‘BLUE’-EYED BOY OF THANE!

Nikhil Ballal

How was your childhood?
MB-My childhood was full of fun and
frolic. I was an average student always.
Never scored above 70% in my life!But I
never regret about it. I am not a kind of a guy
who would crib or get depressed. The reason
behind this is there are so many things running
around my head that I hardly get any time to
think of failures (smiles). I would always do
things which give me happiness.
I am very fond of roaming and exploring
new things! While I was in school in Singhania
I would keep wandering throughout the city.
Not during school hours ofcourse (laughs.
After a long hectic day at school when my
other friends would prefer staying back at
home I would just pull up my socks and start
wandering through the city aimlessly. Try it! It
is amazing just to roam around the city
carefree. I feel there is bigger school outside
the school which teaches you a lot!

So you always dreamt to become an
architect or a big businessman?
MB-No. Never. I didn’t get admission in
engineering so I was compelled to opt for
architecture. I still recollect my first day of
architecture when my professor asked
everyone ” So students tell me what made you
took architecture as a career?” When all my
batch mates were replying…. “Sir My father
is an architect!.. Sir I love buildings, landscapes
and designs! Sir I am a creative
person and fond of shapes as well as
figures… Finally when my chance came I
shamelessly said “Sir I didn’t get admission in
engineering so had no choice but to take up
architecture! (laughs) .

So was it tough to cope up with
architecture?
MB-Syllabus of architecture is very tough.
People flaunt their degrees “CA, Dr, Er, Phd I
feel even architect should put Ar before his
name. It is a degree which one can really
show off! After five long years finally I
became Ar.MoloyBakshi. My hobby of
roaming and wandering didn’t stop after
entering the college. I would keep roaming
after my college which helped me get on the
job training. This was the only phase of my
life when I was an employee whereas I have
always been an employer! I never wanted to
be a 9 to 5 guy!

So how were your initial days when
you started practising architecture? Was it
tough to get your first assignment?
MB-You may be expecting that I would
say it was really tough to get My First
Assignment! But for your kind information it
was not! My case was not like Shahid Kapoor
of Kismat Connection who had to struggle
really hard to get his first assignment and
finally when he got one on his own merit the
credit went to actress Vidya Balan!!
Bollywood!!( laughs).
My ‘PR’ giri, roaming after school and
college helped me get my first assignment! I
had made friends at almost every Naka(
corner) of Thane. And as we all know all the
Naka guys today eventually ended up being
builders (laughs). They gave me to architect
their projects.

We heard you were also a developer
once upon a time?
MB-Yes I was. But that didn’t thrill me
much. It neither gave me job pleasure nor                                                                                                                                        satisfaction. As I told you earlier my motive
was to enjoy a carefree and stressfree life.
For me, money will always remain secondary!
My father would always tell me Moloy utna hi
kama jitna kharcha hai tera..Jab mera
kharcha hi utna nahi tha then why to slog so
much and bear unnecessary tension? This
thought constantly disturbed me. So, I
decided to practise only architecture. Though
the money was comparatively less here but it
gave peace of mind and happiness. I was
never tempted to go in construction line
again.
During those days I worked for 16 to 18
hours every day. The feeling of being a
‘creator’ is amazing! Today I can proudly tell
you that I have designed more than 2 crore
square feet which includes Thane’s prime
projects such as G Corp, Hyper City, Hyde
park, RaunakPark, Prestige Residency, Kashish
Park and Blue Roof of course (smiles).

How did you get these attractive
proposals?
MB-Well,I never got influenced by any
one and neither got suppressed by pressure
of superiors. I just concentrated on my work.
I am a very positive person, my out of box
thinking, designs, landscapes became very
popular which got me assignments.

Then when did Blue roof happen?
MB-Over the years, the practice of                                                                                                                                            architecture has changed. More than
creativity it is more of liaisioning these days.
Agony from the municipal authorities
compelled me to transform myself from
architect to a businessman. Also I felt there
should be something which completely
belongs to me for which people should
identify and remember me forever. This
thought ignited me to start a club which is now
popularly known as Blue Roof.
Don’t you think it was risky to start a
club in Thane and that too about 10
kilometres away from the city?
MB-I took a calculated risk. During 2003-
04 many professionals, HNI’s (high networth
individuals) started buying houses worth 50-
60 lakhs in Thane. When Mumbai began
unaffordable, many chose Thane as a
destination to reside. Moreover its proximity
to Mumbai was one of the major reason for
professionals to shift their home address to
this lake city.
I realised that these corporates would
require a place for leisure and rejuvenation.
So, I thought to create such a place which is
now popularly known as Blue Roof.
And the answer for your other question is
that I HAD NO OPTION. People from my
industry ridiculed me made a mockery of my
decision for buying this land. But I was
confident since day one. As I told you earlier
I never get influenced by any one’s comments
or decisions. I knew this Club would click and
it did!

How were the initial days at Blue Roof?
MB-They were extremely tough! In 2007
I completed this project. The first year of
club was horrible! There would be hardly
one or two visitor in a month. Very soon my
staff and people associated with Club lost
interests and hopes too. I would motivate
them sometimes monetarily while sometimes
in kind. I would constantly dispense ‘tip’ to
the waiters to retain them in the club.

Then how it finally gained momentum?
MB- I reduced my practise and started
giving more time to the club. It was happening
exactly how I wanted. I wanted to get rid
of liaisoning and God was helping me to
work what I liked! I appointed marketing and
sales agencies to create awareness about the
club. Also me and my wife’s constant
presence in the club and continuous interaction
with the visitors and members made a
huge difference. Their feedback, preferences,
likes, dislikes helped us in developing
this club better!
To start a club and make it popular is
difficult but after becoming popular and
achieving sizeable membership it is easy to
maintain. Today we can proudly tell you that
we have more than 2000 members.

Today every big housing complex has
its own club house. Don’t you think this was
a threat or competition for you?
MB-No I don’t feel so. Presently, I have
many members from Hiranandani and other
big affluent housing complexes which
already have a club house in their complexes
but as I had predicted that people look for a
leisure place which is little far away from
their vicinity, a place where they can be
completely themselves, they can drink,
dance, swim in their own way! My predictions
came true!

In hospitality industry it is difficult to get
good people and more difficult to retain
them?
MB-This problem is not only in hospitality
but everywhere. But I see who can adapt to
my style of working. My wife gets annoyed
that I show trust on anybody very easily. But
unless and until we don’t trust that person for
some time how will we understand whether
that person is actually good worth his salt..

We have heard that along with being a
businessman you are also involved in
horticulture?
MB-Yes. As I said earlier I love to be in
nature. It gives me energy. It’s a secret of my
success. I have planted 3000 mango trees in
60 acres land in Murbad.

What are your future plans?
MB-My wife is handling the club brilliantly.
I have nothing to do now (laughs). I am
planning to come up with few resorts outside
Thane. These resorts would be very unique
from the present ones.

What would you appeal to budding
businessman?
MB-Just enjoy life. Live every moment of
this to the fullest! Keep doing things which give
you happiness, serenity and tranquillity. Work
hard and party harder that’s my funda for
success. Trying new things and exploring
places is my tonic for healthy business life.
Don’t wait for someone to take you on long
vacation instead plan it yourself.
Never share your trouble with anyone. Try
to fix things yourself. I never go to office when
I am ill or bored and I appeal my staff to do
the same. I believe we can give 100 percent
only when we are mentally fit and fine.

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