a technocrat-entrepreneur is indeed a great lesson for his fellow natives


Mr Ravi, who is considered one of the great achievers among Pune settled Malayalees, virtually falls in love with the works he has been assigned with. So sincere and dedicated to his works he ultimately drives every task into an immaculate success. His insatiable spirit of cracking every challenge with his emblematic mellowed look makes himself a role model. Eventful life of the 60-year old technocrat-entrepreneur is indeed a great lesson for his fellow natives - be them elder or younger generation.

Two decades ago, Mr K S Ravi used to travel between Pune and Mumbai on Saturdays and Sundays. Most people used to do so to join their family on holidays, if home and job place happened to be so far away in the two cities. But for Mr Ravi, then working in the Swedish multinational Alfa Laval India (Ltd), the reason was different. A season ticket in AC compartment then costing Rs 1200 a month was comfortable for him to keep his mind working on future plans while the train chugging down to the ghatts of Khandala. He continued the shuttling routine for a long time until he could finally attain voluntary retirement in the year 2000. Now he himself drives in his car more frequently, perhaps more enthusiastically to meet his business client and grandson.

Every time, he took a seat in the AC compartment in a particular place so that he could write and make drawings of his engineering works without disturbance. The travel time was good enough to do his works and read for some time. Mr Ravi has virtually become an engineer of high calibration engineering-works without ever being in any engineering college. Always tireless he was well-armed with curiosity to learn, tendency to explore and determination to do something new in a field where others rarely deploy their energies.


The sweating strides through Mumbai’s tiny business pocket of Sakinana and other places brought him closer to his future plans. In the beginning, those were virtually his test-sites of the dyes and components which were used for making toothbrush. Those products, used by large multinationals until then, were imported from countries like Belgium. The trial and error period and constant upgradation continued until the products’ qualities and work-abilities were confirmed absolutely infallible by some tiny toothbrush makers. Time and again the products were improvised so that large companies could accept the quality standard. His jobs on week days in Pune also continued on the other side. Every fraction of a second he was on one or the other works, including social works. 


One day an elderly gentleman working as Managing Director of Mumbai-based firm befriended with him in his Pune-Mumbai shuttling journey, perhaps after seeing him regularly in the train, like himself. He learnt Mr Ravi was working in Pune and travelling up to Mumbai on holidays for doing “a side business”. That was a heavily sweating endeavour. By the time he had a fledgling company, Neeita Engineering, his wife Mrs Latha being promoter of the venture, to support and nurture. That was the beginning of his entrepreneurial life, which later made him a business man engaged in manufacturing of a unique high engineering precision import substitute products. Today, he manages two companies – Neeta Engineering and Metal Craft Engineers (India). Both the companies are based in the industrial hub of Pimpri, Pune. The products - toothbrush making dyes and components as well as variable trimming blades - manufactured by these two companies are supplied to multinationals like Colgate, Hindustan Unilever, Procter and Gamble etc. as their approved vendors. In fact, all the top toothbrush brands find use of his products in their manufacturing process. “Our products are exported to countries like Vietnam and Tanzania. 


Today I am happy and highly satisfied with my business, family and social life. Indeed my wife has made a big contribution to our business success and stood with me to encourage ever. We both discuss business plans always so that our actions never become an aberration,” says Mr Ravi, who had to hard-manage his work balance in the early days of seeding his business venture.

As he settles for a recollection, the long reel of his 40-years eventful Pune-life-memory has begun to unravel the exciting stories that an average Malayalee who boarded trains to faraway places in search of job must read and relearn. Mr Ravi stands an exception to the service-class-oriented Malayalees. A few years ago, a book on 64 most successful Pune based Malayalees titled Marunaattil Kanakam Vilayichhavar (those farmed gold outside their homeland) illustrated his notable success.  


At the age of 20 Mr Ravi reached Pune under his elder brother’s care in search of a job, leaving behind a cherishing memory of his life in the joined family of 28 members. The memory of a vivacious childhood with a passion for serving grandparents recharges him. The reminiscence of grandmother giving out small pocket money and serving grandfather with tea is still afresh in his mind. Like any other days on the day of his grandfather’s death too he had his routine of serving tea. The sad news of his death while in school shocked him. “These are unforgettable moments in life,” he utters. Their endearment, immaculate warmth and affection are still fresh in my mind, he sates and adds: “We should not stay detached with our root. The detachment will ruin our identity and all the greatness that our great-grand and grandparents had built for us”. His parents passed away, last being his mother. His mind is still unsettled with the deep grievance over his mother’s loss, pulling out his purse he extracted the acknowledgement of the last money order (MO) he had sent to his mother. “I don’t want such memory to decamp my mind,” he muses.     


Like any other pravasi Malayalee, Mr Ravi also left his native place Kanippayyoor, Kunnamkulam in Trichur District in 1978 for livelihood and to support his family. He was brought by his brother Mr Narayanan who was then working as Jr. Engineer in Ground Water Surveys and Development Agency, Government of Maharashtra.
Mr. Ravi studied in Govt. Boys High School Kunnamkulam. After SSLC and Pre-Degree he studied Commercial Diploma from Indian Merchants’ Chamber, Mumbai. He started his career as a clerk in Western India Erectors Ltd. in Contract Department where he worked for six months. Thereafter, he joined Kinetic Engineering Ltd. in Import Export Department where he worked for two years. Later, he joined the Swedish multi-national, Vulcan Laval Ltd, now Alfa-Laval (India) Ltd., where he worked in Accounts Department looking after Bank Guarantee documents execution and related job. He was careful of handling his job according to the terms of contract/purchase order and keen to collect advance and retention money from the customers at the earliest. The faster execution of documents meant faster money collection. “I don’t keep any file to gather dust and let it go the roundabout way. I believe in straightforward works,” he points out. While working at Vulcan Laval, he had to visit banks like The British Bank of the Middle East, Grindlays Bank plc, Barclays Bank in Mumbai and Bank of India, Bank of Maharashtra, The United Western Bank in Pune as a part of his duty. Very sincere in his duties, he used to get PERFORMANCE AWARD from the company several times during his 20 years stint. He was known in the company as “Bank Guarantee Ravi”.  


During this priod, he could learn many things and gather valuable knowledge through his acquaintance with many high profile people in Indian and foreign banks, besides many other commercial establishments. In those days Mr Ravi had Saturday half day working and Sunday holiday. Mr. Ravi did not waste his time, rather he involved in acquiring basic knowledge of engineering from his brother to start an engineering business. He could gradually realise that anybody can manufacture any product. But sales and marketing as well as after-sales service are very important. Without meeting these challenges survival in any business is unimaginable. How to achieve it? He found the answer to this big question in his study of Diploma in Marketing Management from the Institute of Marketing Development and Research (IMDR) Pune, by attending evening classes. The learning helped him sharpen his skills in competitive analysis and market study. “That enlightened me to further explore less crowded yet big potential business opportunity,” he recalls.


He analysed many products and carried out a virtual R&D work on them. First, with the help of his brother, he started taking up repairing job of pumps and valves which were used in cranes in construction sites. He could not continue with this business as it required a full time focus. Therefore, he had to leave that aside. Still, he never gave up his dream, but continued to look for a part-time manageable business to begin with, without leaving his full time job.
While analysing market potential of various business streams, he could zero in on the opportunities of manufacturing tooth brush of various designs and bristles. The manufacturing process required many consumable wear-and-tear parts, he understood. “That was very interesting for me. I could understand that in India hardly few companies were manufacturing such parts,” he says. The machines were manufactured in Belgium, Germany, Taiwan, etc. The expensive wear and tear parts of the machines also were imported. 


Mr Ravi then rekindled his attention and concentrated on broader study about the prospects of developing import substitute for these items. Gradually, with his hard work and determination, he could succeed in developing such parts. Hence, he could set up a small unit in 1990 in the name NEETA ENGINEERING and started manufacturing such spare parts, components, filling tools, profile cutters, etc. These products are used by companies for manufacturing of various types of tooth brush. Subsequently, he could build a full-fledged factory with many special purpose and CNC machines. Today, NEETA ENGINEERING is an approved vender for Colgate Palmolive (India), Procter & Gamble, Oral B, Breech Oral Care, Schiffer & Menezes, Royal Brushes, JHS Svengaard, Jewel Brushes, etc. In fact, NEETA ENGINEERING is a pioneer in manufacturing Profile Cutters which are required for producing design tooth brushes. The company also exports its products to Vietnam and Tanzania.
Later, he started another business unit named METALCRAFT ENGINEERS (INDIA) which at present is engaged in developing manufacturing CNC tooth brush, Tufting Machines and Trimming Machines. Mr Ravi is highly optimistic that these CNC tooth brush manufacturing machines, currently imported from overseas market, can be manufactured in India. That will help brush manufacturers cut the size of capital investment and reduce production cost drastically.  


A person working in a multi-national company spending his spare time to do something seriously that too without giving any rest to himself, the gentleman found in him something praiseworthy. “Do it…., you will be great man. One day your hard work will pay you what you anticipate,” the gentleman foretold. Mr Ravi’s retrieved a flash-back scenario of his exciting and energetic life.

It was after many rounds of contemplation and discussion with his wife he had decided to resign his job earlier than his successful attempt in 2000. “When the opportunity for VRS came I was not relieved by my boss though I was the first person to apply for the VRS, whenever the company announced it. One day, my boss told me, though mine was the first VRS application to move to the company, the scheme was not for person like me, but for those who had proved themselves liabilities to the company. Each time my boss rejected my application but later on during 2000 he got VRS and retired from the Comapany,” Mr Ravi reminisces.  


In those days too, many engagements kept him extremely busy. Rest of the time, he has his wife and two daughters, Neeta and Nivita at home to take care of. Yet he maintained closer touch with his ethnic Malayalee community and offered his benevolent presence at the time of any emergency. So gracious has been Mr Ravi’s presence that used to appear as an Almighty’s touch. He reaches out to everyone without an iota of aversion any time of their need. Such, in large cities could be seen rarely. “What we achieved would be meaningless, if we didn’t have courtesy and obligation to our own society,” he opines. Human being can co-exist only some are there someone out in the society to extend yeoman services. Your good work will always cheer many people and ultimately the chemistry of nature works out for those sincerely put in their efforts, he rightly believes.


Mr Ravi never had a worry since he knew where he stood and what all he would be capable of doing – of course what he does also. Perfection in job, honesty, sincerity and above all a mindset for doing anything that is thrown on one’s head would never let the person down in his or her life. “There should be a perfection in every work with right connotation built in, that is my philosophy,” he opines. He takes only calculated steps with enough homework and stays himself passionate about what is in front of him to finish. “Yes, I learnt this truth,” he tells while deciphering the secret behind his happy life as a selfless social worker, immaculate success as an entrepreneur, his wide acceptance as a man with a mission. He travelled a long way, yet tireless of travelling longer way, if his society calls for it and demands it from him. Total dedication with a love, be it on his job or social work, he sticks with it with a virtual evangelical zeal.
While working in Alfa Laval, at spare time of normal working days he used to make a mental search of a segment that had no crowd of enterprises. First he learnt marketing and business management from the Institute of Management Development and Research (IMRD), Pune. “That had given me considerable ideas and good insight into marketing and business management. By the time, I also had learnt office management by virtue of my job at Alfa Laval for many years,” says Mr Ravi who believes in doing everything directly without keeping any messenger in between. “I had understood the ultimate connotation of my works, which I felt must be achieved directly if that the matter was in my hand,” he recollects. That could cut drastically turnaround time and boost talent outputs. His energetic work style brought him big admiration from the top management. The files would move faster for processing and completion of transaction, Mr Ravi’s gesture was highly appreciated within the company. “If we have direct ways to do things, why should be rely on indirect ways?” he used to ask himself. 


That was what he had done as a responsible employee at Alfa Laval – very much the reason why the company hadn’t relieved him when he asked for VRS. “I wouldn’t waste even a fraction of second if the matter was related to inward remittance. I always felt it was my duty to ensure the receivables credited at the earliest without documentation delay,” he rightly argues. By the time Mr Ravi also had learnt the nuances of imports and exports and gained thorough knowledge of documentations pertaining to the overseas and domestic businesses. That also made him a valuable employee of the Swedish company that has footprint in multiple business verticals and clients spread around the world.

An employee must prove his or her service to the company as precious that makes the employee’s position stronger. No company will ask a performing employee to leave or refuse to give what the employee deserves, if he proves worthy for the company. Every work place is a sacred place. One must work for it, he points out laying out the instance of his own experience. “Don’t fight against any company, but fight with the management for your deserving right if the management refuses to heed to your call,” Mr Ravi tells. He is a man of principle and gentle enough to render what is best at his disposal as a social activist without discrimination of caste or religion. He likes to identify himself with his ethnicity and proud of his root in the legendary God’s Own Land.

Human being has limitless capability. One can confront with every challenge, if one stays with a firm determination and inventive mind to work, Mr Ravi proves it through his insatiable enthusiasm for doing something pioneering and what he has achieved in his life. It is a fact that every human being has a curiosity. “Identify your curiosity and polish it, you can see a glitter,” he tells. None is born with a special skill or mental deficiency. All are born with same level of skill. For a person nothing is impossible. One does not need to study in an engineering college to be an engineer. Learning is an open proposition that anyone can embark on at any stage of life. But one must learn nitty-gritty of what is chosen and keep working with a passion. Keep the iron spirit hot and keep hammering on it to make it tougher. Then nothing can spoil it, he points out with an allegory of hot-iron golden red colours.    


It is difficult to keep job and business together. That is like running a watertight compartment. “That is true. But if you take the challenge as an inconvenience every job will be tougher, set aside doing business along with it. If job is an office time service, business is 24-hour service. I take every job with a positive spirit and enjoy every moment of its course. And I have no qualms on it,” he avers.

His elder daughter Neeta, married now, is a computer engineer and works for Capegemini. The younger daughter Nivita, an Electronic and Telecommunication Engineer from MIT Pune and now working at CLSA. His wife, Latha, who did her B.Sc in physics from Vimala College Thrissur, is associated with his business and is also a teacher of Malayalam Mission.

Admirer of his mother tongue that he unarguably calls the immaculate language of one’s heart, Mr Ravi is deeply involved in the famous Malayalam Mission conceived and sponsored by the Government of Kerala to encourage the migrants and their offspring from the state to learn their mother tongue and stay with their roots. Now he is the General Secretary of Malayala Bhasha Samskarika Pracharana Sangam, Pune. “That is a great mission to which each of us must put in as much energy and time as possible. It is our language that makes us identify what we are. Our next generation must learn it to understand our individuality, impressive literature and illustrious culture,” Mr Ravi is quite excited about the task of Malayalam Mission Pune that he shoulders since 2014 as its Gen. Secretary, where an estimated four lakh Malayalees reside 


Besides this Mission, he is also associated with other cultural and charitable organizations. He is also Gen. Secretary of The United Kerala Foundation, Pune, through wihich they had relentlessly worked for extension of existing trains upto Trivandrum and also for introduction of new trains from Pune to Cochin/Trivandrum, for which they had even visited then Hon’ble Railway Minister Shri. Lalu Prasad Yadhav’s official residence at New Delhi for discussion and handedover the Memorandum and also continuously followed up with many Railway Department officials like DRM Pune, General Manager at Mumbai, etc.

Mr. Ravi and his team also worked for introduction of direct flight from Pune to Cohcin/Calicut/Trivandrum for which they had visited then Cabinet Minister Shri. Praful Patel Office at Delhi for introduction of Air India and Indian Airlines flights and submitted Memorandum. But not received any positive response. During this course of time we came to know that cousin brother of our Hon’ble Ex-Chief Minister of Kerala Shri. Oommen Chandi, Mr. Thomas was staying in Pune and who was a frequent flyer to Cochin. As there was no direct flight service to Cochin from Pune he was to travel upto Mumbai to catch the flight. We met Mr. Thomas and handedover the Memorandum addressed to Shri. Oommen Chandi, Ex-Chief Minister of Kerala. Mr. Thomas has handedover the same to Shri. Oommen Chandi who has in turn initiated the action through Tourism Department and ultimately Spicejet authorities has come forward and contacted us and we had a round of discussion with them and first direct flight from Pune to Cochin was introduced. For the first trip ”kanni yatra” all UKF committee members went with the Spicejet. After landing at Cochin Airport fortunately we could meet Shri. Oommen Chandi and other Ministers at the Airport itself as they were on the way to Delhi. We had 15 minitues meeting at the Airport when we sincerely expressed our thanks him. Mr. Ravi recalls it was a nice experience.

With UKF team Mr. Ravi had initiated many other charitable service like “Reviving the eyesight without surgery” who lost vision due to acute diabetes and also “Removing the heart blockage without surgery” through Chelation Theraphy, etc.

During the last flood situation in Kerala UKF and PKMJ has sent 26 tonnes truck load of items containing drinking water, grocery items, cloths, medicines, etc. worth more than Rs.30 lakhs. After loading the mataerial in the truck and Mr. Ravi and his team went with the truck to Kerala to ensure that the same is reached safely and distributed to the affected people in the flood affected area. 


Business and social works are seemingly well synchronized in him. Business trip to Mumbai, which he is making as his second home, gives him an opportunity to join his daughter’s family and spend some good times with his grandson, the third generation offspring. At the same time, he remembers the affection that he used to draw from his grandparents with an inexplicable gratification.

His son-in-law, Mr. Sunder is Senior Mechanical Engineer, daughter Neeta is Software Engineer and younger daughter Nivita is an Electronic Engineer. All are working in multi-national companies at present. He wants them to join the business, for which he started training them in his business. Mr. Ravi always praises his wife’s contribution and support not only in the business but also in every endeavour including social works. “In the initial years it was her courage that made me jump into business. She still works as the backbone of my business,” he points out.

Every success has a secret behind. The secret behind Mr Ravi’s entrepreneurial-cum- social service success is his readiness to accept challenge with an open mind, prudent heart and cheerful face. He goes well with the proverbial G.K Chesterton’s lines: An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.     




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Email: neetaravi_engg@yahoo.co.in
Phone: 9823019790

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