Ex-Chief Engineer now Owner of Splashdown Waterpark -Goa, Melroy Pinto in conversation with Capt. Rohit Sharma
You were a very successful and well respected Chief Engineer. What was the reason for the shift in career?
True. I was a Chief Engineer for more than 15 years. I had reached the pinnacle of my career, but felt I was stagnating. Although the Company asked me to come join the office, I didn’t fancy sitting behind a desk pouring over mails day in & day out, working like just one of the cogs in the big wheel of shipping. The 40-year itch does not apply to marriages only. I was getting that itch to move on. I switched companies and worked for a couple of years in each, but it didn’t quell the itch. When at home I would often look for jobs ashore. I did the rounds. I worked in ship yards, lectured in marine institutes, did short stints as a technical superintendent, conducted surveys and even landed myself a GM post in a gas engine company. However I always wanted to be my own boss and felt I had the potential to do more than just work for somebody. How did you come up with the idea of starting a Waterpark?
I zeroed in on two avenues that were lacking in Goa, fitness centres and tourist entertainment. I decided to look for ideas in Mumbai and bought a train ticket to Virar. I alighted at random station and asked the rickshaw to take me around to see the gyms & entertainment spots. For three day I visited video game parlours, bowling alleys, laser tag arcades, paint ball shooting galleries, etc. None of these appealed to me as I noticed a number of uniformed school children who were playing truant to spend their time and money here. I slowly changed my focus to amusement parks, where I was discouraged by being warned about ride breaks down and down-time due to non-availability of technicians and spares. At one such park, which was almost empty, I could hear screams of excitement coming from one corner of the park. When I walked over there I noticed they had just one water slide, and the crowd was all here, enjoying themselves. I had found what I was looking for. That’s when I decided on a waterpark, as Goa had the perfect climate for it, but didn’t have one.
How was the transition from Shipping to Shore based?
I don’t think the transition from Ship to Shore was as traumatic as moving from Salaried to Self-employed. That meant there was no fat tax-free pay packet coming in every month. I had to rely on my own acumen to be able to generate income. The construction phase was the most trying. I could see all my life-savings draining out like a dam that had burst its gates, and there was no income coming in. There were many times when I felt like stopping in my tracks and going back to shipping.
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