In a glittering book launch, attended by the leading dignitaries living in the UAE, Dr. Dhananjay (Jay) Datar, Chairman & Managing Director, Al Adil Trading released his autobiography ‘Masala King – a Journey of Memoirs’ in the presence of Sri.Ramdas Athawale, Rajya Sabha member and Minister of State in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, veteran singer Mr.Suresh Wadkar and Mrs.Vadana Datar. The book talks about his professional and personal values in a highly successful journey spread over 38 years. Speaking on the sidelines of the launch, Dr. Datar said that he is guided by five core principles of success and they are Perseverance, hard work, integrity, etiquette and patience. “This book is my humble tribute to each and everyone who contributed to the success of Al Adil Trading that marks 38 years of its presence in the UAE and GCC.”
The book is highly inspiring and has many anecdotes that traces the journey of Dr. Datar from a small village called Shirkhed in India to Dubai, the land of dreams. in his autobiography he openly speaks about his modest beginnings and the times when he struggled to meet the basic necessities of life. According to him, his childhood made him frugal, self-reliant and laid the groundwork to meet the future challenges. “My lunch box contained roti and chutney. My uniform was patched and generally worn out. I wore the same uniform every day through the year.” The turning point came when he was 16 years old and got a passport. “My father, who came to Dubai, sent me an air ticket, along with detailed travel instructions in a letter. Back in those days, phone calls were very expensive. I still remember the date of my first plane journey. It was February 26, 1984. Along with me there was another young boy on the same flight. The lady at the check-in counter was full of admiration for us and she decided to upgrade us from Economy to Business Class. So, on my first flight ever, I travelled Business Class! For a poor boy, you can imagine how big this was,” he added.
“The book addresses many things that I learnt in my journey, so far. I thought that it is important to share what I consider as my five principles of success. I have also shared my tips to budding entrepreneurs on how to face financial challenges in a volatile market and come out of it successfully. There is also an emphasis on the importance of fitness and keeping good health. There is no point in all the money you make if your health is not good. I have put all these together so that the younger generation gets benefitted from my experience,” pointed out Dr. Datar.
There are many valuable insights in the book including his strong belief that “Customer is king.” “We have listened to our customers and delivered good-quality products to the best of our ability. Our shops at first were managed in a traditional way. There was no system in place to arrange the products properly. But we changed all that for the benefit of our customers. We did not want them to queue up for their items. Next is profit. Every business must be done with the aim of earning profit — but, in an ethical manner. A profitable business fetches success. I also believe that entrepreneurship should be taught at an early age and children should be taught to be independent.” Explaining the fact behind his reasonable prices, Dr. Datar said that it is the economy of scale which helps us to provide the best value deals to our customers. “We buy food items in bulk and we pass the benefits of pricing to our customers. Hence our prices are always reasonable,” explained Dr. Datar.
In today’s highly rushed and competitive world, a key aspect that Dr. Datar, has addressed in his autobiography pertains to depression. “I can state with pride that I fought depression. I turned to yoga and meditation to get relief from stress, anxiety and depression. Mental illness is a big issue. People are skeptical to talk about it. When you deal with it and face it, you get great benefits. There is no shame in saying you suffered a mental illness. What is key in overcoming it is to let the world know. This is why I wrote about it in my autobiography,” he added.
Al Adil Trading is U.A.E.’s leading name for Indian food stuff and has 50 outlets across GCC and India. Al Adil also has its own manufacturing unit in the Al Quoz, where it produces masalas, spices, pickles, flours, pulses and other Indian foodstuff items under the Peacock brand name. It also has an Indian arm, Masala King Exports in Mumbai (India), which exports Indian pulses. According to him the secret of his success is that he knows the pulse of the expatriate Indian community. For him success is a journey and not a destination.