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July 10, 2002 | 1750 IST
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'Nothing was impossible for Dhirubhai'

Kamlesh T Mody, who runs K Thakorlal & Company, was closely associated with Dhirubhai Ambani, the late chairman of the Reliance Group, for over three decades.

Mody's company deals in the distribution of Reliance products exclusively.

Kamlesh T Mody. Photo: Jewella C MirandaHe knew the Reliance patriarch as an idol, a guide and above all a humane individual. Mody pays tribute to Dhirubhai Ambani from his experiences and personal interaction with the charismatic entrepreneur.

If you take a piece of ordinary glass, hold it over some shredded paper and let sunlight shine through, all you will have is a bright pile of paper. But if you take a magnifying glass and focus the same sunlight on the paper, you can start a fire.

Winners focus, mastering the ability to accomplish. And Shri Dhirubhai was the master of masters.

This is the first lesson I learnt from him: be focussed on whatever you plan to do till you achieve it. I saw the same missionary zeal, the same focus in him, right from Reliance's first public issue till the time he built the mammoth Jamnagar refinery.

He was always open-minded. He was hungry for new ideas and never discounted any idea or person. Even three years ago, when I visited him during Diwali, he asked me if I had any new ideas for marketing in this new information age.

This was the second lesson I learnt from him: always be open-minded, because when you have an open mind you assimilate more, become solution-oriented and make more progress in life.

He always taught us that nothing is impossible in this world. Once you conceive an idea and back it up with strong belief, you can definitely succeed. 'Unrealistic goals' was a term missing from his dictionary. Right from textiles to refinery to drilling for oil, he found nothing impossible.

In the seventies, his textile unit got recognition as one of the world's most modern textile mills, matching or even surpassing developed nations' stringent standards. When the textile industry was passing through adverse times, he developed yarn-processing and went on to become a giant in the global synthetic textiles industry.

He repeated the performance in petrochemicals, too.

I learnt yet another lesson from him: always look for ways to convert a crisis into an opportunity and think ahead of time.

He was enthusiastic, bubbling with excitement, eager for something new to do. He exuded optimism and whenever I met him I could feel a lot of that positive energy rub off on to me. He encouraged me to increase business volumes and grab the opportunity whenever I chanced by one.

He believed enthusiasm is the fuel of life, it helps you to get where you're going. That was the fourth lesson I learnt from him.

He was a big dreamer. He always believed that he was worthy of his dream. He said you will become the person you believe yourself to be. He ceaselessly inspired us to think big and make our dream the purpose of life.

When you are propped up by strong self-belief and single-minded determination to chase and achieve your dream, you become absolutely unstoppable, was his mantra. This was the best lesson I learnt in my life from him.

As told to Syed Firdaus Ashraf

Dhirubhai Ambani: End of an era
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