Living in Mumbai has it’s own advantages. The city of dreams is home to one and all – Bollywood superstars, corporate czars, wolves of the Dalal Street and the million faces that make up this city. I remember when I was a kid, I would often be questioned with curious anticipation by people from other cities/towns - “You live in Bombay( the 90's). You must have seen Amitabh Bachchan / Sachin Tendulkar / < replace any famous personalities >, right?”. I assumed the question to be a rhetoric, but when persisted, my answer in negative would evoke an expression of shock and disappointment. Which one was more prominent, I could not tell.
My sole honest claim to having seen one of the biggest superstars for real happened by chance as I was sauntering around Band Stand on one fortunate Sunday evening. It was SRK waving down from the terrace of his building to the crowds gathered outside Mannat who wouldn’t budge. It was more of a silhouette at twilight, as the hand rose from some 5-odd stories above. So, yeah, that was that.
But, when I joined TCS and saw the video “Keepers of the Flame” on the induction day – I’m sure most of you TCSers would recollect – I had this one desire. And it was to see Mr. Ratan Tata in person.
It has been almost six years since I have been in this company and finally, the moment was realized.
The Banyan Park office often has regular visitors from the top management of the TCS. This campus has also hosted the honourable Australian Prime Minister. And so it turned out that the senior management of the TATA group were in the Banyan Park campus on Thursday. It was around evening time that my friend and I stepped out after snacks and saw some people gathered at the car pick-up point. Curiosity took over as suddenly my hastened footsteps drew me closer to that spot. I first noticed the TCS CEO – Mr. Rajesh G, then the TATA group chairman – Mr. N. Chandra and finally lo! It was Mr. Ratan Tata himself.
The few of us who were standing there seemed pretty much dazed and awestruck – me, I sure was! And then, they waved at us to come join them for a photo. The realization that this moment, when I am in the same frame as the doyen of the Indian industry would be captured to be frozen in time was overwhelming. Everyone went on to shake hands with him and he patiently and very graciously received our obeisances with a smile. The charm, the charisma, the persona! “Thank you” was all I could say and really all I had to say.
It is moments like these when you realize once again what privilege it is to be associated with the TATAs. For a group that strongly believes in giving back to the society, I felt proud that my tiny minuscule contribution is also helping build a better world for everyone. For I finally got to shake hands with the man who is a legend, carries forth the grand legacy and is the “Keeper of the Flame”.
"Something like this!"