'There is no stability in any business'
Naidu Subramaniyam began tutoring in 1987, soon after his Class 12, when his father refused to support him any longer. The father wanted the son to pursue an engineering or BSc degree but Naidu refused because he was interested in the arts. So he was asked to fend for himself.
“At that point, I didn’t have any other skill besides teaching, so I decided to try my luck with it,” recalls Naidu. He registered with a tutor’s bureau and within a week, found a tuition student in Vashi. Soon he moved on to batches of twos and threes, and then to group tuitions, working from 6 am to 10 pm, moving from house to house in different parts of
Mumbai. Simultaneously, he was also pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree from Khalsa College.
In 1989, after his father actually threw him out, he moved into a truck driver’s house in Sion-Koliwada as a PG. Post 1991 and graduation, a friend put him up in a hostel room for almost six years, till he finally moved into his own flat in Chunabhatti.
Today he has 150 students and rents a space at King’s Circle where he coaches them in batches of 20. “The numbers became too big to accommodate at someone’s house, so I had to do this. But I can never go the way of commercial coaching classes, where they have as many as 150 students per batch. I’d like to be a corporate identity like Mahesh Tutorials, but I’m
afraid I may only be able to do it at the cost of quality. It’s hard to find a balance,” he sighs.
Doesn’t he miss getting into the big league? “Well, if the choice is between earning a living and doing justice to what I do, I would choose the latter. The day I stop making a difference to the children, I will stop teaching,” he declares.
Does the lack of job stability ever bother him?
“There is no stability in any business. People who speak of job security also get laid off,” he retorts.
Naidu, who is still single, is not too concerned about how he fits into the marriage market. But he is sure of one thing: “I cannot be assessed on the same parameters as someone with a conventional job. Someone out there might understand that; but if she doesn’t, I have no problems.”