CHENNAI: Everything I learned in my professional field was through an inquisitive attitude, involvement and experience,” says 72-year-old P Devarajan, chairman of Raj Park Hotel. Tracing the hotel’s journey back to 2001 when it was launched, he talks about how a Bachelors in Chemistry degree holder ended up in a hotel management business.
Take us through your path of success.
I come from a village between Salem and Vellore. Our family occupation was agriculture and I grew up in an ordinary household. My academic excellence was something that was spoken about. Those days there was no career guidance and I pursued a degree in Chemistry. Due to a family situation, I joined as a non-medical research assistant at Madras Medical College in the research department. Eventually, in 1975 I moved into fisheries and mainly dealt with prawn culture. In 1983, I started Raj Builders Construction Company. And in 2001, Raj Park was launched.
What are your core values?
My academic excellence has brought me so far in life. I changed so many jobs. But everything was a decision made out of my interest. Borewell drills at Raj Builders was a big hit. Many people approached me for orders. Even during floods, our buildings were safe. Meticulous planning and adherence to rules are two lessons that I learned and practiced doing business. I value the money that people pay. They trust us and so it has to be fair play.
How is Devarajan at home different from Devarajan at work?
Whether it is family or employees, rules are the same. I would be the first person to appreciate a commendable work and give a pat on the shoulder. Likewise, there is no place for apologies or excuses. My children have grown up. They’ve always valued my words, excelled in academics and have been obedient. So I never really had a chance to expose my serious side to them.
Tell us about your children.
I have two sons and one daughter. All three studied at Anna University. My first son takes care of Hablis Group of Hotels, my daughter is an architect and my third son takes care of Raj Park. Somehow both my sons chose this as a career and it was not forced upon them. The only advice I give them is to wake up before 5.30 am. Morning exercises are the best. We realise the value of health only in the later stages of life. I’ve given them the best education and I want them to be hale and healthy. They’ve all learned the knack of managing business by themselves.
How are you spending your post-retirement life?
I have not retired yet. Even now when it comes to overall management and supervision, my children ask me for my opinion. There comes a satisfaction when everything is planned, taken care and done by yourself.
What are your hobbies and goals?
I rest during my free time or play with my grandchildren. I never really had a chance to pursue a hobby because of the little time I had. But I am interested in social service. On a lighter note, I like tasting different delicacies. My family always tells me that I am good at identifying mistakes and giving constructive criticisms. Be it the food we eat or the work we do perfection is important. We are opening our next hotel in Coimbatore, and it will have a convention centre.