Anil Ambani On The Early Years


“Do you know where Kabutarkhana is? Do you know where Bhuleshwar is?”That’s where Maganlal Dresswalla is. That’s where the doodhwallas are. We used to stay in a place called Jai Hind Estate on the fifth floor. It’s a big chawl with 500 families staying in it. It was cheap. What was it? It was a one-bedroom house. My dad, my mother, my grandmother, my uncle, my brother and myself lived in one room.We used to play in the chawl. There used to be this big corridor running alongside twenty pigeonhole type flats on one floor. We used to be there, looking at the activity in the street below. Why is it called Kabutarkhana? It’s a huge place where all the pigeons descend and people feed them chana. Next door there’s a temple. So everybody goes into the temple, prays, comes out and throws chana to the pigeons.There’s a milk market in a locality called Panjrapole. The embroidery business is right there. Oh, there’s a lot of hustle and bustle in Kabutarkhana.”

“My father was not only exporting spices, he was also exporting sugar,ghee, and, soil, anything that had the potential.”

“That was a onetime thing. The Arab sheikh opened the letter of credit and we got the money. Now if the sheikh dumps the soil into the sea or drinks it up, who cares? See the opportunity and strike.”

“We had a great deal of attention from both my father and my mother. Somehow he used to find the time. My father believed that the childhood years are when character and motivation are developed Sundays were very important in our lives. He used to take us out to football or hockey matches. At that time, the options were very clear. We had the choice of two snacks or one drink and one snack. We used to jump when Sunday arrived and we would be thrilled because we would be taken to an Udipi restaurant for idli sambhar. Sunday was an important day.”






About Keerthika Singaravel

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