If K Madhavan, Managing Director of PEPS Industries has his way, everyone will be sleeping like a baby. His company is a Coimbatore-based company manufacturing high-end mattresses, some of them priced at a cool Rs1.5lakh. Ask him why anyone would want to spend lavishly on a mattress and he counters that by saying, “We spend a minimum six to eight hours a day sleeping and so its funny that we don’t think it is important to spend money to get a good night’s sleep.”
Expensive, hi-tech, soft-as-a-cloud mattresses apart, Madhavan has seemingly cracked the code to a stress-free life. Because apart from getting sufficient zzzs, he juggles hobbies with his busy schedule that help him enjoy a relatively stress-free life. “I have a lot of hobbies and most of my friends wonder how I manage to pursue them,” he remarks before naming “Gardening” as his favourite hobby. “Ours is a stressful job and I find that the only way to vent it out is through gardening,” he reasons before getting into the details. “I have around two and a half acres of land in Hessarghatta and I have cultivated a nice garden there, growing fruits and vegetables too! I have invested a lot of time and money taking care of it,” elaborates Madhavan joking that this time around, he even managed to “grow and sell alphonsos for Rs5000.”
“The natural ecosystem follows me everywhere I go!” he quips about how his hobby has been a constant companion for years, even at his workplace. “Every company I’ve worked with would be known by its gardens because I would personally take care of them,” he reminisces. But that’s not just it. The other, more interesting hobby that the avid greenthumb enjoys is, “collecting cactii.” “Aren’t they beautiful to look at?” he queries, looking at our surprised expressions. Before long, he says, “I love cactii and love collecting them more so.” He then points out how plants sometimes outlast their keepers and therefore, are better legacies you can leave for future generations. Recalls Madhavan, “I bought a Golden Barrel, a variety of cactus, when my son was four-years-old and today, he is 28 and the cactus is still alive and well.” “I read an article,” he continues evocatively, “where it mentions that the Golden Barrel, also known as Mother-in-Law’s Cushion grows up to one-and- a-half diameters in 50 years. I won’t be alive to see it but my son’s children will see it.”
And if that’s not all, Madhavan lets in on that he enjoys a good game of tennis every day and dabbles in painting when he finds the time. “I paint oil on canvas but it takes me a year to finish my abstracts,” says Madhavan. Then, delving into the importance of having a hobby, Madhavan says, “An individual who doesn’t have a hobby leads an empty life.” “You need to develop a hobby that will be your permanent partner. I may be 90 someday but I will still be able to indulge in gardening. And that’s my advice to everyone: Develop a hobby because it will keep you young,” he firmly concludes.