The year was 1935. In a sleepy little countryside on the southwest coast of India - a visionary was planning to change the food habits of the world. His astute mind saw that, though the western palates traditionally favoured bland food, they would welcome a little extra piquancy and flavour, if only someone was there to show them how.
That pioneering spirit belonged to Mr. Vallabhdas Vasanji Mariwala. Quick on the uptake, he installed a spice processing factory on the banks of Alleppey's palm-fringed backwaters, and became India's first exporters of black pepper.
Mr. Vallabhdas was every inch a man of spices - right down to his last name. [In Gujarati, 'Mariwala' literally means 'Pepper-man']. He helped in the formation of the Pepper Exchange at Mattancherry, Cochin. He also introduced the convention of naming spices after the port towns where they originated - such as Cochin, Alleppey, Malabar and Tellichery.
The first seeds of enterprise planted by Mr. Vallabhdas Vasanji Mariwala have today grown a technology-based, quality driven multinational known worldwide as Vallabhdas Kanji Limited (VKL).
He remains an inspiration to all the generations that follow after him.