I have always been able to see beyond the curve and understand what’s going to be the new craze or trend; more importantly, understand which businesses will do very well in the future.

In the 90s, I had advised my businessman friend who was looking for some new ideas for business to start gyms or fitness clubs. At that time, there were only 3-4 such fitness clubs in the entire city of Pune. And those were very old, such as the Fisher’s Gym and the Barbell Club in Camp, the Law College gym.

He was not convinced. But within a few years, he came back to me and admitted that he had been a fool not to listen because by that time Talwalkar’s had set up a chain of gyms, and scores of other gyms had been set up in the city.

Similarly, I had advised another businessman to buy a piece of land overlooking a lake near Pune and to set up a water sports & pedal boating (like you have in Mahabaleshwar) along with a restaurant or resort.

He came and saw the place, liked it but thought it was too far away!

Today the lake is surrounded by restaurants; there is a resort that offers boating and a floating discotheque.

He also came back to me later and admitted his mistake, and then he asked me for fresh ideas!

When everyone was jumping on the crypto bandwagon I was the only one among my friends who stood aside and told them it was an unworthy investment and had no future. A few made money initially but many lost a lot of money.

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I accepted the responsibility of setting up KZen Equities, an outbound investment company, knowing that Indian investors needed to diversify their portfolios and guard against the country and currency risk by investing outside India in 2008-9. Everyone told me that India was the place to invest. They did not understand that investing in other countries did not mean one should not invest in India. It was asset allocation. It was portfolio diversification. It was risk mitigation. And it was an opportunity to secure profitable assets outside India using the LRS offered by RBI.

Today most HNI’s and businesses have investments outside India, either in stocks or real estate.

Another example was when I backed managed futures funds and recommended investing in a Managed Futures Fund but specified that they select gold as the denomination for their NAV. It offered a choice of gold, USD and Euro.

This was in 2007.

Only one investor heeded my advice.

During the sub-prime crisis and global economic crisis when Lehman Bros collapsed and Bear Sterns shut down and all markets ran in the red, this investor got a return of 115% on his investment in Superfund, because gold shot up from around $600/oz to $1200/oz in 2010.

Coming to the present…

I am very close to nature and I understand that no matter what humans do, they will always have a yearning to get back to nature.

The crazy following enjoyed by the farming game in Facebook some years back was just an indicator that this is something that won’t go away very quickly.

At present, it is reflected by the innumerable farmhouse plots and bungalows that are being sold all around the country. As soon as people earn surplus funds, they want to buy a second home, somewhere in the countryside!

But what this is doing is destroying virgin nature.

There is hardly a place where man has not intruded.

It is going to be extremely difficult to find untouched and unspoilt natural beauty in India in the coming years.

Which brings me to my future plan – I want to build a forest. A nature preserve. Privately owned.

If you would like to join me and support this dream, CLICK HERE.

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