When 27-year old Sarathbabu graduated from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad , he created quite a stir by refusing a job that offered him a huge salary. He preferred to start his own enterprise -- Foodking Catering Services . He was inspired by his mother who once sold idlis on the pavements of Chennai, to educate him and his siblings. It was a dream come true, when Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy lit the traditional lamp and inaugurated Sarathbabu's enterprise.Sarathbabu was in Chennai, his hometown, a few days ago, to explore the possibility of starting a Foodking unit in the city and also to distribute the Ullas Trust Scholarships instituted by the IT firm Polaris to 2,000 poor students in corporation schools.
In this interview with rediff.com, Sarathbabu describes his rise from a Chennai slum to his journey to the nation's premier management institute to becoming a successful entrepreneur. This is his story, in his own words.
Childhood in a slum
I was born and brought up in a slum in Madipakkam in Chennai. I have two elder sisters and two younger brothers and my mother was the sole breadwinner of the family. It was really tough for her to bring up five kids on her meagre salary. As she had studied till the tenth standard, she got a job under the mid-day meal scheme of the Tamil Nadu government in a school at a salary of Rs 30 a month. She made just one rupee a day for six people.