The company’s growth left a big impression on Lalit’s son. From the time he was in school, and even before he had entered his teens, Abhishek was sure of what he wanted to become when he grew up. At school, teachers would often ask students this inevitable question, as to what they wanted to become. Most of them would give predictable answers—doctor, engineer, scientist…’But I was clear that I wanted to be in business, and that too in the liquor industry. It has been a passion since then,’ says Abhishek.
The youngest of three children, Abhishek was different from his siblings. There is an anecdote that the family often narrates for a good laugh, and which also underlines Abhishek’s personality.
It was when the children were in school. Shailja, three years older to Abhishek, was always a nervous wreck during the week of exams. Often she would complain of a stomach ache and cry her way to school. Her brother, on the other hand, always played it cool. The night before exams, while the others would be busy revising their lessons, Abhishek would watch a movie.
This one time, though, when it was exam time, Abhishek asked his sister to watch a movie too, telling her she could relax and have a clear mind for her exams the next day. Shailja followed his advice. And she failed that exam. Abhishek, as usual, was among the top three in his class. During his tenth standard board exams, Abhishek was very much the cool, colourful chap, going for a Samantha Fox concert in Delhi a day before he was to sit for one of the papers.
At school, he was notorious for his back-bencher antics. But the teachers would seldom punish him because he was also among the toppers.
He was in the ninth standard when his father asked him to study hard enough to be the topper. He did, and stood first in his class. But he told his father, ‘Dad, you wanted me to come first. I have come first. But coming first is different from being second or third. If it’s about the second or third place, I get time to do other things I’m interested in. So please let me be like this.’ Lalit agreed, and replied, ‘See, I don’t expect you to look for a job somewhere else. So you go on with your extra-curricular activities. I will be happy if you are in the top three.’