With dreams in his eyes and £ 450 in wallet, 26-year-old Nathu Ram Puri arrived in Britain from Punjab. He carried on his young shoulders responsibility of his family back home.
Now 40 years later, the Indian businessman based out of Nottingham, fondly called ‘Nat’ Puri, is associated with over 30 companies and has a business worth millions of dollars.
Recalling his early days, Puri told BBC Hindi, “I earned my degree in Maths from Panjab University... I enrolled for a diploma course in air-conditioning and refrigeration from National College, London.”
After finishing his diploma, he found a job in a Nottingham-based company and from then on, he never looked back.
In those early years, he also started his business venture. But, it was in the year 1983 that his life took a turn, when he bought the Nottingham-based firm in which he got his first job.
“That moment changed my life and my business started yielding profits. Thereafter, I bought many more companies and my business expanded...”
Puri always dared to experiment and work across a broad spectrum of businesses.
From running a hotel to manufacturing paper for cigarette companies to designing logos for the famous Mercedes brand, Puri has done it all.
Though a PuriCo Industries is based out of Nottingham, Puri still retains a deep emotional bond with Punjab.
“I am now 70… I was born in 1939 into a big family that lived in the small village of Mullanpur Gareebdas near Chandigarh”.
In 1947, the year of India’s partition, his father lost a lot of his wealth. Puri often remembers his childhood days spent attending classes under mango trees.
When asked about a cherished dream that he has accomplished using his fortune, he laughed: “I came to Britain with a dream of earning enough so that I could own a house in Chandigarh. But, I still haven’t bought one”.
Cricket is the love of Puri’s life. It often seems that he is more interested in cricket than his own business. In March this year, he was elected president of the Nottingham Cricket Club becoming the first Indian to head an English county club.
Not many are aware that many years ago, ‘Nat’ Puri had announced a reward of £50,000 to the first Indian batsman to score a triple century. “Though people forgot, I remembered my commitment and gave this prize money to Virender Sehwag after his historic innings in Multan against Pakistan,” says Puri.