He represented India in 33 international Test cricket matches, and became the pioneer in exporting foreign luxury brands here. At 67, Dilip Rasiklal Doshi wears many hats. He is the India head for Mont Blanc India and country head for Globetrotter, a high-end luggage brand. The fitness freak talks to Phorum Dalal about his passion for the Rolling Stones and his aversion to Algebra
Dilip Doshi, Head, Mont Blanc India
It all started in living rooms, verandahs and innumerable gullies — where kids hit a six by breaking a window, a four by hitting a parked car and used wooden sticks for stumps. Dilip Rasiklal Doshi’s journey began as a naughty brat, who was often punished out of the class. “That suited me,” says Doshi, who went on to represent India in Test cricket in the ’70s and ’80s. At 67 today, he wears many hats. Doshi is the India head of Mont Blanc and country chief of Globetrotter, a luggage brand.
Dilip Doshi at the Mont Blanc store at Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Colaba. Pics/Shadab Khan
Making it to the Indian team
As a child, Doshi was allergic to Algebra, Geometry and the Sciences and more drawn towards the languages, History and Geography. Born in Rajkot, most of Doshi’s formative years were spent in Calcutta, where he studied Commerce at Calcutta College and represented the university in cricket. “My brother, Naren, who is a year younger to me, was my partner. We played together,” says the former cricketer.
In 1994, Dilip Doshi founded Entrack India, which became the sole distributor of many foreign brands in India, including Mont Blanc
And when the time came to choose between studying law and pursuing cricket professionally, “The decision was clear,” says Doshi, who joined the Indian team at the age of 32. Recalling the moment, he adds, “It was a huge relief and a fantastic feeling.” Doshi soon became close buddies with the then captain, Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Bishan Singh Bedi and Shivlal Yadav. “Those days, things were different. We had more time for each other. Today the work-life balance has changed,” says Doshi, who watches the Indian Premier League matches whenever he is free, but doesn’t necessarily change his schedule to make time for them.
Taste of luxury
With a natural knack for business, in 1994, Doshi founded Entrack India, which became the sole distributor of many foreign brands in India, including Mont Blanc. Luxury is a misleading word, says the sexagenarian. “To me, luxury means an extremely well-made product which has a long-lasting value, traditional heritage and is user-friendly. Luxury is not about being fashionable or footing an expensive bill. For me, sipping a well-made tea is luxury,” he says. Rather than a boss, he calls himself the leader of his team. “I believe in giving a lot of freedom to my colleagues. They should be entrepreneurs in their own right. But I cannot tolerate lethargy and lack of purpose,” says the Rolling Stones fan, who usually clubs his penchant for travel and incurable passion for the English rock band by attending their gigs all over the globe in his free time. He was recently in Macau and Tokyo to attend their concerts. It is a known fact that he is a close friend of Mick Jagger.
The self-proclaimed fitness freak, who does yoga four to five times a week, takes a brisk walk for 40 minutes every day, also turned vegan recently.
It was his inquisitive nature to know the food he consumes that led to the inception of Organic Haus, which sourced its items from Germany. “It was my dream. But currently I have put it on the backburner. The Organic haus stores are closed but there will soon be presence of the concept in different formats at the right time. We were five to seven years too early in the market,” says Doshi, who believes that the importance of foods without any additives, produced with a lot of care, is picking up slowly now. “Organic food requires a different kind of mindset. It requires acceptance of a new way of life, too,” the recently-turned vegan says thoughtfully.
Life and times
Doshi, who has lived in Rajkot, Calcutta and London, presently resides at Altamount Road in Mumbai. “One has to adjust to whichever place one finds himself at,” says Doshi, who loves the Marine Drive in the city. “We are a close-knit family, and I love spending time with my two adorable grandchildren — Arjun is five and Ambika is three. This generation is full of energy and far more alert than the previous one. The only thing that upsets me is that children are often burdened, as they carry such heavy bagpacks on their back. “It spoils their posture. We were allowed to do what we wanted, but today, the stress on academics is way too much,” says the self-confessed family man.
With professionals half his age turning victims of exhaustion and fatigue, where does he find the energy to juggle more than one role? “I work on priority. I have an interest in life, in the surroundings and in fellow human beings. It is an essential way of life. The modern generation tends to overlook this aspect. Thanks to their overindulgence in electronics, they seem to be losing the art of conversation day by day,” Doshi concludes.
Favourite food: Green moong
Favourite drink: Water
Quote: It is the mothers who make a nation — Napoleon Bonaparte
Favourite song: Midnight Rambler by The Rolling Stones, specially the live version
Born: December 22, 1947, Rajkot
First job: Handling the family business with my father best advice i ever got: Focus only on the controllable and do not worry about the rest