```From a Clerk to King` of Five-Star Hotel Culture``

Rai Bahadur Mohan Singh Oberoi ` the grand veteran of the hospitality trade founded India`s first and best multinational even before most of us knew what MNCs were all about. In 1922, leaving behind his wife and daughter, the 22-years `old Mohan Singh arrived in the glittering summer capital of the Raj. He wrote an exam for the post of lower division clerk in the PWD Department. The examiner failed him. Without realizing it, the department had lost one of the most enterprising men of Modern India.

Shattered by the result, Mohan Singh went for a stroll on the Mall. And once again, he saw another building that transfixed him. It was the imposing nine-storied Hotel Cecil considered by the burra sahibs as the best this side of world. The determined young man pushed the glass door open and walked inside the lobby. He went straight to an imposing looking Englishman and said, `Sir, I am on the look out for a career in the hotel industry. I`ll do any kind of job here.` Ernest Clarke looked at the smartly turned out young man and said, `We have a vacancy for a clerk to look after the hotel`s coal supply. The pay is Rs.50 a month. Interested`` Mohan Singh Oberoi that day took his first step towards his ultimate dream-the hotel industry.

He rented` a one-room tenement near the hotel and began his work in right earnest. Expected to be at his job at 4 a.m., Mohan Singh was usually there two hours before the appointed time to see that everything was in place and the coals burning so that every guest in the hotel would get hot water by the time he or she got up.

Oberoi, `The idea was never merely to make money. The compulsion was to think big, always to offer the best and let it happen. Name, fame, profit would automatically come in.`

What I learnt from him:

He is my hero ever. In my opinion, the best success story of India to inspire our children and us. His father died and his family could not afford the school fee of 25 paise per month. He became a clerk in Cecil Hotel in Shimla. About him my tribute is:

`All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.`

Mark Twain 1835-1910: letter to Mrs. Foote, 2 December 1887:

In my opinion, he brought to India a 5-star culture. I salute him. Also, I salute him for his son Bikki becoming what he has become, who has kept the flag flying higher and higher. Very rarely does this happen in a family business. I will say `ten out of ten,` i.e. complete success has been achieved, well done!

Subscribe with us