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When tragedy gave birth to an idea

Anil Joshi (30) had everything going for him. The Class 10 dropout was making Rs 10 crore a year in the export business. The July 2005 floods changed all that when Joshi’s car broke down at Sion and he waded through chest-deep water to his Ghatkopar office. Sweta Ramanujan reports.

mumbai Updated: Nov 02, 2009 00:54 IST
Sweta Ramanujan

Anil Joshi (30) had everything going for him. The Class 10 dropout was making Rs 10 crore a year in the export business.

The July 2005 floods changed all that when Joshi’s car broke down at Sion and he waded through chest-deep water to his Ghatkopar office. “Due to some infection, I ended up damaging my spine,” said Joshi, his tall frame slightly hunched over.

After a surgery, he was confined to his bed for nearly two years with no income.

It is then that he began scouting for new business ideas and found a viable one in valet parking services. “I called many banquet managers from my bed to offer my services. At first, I used my personal cars and gave the service for free,” said Joshi.

Gradually, he started getting clients. Slowly, he started moving about on a wheelchair to visit clients. “But it was counter-productive as seeing me like that people felt I was incapable of executing any task.”

He then began relying on a walker which he shuns while meeting new clients. “It is painful but I have to do it,” he said.
Today, his company has an annual turnover of Rs 7.5 crore. But social compulsions have forced him to operate under a different name.

“I can’t let my photo be published,” he said, a little uncomfortable. “My community is very small and I don’t want people to know that a man who once drove a different car every day now parks other people’s cars.”