Ratan Tata
Ratan Tata

Allowing a rare peek into his personal domain on Valentines Day eve, renowned industrialist Ratan Tata revealed certain private details like how he fell in love once, and "almost got married".

It happened in Los Angeles, after college when he landed a job at an architecture firm, where he had a great time and the weather was beautiful, he had his own car and loved his job, sometime in the early 1960, when Tata was in his mid-20s.

"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," he said.

However, he later went to visit his flame, optimistically believing that the person he wanted to marry would come to India with him.

"But because of the 1962 Indo-China War, her parents weren't okay with her making the move anymore, and the relationship fell apart," said Tata - the Chairman Emeritus of Tata Group - in a candid post on Facebook page 'Humans Of Bombay'.

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(1/3) “I had a happy childhood, but as my brother & I got older, we faced a fair bit of ragging & personal discomfort because of our parent’s divorce, which in those days wasn’t as common. 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 & 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’ve fought back against. I remember, after WW2, she took my brother & 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’ & 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 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 & graduated with a degree in architecture. My father was upset & there was a fair bit of rancour, but I was finally my own, independent person in college & it was my grandmother who taught me that courage to speak up can also be soft & dignified. After college, I landed a job at an architecture firm in LA, where I worked for 2 years. It was a great time–the weather was beautiful, I had my own car & loved my job. It was in LA that I fell in love & almost got married. But at the same time I’d 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 & 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 & the relationship fell apart.”

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Though he has not mentioned, perhaps that unrequited love made the 82-year old completely immerse himself in looking after his huge business empire and he remained a bachelor.

There were no regrets, he said. "I had a happy childhood, but as my brother (Jimmy) and I got older, we faced a fair bit of ragging and personal discomfort because of our parent's (Naval H. Tata and Sooni Tata) divorce, which in those days wasn't as common as it is today."

Soon afterwards, when his mother got re-married, the boys at school started saying all kinds of things about them, constantly and aggressively, he recalled.

However at that time, his grandmother, Navajbai Sett-Tata raised the two brothers - Ratan and Jimmy - and taught them to retain dignity at all costs, "a value that's stayed with me until today".

Most of those situations involved "walking away" otherwise they would have fought back against them, he admitted, sharing fond memories of his strong bond with his granny.

"I remember, after WW2, she took my brother and I for summer holidays in 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. Its difficult now to say whos right or wrong," said Tata.

Opening up on the series of differences he harboured with his father, Tata said while he wanted to play the violin, his father insisted on the piano, he wanted to study in a US college, but his father insisted on the UK, he wanted to become an architect, but his father wanted him to become an engineer.

Here again, it was his grandmother who rushed to the rescue. "If it weren't for my grandmother, I wouldn't have ended up at Cornell University (College of Architecture, New York) 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," Tata wrote, adding that though his father was quite upset with all this.

"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 and dignified," said the living legend behind the Tata.

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