @ the age of 18.
Read it on The Gift of Lessons, My Gifting Company Taught Me.

Hearing this, he approached Yash jee and asked what he does he require and committed him to provide the same for next schedule. Hearing this & to Encourage him Yash Chopra gave him cash advance.

Within a Month he had 3 Vanity Vans ready for the shoot and since that day he has been providing vanity vans for all Movie Shoots in India, along generators and doing food Catering for the crew.

From 2 generators in 2004, He now owns 10 vanity vans, 10 generators and 5 Food catering Containers.

He has created such a Big Catering Set-up that during one shooting sequence for Movie VEER in Jaipur, he provided food for 4000 artists at one given time.

Being inquisitive, I asked him, does he get his payment on time. He replied that I don’t submit Weekly or Monthly bills. I collect Money as per Movie and that too, after the Movie has been released.

After the Movie is released, he goes to meet him with the Bills in Envelope.  “However,  Yash Chopra is such a master, he would know the amount before I told him & he would immediately issue a cheque for an amount he thought fit. In most of the cases, cheque was slightlty more than the actual bill. And if the movie turns out to be a hit….The amount could be 30% more that the bill.

This is just Instance; I know there would be many countless ones which no one would ever know. My Grand father had a philiosphy

“Help some with your Right hand, in such a way that even your Left hand does not know about it”I’m sure Yash jee too adhered to the same.

Yash Chopra was a person who valued relationships. He Made Stars. He nurtured them. He gave a helping hand to everyone of the trade who could/would approach him.

Karan Johar’s Tweet, shows that how he was a fatherly Figure to those close to him.

Mahesh Murthy’s tweet explains why he was a success at 75 too, he said because “I’m Romantic Even now”

What really hurts us is that this Man, had to leave this world after making a Movie which was his last, but had to go before he could enjoy the fruits of his last Labour.

Yash jee, How Very Apt You worked “Jab tak hai Jaan”!!   No other Epitaph Required.

God, We need more of such Human beings down here….Hope you are listening!!

Read More

The Gift of Lessons, My Gifting Company Taught Me.

This is my Real Life Story and I wanted to share with everyone.  I learnt a few Lessons from my experience which I think would be beneficial for fellow Entrepreneurs. I am still using those learning’s today and have tried to not repeat those mistakes again


It’s been 16 years, When I joined National Institute of Sales (NIS, part of NIIT group). Even before my Senior Secondary Exams were over in 1996, I had applied and started my “Advance Diploma in Sales and Marketing.”


While crossing the room of my NIS Centre Head one day, I overheard her talking about the requirement of Some Sling Pens (Pens with a thread around it, to wear it around your neck, specially used by promoters) for an upcoming Event. She was sharing with a faculty her disappointment of not getting a vendor to procure them.


By that evening, I talked to some people and got to know a manufacturer and I went there and got some samples.

Next day, I presented them to Centre Head and told her that I can fulfill the requirement. Oh my, was she delighted!!! She asked for the price, in which I had already added my margin of 50% and she placed the order for 1000 Pens Immediately.


I had some savings and ordered for the pen and immediately and gave them a delivery of 1000 Pens in 5 days and pocketed a cool Rs. 5000. A big Amount back in 1996 and definitely my biggest earning (Not my First, as I had made some money by putting up, Pepsi and Dart Stalls at Diwali Melas earlier)


Enthused, I opened a company, Oriental Sales.


Lesson — There are people who are out there looking for your Product, and are as desperately looking for a Seller like you, as much as you are looking for a Buyer


And after that the orders kept pouring, pouring to an extent that I even sponsored some Gifts for their events.

Word Spread and I got orders from NIIT, Khadi Gram Udhyog Bhawan, A Big Transport Company too.

Then the Diwali Season came, and I thought of selling Wall calendars too.

One fine Morning when I was getting my Rajdoot 350 Bike Serviced, I went inside a Neighboring Apparel shop and told them if they are looking for any diwali gifts, then we can supply them. And they asked for samples.  I went back after a day and got an order for 1000 calendars @ Rs 7. The margin was very low, but being my first big order, I didn’t want to say no as that would have stopped my learning process.

Since, I didn’t have that kind of money; I took a loan from a friend and serviced that order.

Still remember those 3 nights, wherein the entire family would sit in Drawing room, Kept Rolling Calendars, Placed a Rubber band over it and then putting it in a cardboard box.

Lesson: Later I realized that the Calendar order helped me think Big and I got to know the nitty gritty’s of Printing, Designing, Arranging the finances and delivering a Big order

Lesson If your Product is good, Getting Big Names as Clients isn’t tough.


In fact, I was even referred to AMITY UNIVERSITY by NIIT, who used to do training for their staff. Those Days Amity University was run from a small campus in South Extension.

I was asked to meet a certain Mr. Chauhan and I reached there at the appointed time. However, he got engaged in some work and could not turn up for the meeting.

And, as I was busy with my Studies and work which was already pouring, I didn’t bother to follow that lead and it ended there. Today Amity University is the Biggest University in India and their order for just one category is bigger than what Big Bazaar makes from 5 Stores.


Lesson :Set your Priorities, but do keep visiting them to ensure that they are set rightly. Also, try to catch things young, so that you Grow with them and they with you.


While all this was happening, I was also going to my dentist to get a problem Cured. And while discussions, I did mentioned about my part time work. He, being a devoted Disciple of a “Sadhu Maharaj” wanted me to make some Photo Frames with Sadhu jee picture to be distributed. And I said yes, and shared some samples and thinking that the order would be small, added a BIG margin, to cover my transportation and other costs.

Yes, I did receive the order and it was 5 times the size I thought and at the same quoted price.

Delighted I was, and then Orders from him kept pouring…………Key Chains, Pens, School Bags, Pencil Boxes, Travelling bags etc. Believe me; I made enough money from him, than I had made from any big corporation.

Lesson: Baat karne se baat banti hai. Never underestimate any order and a Buyer.

There are opportunities available,which we think never exist.


I had a habit to learn everything, but at the end left everything to the experts and just observed. Even If there was something amiss, I would voice my opinion and leave it to the expert for his judgment.

While servicing one order of Clocks, The printing was skewed by the Screen printer and even the Logo colour did not match. Though I was there at a very late hour, while printing was happening, but did not realize the colour Difference as it was Dark. And when I did mention to the screen printer about the skewed printing, he said “Sir, Sab bariya hai, aaap chinta na kare”. And I agreed.

Ultimately, the order was rejected by the company, and I since it was a customized product, it was of ZERO value to me, hence I sold it to them at half the price and suffering a loss.

Lesson: This taught me that one needs to handle Customised orders very delicately and even if you have an expert with you, don’t let your views go down the drain. After all it’s your Money and your reputation at stake.



After some time, I decided to explore the Pamphlet route. And got 20,000 pamphlets worth Rs 1000/- distributed on a Sunday Morning.

Next Day morning,I received a call from a BengalI Gentleman who ran a Travel Agency and requested us to present him with gift options which could be given to Embassy officials and should have an Indian touch and should be big in size.

For 5 days, I didn’t have a clue of what we could offer and wanted to make it work as this was the only call I received after distributing the pamphlets.

One day I had gone to Panchkuian road to have my Favourite Samosas from Frontier Samosa and while there noticed a Lamp shop and went inside to get one for my side table. Once there, I noticed a big Earthern Ganesha Lamp and it struck my mind. I brought one and showed it to him and he immediately liked the lamp and we struck a deal of 100 such lamps in which I made Rs 20.000

Lesson: Even a small investment of Rs 1000 could get big results.

If you work towards the benefit of the client, your mind starts working as his and you see from his point of view and hence serve better.

Just 1 lucky pamphlet out of the total 20000 worked for me and returned by investment many times.


All this while, I was the lone soul who was managing the work, from getting orders, Dealing with Vendors, Designing the Matter, Collecting payments, Delivering the product, Everything!!

Now it was time for me to expand my business.

I always wanted to explore new places, go to places where people like me do not visit, do the things supposed to be contrarian.

Though I was not able to do it as much as I can, but I am really happy that I did visit “Chor Bazaar” regularly. Chor Bazaar literally means the “Market of Thieves”. For the uninformed, Chor Bazar used to be a Sunday Bazaar, wherein people would gather every sunday to sell their wares at the ground behind the Red Fort. The wares were a mix of Second Hand Goods, Goods sold as Junk to Kabari Wala, Some factory rejects and yes, as the name suggest, some goods which have been stolen. The wares ranged from Clothes, Tyres, Electronic Goods, Shoes, Kitchen Ware, Sports Goods, Furniture etc. And in between those stalls were many small make shift eateries too.

Once, when I was there, I got hold of an ITPO Trade Fair Directory for the year 1995, which somebody must have sold to kabari wala. It caught my attention and in a spur of a moment I paid Rs 15 for that 400 page directory and walked away.

After 6 Months, when I was looking to expand my business, I thought of posting letters to my clients and framed one.  Now, the problem was who to send and I realized that I have that directory and dug it out and got labels printed to be pasted on the envelopes. Within a week of that I posted 100 letters and was struck to my home phone (No Mobile or pagers then), anticipating atleast 20 enquiries. NONE CALLED!!

Disappointed I thought of visiting some of them.

One such address was in Karol Bagh. Reaching there, I realized that this was just a city admin office and the boss and his men used to sit in Badli Industrial Area which is 40 kilometers away. I took the boss’s Number and he asked me to visit his office.

Now, Badli was an Industrial town and not very easily approachable then.  I had seen a DTC bus pass my house, with BADLI on it. So the next day, I travel 35 kms to reach Badli and realized that my destination is still 5 kms away. With limited money in my pocket and the fear that I may spend all in hiring a rickshaw, I walked a while, took a Lift and again walked a while and reached that Tyre Tube Factory. On Meeting Mr Jain, who was the right Hand of Boss, he told me that they want to order some stuff and asked me to come again with more Samples.

There I go again to Badli after 2 days with a heavy bag flung on my shoulders. And got an order of Rs 50,000/- along with an advance of Rs 10,000/-. The initial order was Rs 35,000/- but me being from a marketing bent of mind, told them that as “Puncture wala bhaiya” is the main influencer, they should give a free Customised Keychain which would tempt the puncture man to sell their product more, which the liked and hence the additional Rs 15000 order.

Lesson: The best of leads happen from the unlikeliest of places. In this case a Directory from Kabarri bazaar.

Every marketing effort may not yield immediate returns. In this case, nil revert to my 100 letters.

If you are willing to take a step ahead towards your Goal, You goal too Reciprocates double. In this case my visit to Karol Bagh.

As it was a big order, I had to loan some amount from my father with a promise to return it within 2 months. Within a month, the goods were delivered and I waited anxiously for my payments. Been 2 months, I kept calling them repeatedly and they had some silly reason or other. When I insisted, they would call me to Badli and Pay Rs 5000/-. And in this way, I was always tense and just wasted all my energies on recovering the payment, rather than utilizing it on getting new orders.

Finally after 6 months of follow up I got my payments, but with this bitter experience, was not as enthusiastic to pursue further.

Lesson : Always share your Experience/Knowledge with your clients that they can gain. In this case Key Chain offer got me 30% additional order. And from their feedback, they achieved 10% additional sales per month after the Key Chain initiative

Never Bet all your Money on one person.

If you have committed a mistake, then Book the Loss and move on, just trying to make it work will not lead you anywhere.  I very clearly remember a story from Mr Kishore Biyani’s Book.  “It Happened in India”.  Betting big on White Shirts, he ordered 1 Lakh White Shirts to be manufactured. And eventually, when they didn’t sell, He decided to call it a mistake and sell it for less than his cost, rather than holding it an waiting for it to sell in 3 years. Not many Companies did this during those days.

In business Ups and Downs happen, don’t be Super Excited or Super depressed with any development.

Honestly, this instance did hurt me a lot and everyone dissuaded me to end this.

And I did what they told me…………….Oriental Sales died…………….and all my hopes of nurturing it into the Best Corporate Gifting Company died too.

Yes, I did Lose a battle, but the Lessons I learnt helped me Win a War!!

Originally Posted at on 16 June 2012 at


Read More