BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
If there’s anything Rajendra Hariprashad got out of his 11 years in Guyana, it’s that keeping family together is important, he told the Queens Tribune.
Hariprashad, owner of Ena’s Driving School and Rajendra Tax Corp., moved to Queens in 1989, at the age of 11, with his younger sister and parents, who left Guyana in hopes for a better life and more opportunities.
Considering that his parents only wanted the best for their children, they were really strict when it came to Hariprashad and his sister gaining their education. Therefore, after graduating high school, Hariprashad served in the United States Marine Corps from 1998 to 2002, and attended Campbell University, majoring in accounting and finance from 2000 to 2002.
During his time serving, Hariprashad not only became good at doing income taxes but he grew a special liking to it. In addition to doing his fellow marines’ taxes, he also taught a vast majority of them how to drive.
Although his parents wanted him to join the police force like his sister, Hariprashad decided that he wanted to try something else.
“I told myself that if starting my own business doesn’t work out then I’ll go for the police department,” Hariprashad said.
Little did Hariprashad know that the businesses he created in 2002 would grow as much as they have
When it comes to his tax business, Hariprashad feels more comfortable with keeping that part of him personal.
“I don’t want to hire anyone and teach them to do taxes,” Hariprashad said. “I’m afraid that they’d make a mistake and my name that I’ve built up after 13 years will be tarnished.”
However, Hariprashad’s driving school has grown drastically. Ena’s Driving School, named after his mother, is not only a family business, but has grown to over 30 people employed.
When Ena’s Driving School kicked-off in 2004, driving lessons were $25. Today it’s only increased to $31, making it still the lowest in the industry.
Last year, Ena’s Driving School was awarded the Best for NYC reward.
“I recently had a conversation with my mom asking her, ‘did you ever in your wildest dreams think that a driving school with your name would become such a big business?’” Hariprashad said.
Not only does Hariprashad work with his family but they all live together in one house as well.
“Some people may say, how does 10 people fit in one house, but we do,” Hariprashad said.
Growing up Hariprashad and his sister were close. They both worked and helped each other out. When they got married and had children, they wanted to instill that tradition into their children.
“We don’t live together because of financial problems,” Hariprashad said. “We just want to keep a tight knit family.”
In addition to both their families, Hariprashad’s parents also live in the house. Although his son is five-years-old and his daughter is two-years-old, the Guyanese culture, including the language, is being embedded in them because they are living in the same house with their grandparents whom lived in and experienced Guyana first-hand.
“I plan on taking the children to visit Guyana when they’re older,” Hariprashad said. “My wife and I took them when they were babies but it was for a funeral and were still too small.”
What Hariprashad wants his children to follow most about the Guyanese culture is the closeness of family.
“The younger generations don’t want to hang with their parents,” Hariprashad said. “I want for my children to follow in our family’s footsteps.”
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x 144 or email@example.com.