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The Originator
G.L. Kakadia, Chairman, Sheetal Group
By: Diamond World News Service
Jan 11 2014 1:23PM
Reference: 8705  

Simple, joyful, disciplined and responsible are just some of the words that best describe the chairman of Sheetal Group, G. L. Kakadia. The first thing that strikes you about this path breaker is his humble nature and benevolent persona. A music lover and a huge movie buff, Kakadia is also a big pizza fan. Priyanka Desai meets with him to know more of his success story, passions and dreams.

These five words by the legendary Leonardo da Vinci have stood the test of time and have proved time and again that being simple never goes out of style. We had heard this quote a long time ago and but came across a man who personifies it, only recently. G.L. Kakadia, Chairman, Sheetal Group lovingly known as Govindbhai is a man of dreams, strong willpower, discipline and most importantly— simplicity. Govindbhai’s foray into the diamond business can inspire many scriptwriters for a blockbuster film. We requested him to share the story of his initial days with us and he complied with a smile. “ I was born in a small village of Gujarat in a family with meager means but strong values and morals. But, to gain basic luxuries of life I quit my school in 1968 and headed to Bhavnagar with my cousin to be trained in a diamond factory. This was my first step into the sparkling trade. Just withsix months of rigorous training, I had learned enough and I was offered a job there at a salary of Rs. 70 a month. I had bigger dreams than being just a diamond-polishing worker. It was in 1976 that my brother and I started diamond polishing business with a rented polishing machine and after so many years of highs and lows, we laid the foundation of Sheetal Group in 1985,” he shares.

Govindbhai’s zeal for life and work is inspirational and contagious. He loves his work and that is evident in the enthusiastic ways he talks about the trade. But, did he always dreamed of being in the diamond business or did he have some other ambition was our next question and pat comes the reply, “Every individual’s first ambition is to make money. But without education the sources to earn money become very limited. To tell you the truth, I would have chosen any occupation that could have been a success without needing education. But if I were educated, I would have been working at a managerial position in a large organisation.I would have been the one who delegates work to the team. Since my childhood, I have never liked people’s careless and irresponsible attitude and I always wanted to be the one who could change it. If I were educated I would have been a strict officer who could teach his team discipline and responsibilities. I would have made an attempt at changing my team’s careless attitude if not of everyone.”

When asked about his family and its role in shaping him as a person, he has a visible pride in his eyes. He has a faint smile that reaches to the heart and depicts how familial bonds are one of the most important things in a man’s life even though he is engulfed with success, money and fame. He articulates, “It is said that a child’s initial education starts at home and its mother is always its first teacher. My mother was my first teacher too. She was one of the strongest women I know. She guided me in every step of the way and she always corrected me whenever I was wrong. She helped me grow as a better human being. My two brothers— Vallabhbhai and Ravjibhai Kakadia are very close to me. They have always supported my decision. They have had complete faith in me and have been with me throughout my journey. My wife too, has been a great support. She never complains and is always satisfied. I have a busy schedule that involves a lot of travelling but she never depicted her loneliness and has always motivated me to achieve bigger goals.”

While further talking about inspirations, we get to see the light side of Govindbhai. To our surprise, he confesses that he is a huge movie buff and there are a number of movies that have played a part in inspiring him. We listen with amusement as he states, “My life is not inspired from just a single person. Everyone leading a disciplined life is my inspiration. I believe in inculcating positive aspects of everyone around me. Learning from people managing their business and personal life successfully has made me the person I am today. Mr. Arun Mehta of Rosy Blue has been a great source of inspiration through out my life. On a lighter note, it is important to mention that since my childhood I have always been a movie buff. Characters from the movies that I have watched have inspired me the most. I implemented their positive aspects in my personal life. Movies like ‘Upkar’ have made a significant impact on my life. Manoj Kumar’s character explained the importance of mother earth in a good way. A strong emotion of patriotism and pride for my country, its freedom fighters and its responsible citizens has emerged in me after watching this movie. Raj Kumar’s character from ‘Waqt’ taught me my responsibilities and duties towards my siblings. Dilip Kumar is one of my favourite actors. His movies ‘Mughal-e-azam’, ‘Ram aur Shyam’ and ‘Aan’ gave me a lot of inspiration. Especially ‘Naya Daur’, in which I could relate to my own village scenario and learnt my responsibilities towards my village. That movie is a constant reminder of my roots.”

After knowing about his love for his movies, we steered the conversation to his passion— music. “I like singing and listening to Hindi songs. I have a good collection of old numbers, which I have collected through many years. I listen to them when I am alone or when I am travelling. These songs always support me and never leave me alone. I feel they are the best stress buster. I like singing them as well. Be it my home or office you will find me humming whenever I am free. Mohammad Rafi is my favorite singer. His songs have always conveyed a message and brought out the reality of life,” he says and hums a sweet song for us on our request. Sharing this moment with one of India’s most celebrated diamantaires will always be a moment of pride for us.

After people, movies and music we asked him about his other interests and he lets us know that he is a big foodie, too. Talking about his favourite cuisines and dishes, he shares, “I am a proud food lover and I love Indian, Chinese and Italian cuisines. When in Mumbai, I usually prefer homemade food, especially ‘Haldi ki Kadhi’ and ‘Bazre ki Roti’ cooked by my mother and ‘Baingan ki Bhaji’ which my wife cooks for me.” “I also have a guilty pleasure. I love domino’s pizza and I can eat it every day,” he quips with a childlike virtue.

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