Power talk

Milestone Interview with Mr. Dilip Chhabria

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He is a man of passion and determination. What keeps him going or rather racing’ in the right direction in the right manner is undoubtedly his humility…

As I enter his cabin, I find him sitting there embraced in a calm personality that he is. He looks uninhibited and ready for the questions. He talks of technology and how Apple is the pioneer in smart phones. He is knowledgeable, intelligent and up with the times while his cars are futuristic and ahead of times! His demeanor clearly needs to be described in the noun visionary’.I begin talking to him asking about his background..

You are a man from automobile designing background. It is not a traditional kind of career. You pursued something which is evidently passion. Apart from passion what is it that is required to be where you are?
Passion, hard work, willing to put long hours, willing to sacrifice your work life balance.I agree!

DCD has come a long way. Where other companies take a longtime to see success, DCD has taken a relatively a short time to reach this stature. A lot of hard work and ambition goes behind making a DCD. What is it that you had to sacrifice or face during the journey.
As I said you have to sacrifice your family life. No holidays, no movies. If you enjoy your work, it does not seem like work. For me holiday is torture and work is vacation! One has to sacrifice short term needs for long term gains. One has to sacrifice a lot monetarily. To reach where we are, we had to be visionary. It is all about eschewing short term goals for long term goals. You have to have your back on the wall. If you don’t then you won’t succeed.

What got you interested in designing. Were you a car enthusiast as a child?
Yes. I was always passionate about cars. I did not know that automobile designing could be a career. Obsessively passionate about cars.  A person might generally like cars and phones and other things. It is not obsessive passion. You have to be singularly focused for that particular product. If you are, that means you are obsessively passionate about that particular thing.I think to myself, rarely does a person have obsessive passion about something in particular and when a person has, he becomes a DC! My respect for the man increases as I still see that spark of passion of cars in his eyes while he is answering this question.

Your designs are solely targeted towards the elite. You have been into aircraft refurbishment and vanity vans for a lot of B-town stars as well. You are one person every automobile lover would know of. What does it take to handle so much success? What tips will you give to the next generation automobile designers who wish to be entrepreneurs like you?
If you are willing to sacrifice everything else and make it your one obsession then you will get success because the market is competitive today. If I would start a DCD today, we would not have reached here because it was unique at the time I started out.If someone starts today, it will take a lot of money and time. Designers usually have some arrogance. They are right brained. So how do you get yourself to the other side? You are a designer but you have to be humble. So humility is the key to success. If you work hard, willing to take risk and living on the edge, it requires courage.

You have an institute by the name of DYP-DC which is partnered with the DY Patil University. Tell us more about it.
The institute started 2 years back. There is no other institute in the world which is automobile centric and where the candidate gets a real time training on the job. This is not there in any other part of the world. This is something unique. The industry is fast growing. We need far more people today for automobile designing.

DC lounge is a fabulous idea executed in actuality by you. Do you think in India in near future there can be mobile offices.
Yes I think we already have millions of mobile offices in the sense that if you are talking or texting or even emailing while driving or being driven it is an office. We are giving you more space, comfort of a business class jet, entertainment. Lounge was born for people who are sitting long hours in traffic or travelling long distances and need comfort of a luxury car.

Behind every successful person there is always a source of inspiration. What is your source of inspiration?
It is very funny, but I do not have any particular source of inspiration. I don’t look up to anything. It is so natural for me to be driven and do something. The drive comes from the fact that you need to grow your business. When you need to grow you become a marketer and find niches that you can explore. That is what drives us. It is not an inspiration from a person. I love my craft. If you love something, you need to grow. You want to grow because you want to survive doing it. The restlessness is to better yourself  against the worldwide peers. That is the driving point. You want to keep growing. If you have the building blocks, you tend to grow more and more. It is a win-win for all!

I continue to the next question, the answer to which might  leave you shocked and with some learning as well!

What is coming up next from DCD? We know you are a painter and sculptor too! Will we be seeing your paintings and sculptors becoming a new venture in the near future?
I am always doing it on a daily basis. I try to optimize my time. I believe that 480 min are a lot. People are amazed how do I cramp so much with 550 people, 6 operations. You know what is the fact, I still have a lot of time. So if you really prioritize your time, with no other distractions, you can do a lot. For me, everything else is achievable. You can earn money and all that. But how to get elapsed time? You are only getting older. So the most precious commodity is time.My showrooms have my paintings. So if a customer goes into my shop to buy a car, he ends up buying a painting and an art lover goes in to buy a painting will end up buying a car! So it’s a plus for me. We sell 30 lakh worth paintings every month.

The past 2 decades have been excellent for DCD. You have come a very long way. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
We will be a small volume manufacturer largely. Our offerings to individual customers as we cater to them now will be lesser and lesser. Manufacturing will consume a lot of my time. The vision that I have is to leave a legacy of a lasting institution which can keep growing automatically on its own. I would actively take part in the designing activities in the company. That is the best way to grow. When you grow it helps everyone.

I agree with him and it indeed is true. I learn the key ingredients for success are undoubtedly humility, courage, time management, sacrifice and most importantly passion.This man behind bringing luxury on wheels to India, has given us the most important qualities a person needs, to hit the bulls eye of success or rather, to win in the race of life!

I thank him for his precious time and walk out of his cabin. While coming out I recall his words elapsed time does not return. And even though my time spent with him will never return, I take away with me very strong lessons which will help me better myself and climb the ladder of success!

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