The Versatilist

A rhythmic space for Hindi Poetry, Book Reviews and Travel Stories

Maya Bathija

Book Review: Paiso (How Sindhis do Business), Maya Bathija

  • Author: Maya Bathija
  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House
  • Pages: 216
  • My Rating & Recommendation: 3.5/5, a good read for readers with an inclination towards business stories


This book is informative and inspiring. It appeals to the part of you which wants to dream big and make it happen despite odds. It also focuses on a communities’ (Sindhis) propensity for business and bears a testimony to their success. The people from this community have achieved success across the globe by building large scale profitable businesses .

Maya Bathija meticulously captures the early life, family details, financial struggles, failures and turnaround stories of five Sindhi businessmen/women. Each of them have build large businesses in their respective fields. In five brief chapters successively dedicated to:

  • 1) The Harilela family led by David & Gary Harilela
  • 2) Merrimac Ventures led by Ramola Motwani
  • 3) Americorp Group led by Harish Fabiani
  • 4) Lakhi Group led by Dilip Kumar Lakhi and
  • 5) Embassy Group (led by Jitu Varwani)

The stature and achievements of these individuals and their empires come to life.

While covering each of these businesses, Maya craftily weaves the stories that stay with the reader. The uniqueness of Hong Kong based conglomerate Harilela Group where more than 100 members of family stay together in a family mansion at Kowloong Tong in HK. The gritty tale of Ramola Motwani who was widowed at an early age and yet single-handedly built the Merrimac empire in Florida while raising her two sons, the reader’s interest is seized albeit, a few portions where too many details make the reading a little slow and laborious.

A relatively unknown fact about world’s largest diamond polishing factory owned by the group in Surat, is bound to make an Indian reader swell with pride.

However, the roller-coaster business adventures of Harish Fabiana spanning through Network 18, Nimbus, India Bulls, Avendus Advisors & Edelweiss make provide some revealing insights into the journey of these companies followed by the glitter of Lakhi Group which is the largest exporters of diamonds from India. The author smartly saves the story of Embassy Group’s Jitendra Virwani for the last. From an iconic fall to the 25th richest on Forbes’15 list, the journey of this man shapes an inspiring and indulging end to this book.

Final Word

Overall, the book gives the reader a detailed view into the lives of great Sindhi business tycoons who generally prefer to stay away from the limelight (a Sindhi trait) in many ways. It makes for a good weekend read, especially for readers interested in the business themes. Happy Reading!

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