“KENT deta hai sabse shudh pani.” – Hema Malini
The above popular KENT line roughly translates to “KENT serves the purest drinking water.” Now, which water purifier have you installed at your home?
Pretty unusual question to come around, right? However, the answer is usually common or, let’s just say – Kent RO. Kent RO is a household name today. Right from the internet to the television to the billboards around everywhere, you can witness the presence of this revolutionary water purifier brand. Yes, it has competition, but let’s say they are more battling it out for the second position on the imaginary totem pole.
Clubbed with the excellent qualities and uber marketing strategies, Kent RO Systems Ltd. is a product of one man’s dream and the self-belief that he put into the years of labor. And what better way to power this dream and help it become a household name than by getting the Dream Girl, Hema Malini, herself as its mouthpiece.
Now, Hema Malini may not need any introduction after having ruled Bollywood as one of the most versatile Indian actresses and dancers for most of her life; the man behind the Kent RO deserves a lot more credit than he gets. So, who is this man, you might wonder?
His name is Dr. Mahesh Gupta, and this article is about his motivational journey and his belief that – If you dream and dream big, you are bound to succeed.
The craziest part about Dr. Mahesh Gupta’s journey to becoming the “Pure Waterman of India” was that he had never dreamt about it in his early life. He was a mechanical engineering graduate from the illustrious IIT Kanpur in 1975. He followed it up by pursuing a master’s degree successfully in the Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) Dehradun.
Shortly after completing his master’s course, Dr. Mahesh Gupta kick-started his career at the Indian Oil Limited (IOL). IOL is hailed as one of the most prestigious Indian oil corporations. He joined the corporation in 1977. However, despite it being a high paying job, he resigned a decade later, in 1988. Imagine quitting a handsomely paying job that works you studied for throughout your career. Well, most can’t, and the reasons are pretty obvious and valid too.
However, Dr Mahesh Gupta never belonged in any “Most Category.” Rather he was destined to be the one who would do something that only a few have done before him – Achieve Greatness.
Dr Mahesh Gupta always wanted to do something of his own, and despite having a lucrative job, his desire always kept calling him. After working for more than a decade, he knew that it was time to pay heed to his ultimate calling, i.e., his entrepreneurship voice and leadership beliefs in pursuing one’s own dream. He soon started a small company and named it SS Engineering. The company was aimed at developing products that can save oil. He ran the company from his backyard.
Now, if you have read so far, you must be thinking about how a person with a background in the oil industry and running an oil-based company can possibly find his calling in the water industry. And this is where I get to say, “The world works in mysterious ways, my friend,” and something on the said lines happened with Dr. Mahesh Gupta.
It was during a vacation where the idea of building a water purifier accidentally hit him. He was having a good time with his family on vacation when suddenly both his children were struck with jaundice. Jaundice, as we know, is caused due to unhealthy drinking water. The incident ignited him with a newfound calling and he went on a research spree to find a solution to unhealthy drinking water habits and sources.
Over the numerous researches conducted, Dr. Mahesh Gupta found that the UV purifiers generally used back then weren’t enough to purify water to a healthy level. For instance, most of these UV water purifiers could not remove some unwanted dissolved impurities in water. Finally, he imported membranes and a pump from the United States and used them to design an RO purifier. Thus, the revolutionary Reverse osmosis water purifying idea was born.
For people who still believe that path breaking ideas is a sure shot ride to a spectacular success story, let me tell you one thing – You are all wrong. It is the effort and commitment that one puts into their ideas that decide whether one will succeed or fail. Dr. Mahesh Gupta was no stranger to such facts as even though his RO technology turned out to be impressive, the result was completely opposite.
The RO water purifiers were getting sold as much as he would have liked. A consensus opinion was found that stated the purifiers were too expensive. Also, there was already massive competition in the market of water purifiers. As a result, he faced various roadblocks, from incurring losses to the lack of capital to the problems with permits.
His Kent RO Systems Ltd. was struggling, but as someone would say,
“Two things great leaders are excellent at are perseverance and finding solutions.” So, Dr. Mahesh Gupta remained unfazed and waited for the tides to turn as he became an entrepreneur today.
Despite not making huge sales, the company continues to slowly garner positive feedback from people who had bought his Kent RO purifiers. Simultaneously, in 2006, Dr Mahesh Gupta had a sudden realization where he understood the significance of advertising and marketing one’s product and services. He showed the perseverence that determined the outcome of leadership he believed in.
As a result, they figured that the brand needs a renowned personality. So, they roped in Hema Malini for advertising and marketing purposes. And little did he expect; soon, his Kent RO would become synonymous with the Hema Malini herself. Soon, more people started recognizing Kent, and the company continues to grow spectacularly till today from purpose to impact.
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A lone wolf by definition, a writer by heart, and a lost star with ambitions to light up the dark both inside and around me, sometimes by immersing myself into books or video games or traveling with a backpack to an uncertain destination believing that life is all about the choices we make and we don't.