Bringing the Rainbow – Book Review

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The greater your storm, the brighter your rainbow”, that’s an old English saying.

 Bringing the Rainbow”, the autobiography by HSIL Chairman RK Somany, chronicles his rise to the top, and is showered with narratives of the various storms he encountered in his professional, business and family life on his way to the top and how he battled them believing in the bright rainbow that would follow every storm.

Penning down the story of his life, mostly as a memoir but at many places diverting to be a valuable business guide and advice for upcoming entrepreneurs, the book takes us through the ups and downs of his family and business right from the time of setting up of the country’s first vitreous ceramic sanitary-ware plant in Punjab (now in Haryana) in the 1960’s to the business conglomerate that it is today.

 In various chapters, highlighting the important role that his family played in shaping him as a successful businessman, and thus highlighting the importance of family in one’s life, Mr. Somany recounts the contribution of his family, starting with his elder brothers, then his wife right from the time when he got into family business, following Independence when many leading Marwari traders relocated to Kolkata with their families, his independent entry into business as a newbie in his twenties being put in-charge of overseeing the building of India’s first vitreous ceramic sanitary-ware pant and then running it independently.

 Narrating an absolutely candid memoir filled with personal and professional anecdotes, the autobiography recounts the several professional struggles in his journey where his work ethics remained the only reason for his success whether it was the harassments he had to face as a businessman during the Emergency, the anti-enterprise attitude of the socialist era in the country, the rubbing on the wrong side in minor skirmishes with some leading political figures and how he dealt with the problems of his products being sold in the black market sticking on to his principled stand or his tough stance against dealers trying to sell his products above the MRP.

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Without fearing skeletons tumbling out of the closet, the author painstakingly recounts the personal relations he shared with each of his joint family members, the mysterious death of two of his wives and how he successfully wades through all adversities including how he acted according to his conscience while being pitted against two of his own brothers in major business battles.

 With chapters ranging from giving business advice to students of business and upcoming entrepreneurs, the book is surely an inspiring account of his real life journey to reach the pinnacle of achievement.

 Mr. Somany’s story surely is a chronicle of the country’s post-independence industrialisation and hence would surely be of interest to both management students as well as connoisseurs of a well told story of how he managed to make HSIL a reputed brand still standing tall with a leading market share in spite of the fierce competition from all leading international brands.

 In the very first chapter, the author witnesses a magical rainbow as he drives through a hot summer which washes away all his tiredness. Every single action he undertakes during his personal and professional journey, he asks himself whether he is brining rainbow to his work, which forms the title of this book.

 In a nutshell, #BringingTheRainbow surely inspires us to look at the world through rainbow coloured glasses.

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