J Srinivasan: The rubber baron

Member of the Group board in charge of strategic planning of the Rs800-crore TTK Group, J Srinivasan shares personal memories of childhood deprivations and the desire to move on in life. By V Jagannathan

Chennai: "I wish I had Rs200 to settle my family's debts; get some rice and good clothes for my mother, brother and grandmother," used to be the fervent yearning of a forlorn nine year lad, while busy collecting fallen banyan leaves at four in the morning in Thirupukuzhi village.

He knew it was sheer wishfulness. His immediate priority was to return home at Damal village near Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, bathe and walk barefoot the three kilometres to his school.

During the day while he was away at school, his mother J Saroja would stitch the leaves into plates, which the boy had to deliver to various shops on returning from school. The meagre earnings were just enough to buy a meagre ration of broken rice for gruel. On a bad day the family's dinner would be just boiled sweet potato.

Some sad stories do lead on to more cheerful events. The young lad is J Srinivasan, now a director of the Rs800-crore turnover TTK group.

As the head of TTK LIG Limited, it was Srinivasan who put India on the condom-manufacturing map of the world. Today, TTK is the world's largest condom manufacturer with an annual capacity of 1,065 million pieces.

"TTK LIG is the singular achievement of Srinivasan," asserts T T Raghunathan, group vice chairman.