Chatline From being an undisciplined child to becoming a business magnate, G.V. Krishna Reddy retraces the steps of his life to Prabalika M. Borah
T he dust-laden chandelier and a foyer without the greens indicate work is still happening in the building.
“Sir has shifted from this end to the opposite. We are making a few additions and changes,” explains one of the secretaries of G.V. Krishna Reddy, Founder, Chairman G.V.K. Industries. We are escorted inside one of G.V.K. Reddy's offices near Anand Theatre on S.P. Road.
Simple and clutter-free, besides a couple of paintings, his office also has a family-group photograph and a photo of G.V.K. Reddy with wife Indira. On his desk are files neatly stacked in row. “Tea or coffee?” G.V.K. enquires and then requests for a kadak tea.
On receiving the Padma Bhushan
Were you expecting the Padma Bhushan? “Forget expecting I didn't even know I was getting it. On January 25 when the announcement was made I was in Indonesia, signing an MoU with the Indonesian President. We have signed an MoU for building two airports there. The honour was a pleasant surprise without me submitting an application,” he says. Explaining the procedure for the Padma awards, he says, “One needs to make an application, which goes to the Home Ministry and through a lot of other officials. I never wrote to anyone,” he says with a smile.
G.V.K. Reddy's baritone might make him appear stern, but when this businessman speaks he can engage the listener with the ‘can-do attitude' instances from his life. Continuing with the excitement at receiving the Padma Bhushan, G.V.K. says, “After the MoU signing that day in Indonesia I was rushing back home. I landed at about 7.30 p.m. in Hyderabad and got a call from my daughter, ‘Congratulations' she said. I said, Oh, so you saw the news of the MoU signing on TV? She said, ‘No not MoU, you won a Padma award.' Until I confirmed the news I kept thinking it was a Padma Shri. Only later I came to know that it is a Padma Bhushan.”
Coming from a sleepy village near Nellore, G.V.K. Reddy says he still loves to do things on his own. “I am in the habit of doing things on my own since childhood. From polishing my shoes, ironing my clothes to driving my car, I would love to do it here. I do it all the time when I am in the U.S. The moment we are in the U.S., my wife sits next to me, becomes my navigator and we happily drive around,” he says with a hearty laugh.
What about going to a place which might not have the comforts of a big city? “I still go to our village to see my mother who is over 100, and insists on staying there. She is bed-ridden, I can make myself comfortable anywhere,” he says with confidence.
Was all this in the plan of things before G.V.K became a brand name. “Coming from such a small village, even in my wildest dreams I never thought of chartered flights or doing business abroad. But after coming to the city I started to dream. My first four-wheeler was a Jeep, APN 1744 was the number, then came ADY 4702 my Fiat. These two four-wheelers are my favourite possessions. Besides an old Chinese night gown (belt missing) and a Rolex watch from my college days. Now my car numbers are all in the 666 series. You know why? Because no one picks 666,” he laughs.
An avid sportsman G.V.K. says no matter where he is, once he is in Hyderabad a game of tennis in his own tennis court is a must. But he isn't just a tennis-player, he was a volleyball player as a student.
Now that brand G.V.K. is going international are there any regrets? “I wish I was 20-30 years younger and learn to drive a scooter,” he smiles.
A very expressive man G.V.K. says, “Life is like a game of tennis, ‘if someone can do it I can do it as well,' it is my slogan from childhood,” he says philosophically.
But as a child, G.V.K. says he wasn't a disciplined child. Studies and books didn't fit his realm of activities. He lived by the saying ‘All work and no fun makes G.V.K. a dull boy.' “I was very undisciplined till I was 12. My favourite childhood challenge was to run behind a running bus climb the ladder and climb down safely while the bus was in motion. The moment I turned 13 years I changed. One of the students who stood first was gifted a pen by the teacher and we had to applaud. I liked that moment and wished I were in his place. The next year I completely dedicated to studies, disciplined myself and followed a strict pattern, ever since I have been a focused disciplined man,” says G.V.K.
My first four-wheeler was a Jeep, APN 1744 was the number, then came ADY 4702 my Fiat. These two four-wheelers are my favourite possessions. Besides an old Chinese night gown (belt missing) and a Rolex watch