Monday, June 20, 2011

DSK’s journey from rags to riches and politics

DSK’s journey from rags to riches and politics Fiftynine-year-old Deepak Sakharam Kulkarni (DSK), the chairman and managing director of DSK Group, who is seeking a Bahujan Samaj Party ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Pune is a classic rags-to-riches story.

DSK started off really small selling newspapers, delivering milk and folding supari packets. He earned his first Re1 at the age of eight.

Today, the man is the founder of the Rs1,500 crore DSK Group which is into real estate in several big cities here and abroad.

He recounts the day he earned his first rupee. “Friends in my Kasba Peth neighbourhood and I would go about our errands to earn money. My father would not allow me to play unless I had completed the day’s chores. When I earned my first rupee- a princely amount then - it became a reminder of the times to come. I realised then the importance of self-sufficiency and self-empowerment,” he says.

For many Puneites, he is the proverbial local hero who struggled to make it big in a dog-eat-dog world, with his brilliant acumen and unusually savvy business ideas. “I went with the flow,” he recounts.

“I kept doing these odd jobs. One of them was going to homes and installing attar in the old black telephone instruments. The idea picked up fast and soon ‘Telesmell’ was being used by those who owned telephones in the 1970s. Since I was visiting the same home twice a month to clean and perfume the phones, I started getting small work orders for jobs like painting houses, waterproofing and electrification. This slowly expanded and I began thinking that since I was doing almost everything that was needed for construction, why not erect a building. In 1980, I constructed Ashwini Apartments (named after my daughter) at number 330 in Rasta Peth,” he said.

But a thought kept niggling him. “While cleaning phones at the late SL Kirloskar’s swanky office, the name on the brass plate boldly stating– ‘SLK - Chairman & Managing Director’, fascinated me. The thought and the designation stuck in my mind. Later, when I ventured into the construction business, my dream was to have a similar designation. In 1993, once my construction business became fully corporate and public limited, I could finally call myself the chairman & managing director of the DSK Group,” he says.

Today, the group has branched into engineering, chemicals, IT, hotels, trading, import-exports and investment consultancy.

A devotee of Saptashringinivasini Devi and a follower of freedom fighter Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, DSK says, “The family’s blessings and hard work are the mantra for success.”



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