Famous industrialist Ratan Tata recently shared some of the inspiring yet unheard moments of his earlier life. In an interview, the Chairman-Emeritus of Tata Group shared many things about his childhood and young age that has been a well-kept secret so far.
Ratan Tata is a man who needs no introduction. There are many aspects of his life that are still not well known. He talked about some of these in his recent interview with Humans of Bombay.
What caught our eyes was his grandmother’s constant support throughout his struggling life moments. Be it the ragging that he went through because of his parents’ divorce or to take a stand for his dreams against his father’s desire, it was his grandmother who not only inspired him but also helped him to fight for himself.
While recalling his childhood and the influence of his grandmother, Ratan Tata mentioned:
“I had a happy childhood, but as my brother and I got older, we faced a fair bit of ragging and personal discomfort because of our parent’s divorce, which in those days wasn’t as common as it is today.
But my grandmother brought us up in every way. Soon after when my mother remarried, the boys at school started saying all kinds of things about us — constantly and aggressively. But our grandmother taught us to retain dignity at all costs, a value that’s stayed with me until today. It involved walking away from these situations, which otherwise we would have fought back against.
I still remember, after WW2, she took my brother and I for summer holidays to London. It was there that the values were really hammered in. She’d tell us, ‘don’t say this’ or ‘keep quiet about that’ and that’s where, ‘dignity above everything else’ really embedded in our minds.
And she’s always been there for us. It’s difficult now to say who’s right or wrong. I wanted to learn to play the violin, my father insisted on the piano. I wanted to go to college in the US, he insisted on the UK. I wanted to be an architect, he insisted on me becoming an engineer. If it weren’t for my grandmother, I wouldn’t have ended up at Cornell University in the US.
It was because of her that even though I enrolled for mechanical engineering, I switched majors and graduated with a degree in architecture. My father was quite upset and there was a fair bit of rancour, but I was finally my own, independent person in college, and it was my grandmother who taught me that courage to speak up can also be soft and dignified.
After college, I landed a job at an architecture firm in LA, where I worked for two years. It was a great time — the weather was beautiful, I had my own car and I loved my job. It was in LA that I fell in love and almost got married.
But at the same time I had made the decision to move back at least temporarily since I had been away from my grandmother who wasn’t keeping too well for almost 7 years.
So I came back to visit her and thought that the person I wanted to marry would come to India with me, but because of the 1962 Indo-China war her parent’s weren’t okay with her making the move anymore, and the relationship fell apart.”
At IFORHER, we are not only in awe of Ratan Tata but also his grandmother who showed the world what a true hero looks like. We hope many more would seek inspiration from Ratan Tata’s story and would fight for their dreams in the most dignified way possible.