Hi my far, near and dear ones, exactly a year since I started this column and the journey has been a scintillating one for sure!
On this 1st anniversary I think it is befitting that ‘talkie with rekhs’ features this
Ahead of times-Gifted-Spirited youngster with a zest for life that’s so exhilarating!
My amma always quoted various Aesop’s fables to me, when I was young. Today I was reminded of this story of the tiny mouse that nibbles the net and frees the mighty lion…we always learn from life and people, even if they are younger than us!
Though Archana Kalpathi is not mousy in the least(!) her opening statement created a huuuuuuge impact within my gray matter. As I walked into her room, I was surprised or should I say, stunned, to see, someone as young as my daughter, a girl in her late 20s, who welcomed me with a warm smile. We started talking and the 1st statement she made was, “when people meet me they often say, oh you have achieved so much though you are such a young girl”! Her protest was why the gender bias? Young, okay, can be a matter of surprise or appreciation, but what does it matter male or female?! The statement should be “oh you have achieved so much for someone so young!”
And I thought to myself wowwww! How is itI never thought of this?!
Daughter of Andal and Agoram, Archana and her sibling Aishwarya, are part of the age old tradition of the joint family system. Her uncles Ganesh and Suresh with their respective wives and children all live under one roof. What’s truly endearing is that Archana thinks of her cousins as her siblings!
That’s definitely a unique way to be brought up in today’s world…kudos to the AGS family.
Archana’s destiny I think was sealed in 1990 when her uncle Kalpathi Suresh
started Software Solution Integrated (SSI)
SSI was started as a training institution and was known as a provider of quality training in IT. Leading training institutions were then focusing on Cobol and dBase. SSI looked at more advanced database tools like Oracle and this required counseling students on the future of this industry. The effort paid off. This is what is meant by being in the right time at the right place and with the right idea!
Archana remembers those times vividly. She proudly proclaims, “our computer lab was in this building (her office now) in the ground floor and I remember all 14 of us cramping ourselves upstairs”. Their lab worked 24/7 since the family was there to open the doors to enthusiastic students who wanted to put into practice what they had learnt for the day! Her humility is evident when she says we are a close knit ordinary middle class family. I thought to myself term ‘middle class’ is the most misunderstood word in our Indian society. It is not something to be condescending about, but be proud that out of sheer sweat and mettle, a star is born! I’d say ‘a self-made person who has no hereditary treasure trove to fall back on’!!
Having studied in PSBB, then Artificial intelligence, University at Buffalo, New York, she came back to her family and favorite city to create her own imprint.
When asked what is the connection between A.I and theaters, she laughed and said, “ maybe I can understand enthiran the movie better!?”
Her debut faux pas was when she signed a huge land deal for her theater and prided herself in having done a great job only to realize it was a Himalayan blunder! Her expressive eyes gleam with self-worth as she said, “my dad asked me to go back and re-negotiate! It was terribly embarrassing but I did it…”
Wow! Certainly not easy by any means.
Archana’s dream is to have as many as 100 screens in the next 5 years or so all over Tamilnadu, though she herself agrees that it is a mammoth ‘mission (im)possible’ task. She has a highly capable team with Mr Rangarajan as CFO. Sharad heading Marketing and Joyson Operations…these 3 musketeers are her
rock for her to rock!! Needless to add, their muskets are foresight and thorough planning.
What I liked the most about her is her willingness to listen to new ideas. Her mind is always open to suggestions, innovations however experimental though she comes across as a very grounded person…blessed with a far sighted vision. She is now bringing out a Loyalty card that will be extremely beneficial to the patrons of AGS theaters and ensure film viewing as a memorable experience.
It must be tough running 2 theaters with 9 screens, 9 more on the pipeline, balancing family and albeit a sprightly impish 3 year old Adithya at that!
Archana however is an intelligent tight-rope walker and has learnt her balancing act to the B! Bright, buoyant with cheer and busy following her dream…way to go, Archana…you are a muse to many other women …ooops! Gender bias?! ME??!! Let me re-phrase that to, ‘may you be a muse to many…young and old’!
And I hope one day Archana calls me and says, “ 2 roads diverged in a wood, and I…I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference’ rekhs!
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