Scrolling through social media feeds, you may have come across the story of Shantanu Naidu, a young man in his twenties who caught the eye of industrialist Ratan Tata for his startup that develops reflective collars for stray dogs to prevent traffic accidents. nocturnal. It is less well known that Tata first went on to invest in the Naidu startup and gradually offered Naidu to work in his private office as a personal assistant. Now the 28-year-old has put together a short memoir of Ratan Tata titled I Came Upon a Lighthouse.
In this book, Naidu shares her close and candid interactions with Tata, and discusses how her casual virtual interaction with the philanthropist happened. “I have known Mr. Tata for five years. Over time we talk a lot about different topics and causes. There was a camaraderie that developed before I left for an MBA from Cornell University (New York). There I immersed myself in entrepreneurship and philanthropy, and always had the intention of going back to India and working. Upon my return, Mr. Tata offered me a job in his office, primarily as a personal assistant, to manage his initial investments and also to help him with TATA’s trust initiatives. ”
Did all this motivate Naidu to write a book on Ratan Tata, using illustrations, to elaborate on his personal experiences being part of the renowned man’s inner circle? “Five years ago, when I started to get to know Mr. Tata better, my mother suggested that I write everything that is happening in a little red journal. Over time, that red diary gave rise to two, three red diaries, and I realized that my parents and the people who learned about my stories and experiences with Mr. Tata were eager to learn more about him. So I felt that it was worth sharing this privilege with people, ”he says.
What makes Naidu’s work different from other books written on the business mogul thus far is that his writing is from a millennial’s point of view, which is a fresh young perspective! “Mr. Tata has so far been seen as a hardcore industrialist who has a lot of wisdom and humility. This is correct, but there are also other nuances to it, which people have mostly failed to capture in the books, because I think they are written largely from a business mindset and not from a younger, millennial mindset. This is sad because Mr. Tata usually surrounds himself with so many young people, as he feels that being around young people brings him back to that age and can exercise his mind. All these reasons prompted me to write this book from a fresh, young and sincere perspective. ”
“Mr. Tata has so far been seen as a hardcore industrialist who has a lot of wisdom and humility. This is correct, but there are also other nuances of it that people have failed to capture in the books. “- Shantanu Naidu, author
One of the key points Naidu wants to highlight through his book is how friendships between generations turn into wonderful relationships. “Being around and learning from Mr. Tata is a privilege that I recognize, it is something that must also be documented by yourself because over time the memories fade, the stories fade. Intergenerational friendships are something that is not talked about or encouraged much. However, I love them! And it’s a lot of fun meeting the older generation. My story is a perfect example of what an intergenerational friendship can look like. Through this book, I also wanted to bring to light the fact that friendships don’t have to be between the same age groups or classes … my relationship with Mr. Tata broke all those barriers. Mr. Tata is someone who is always willing to learn and is looking for opportunities to speak with young people; which forms the basis of any friendship: the fact that they want to listen to each other. “
This book, which is expected to be published in January 2021, according to Naidu, will solidify the fact that Mr. Tata leads his life by example. “As much as people would have liked a book I wrote that says 10 things I learned from Mr. Tata, this book is totally different. You see, his way of mentoring is different. Lead by example, which is why it is important to tell the story as it happened. What I have written in the book is my perspective on how Mr. Tata was being a trend by example or how he was teaching by example. The interesting thing is that when someone reads a story as it happened, they may find more lessons from there. So I have not come to a conclusion that this is the lesson I learned from him. Of course, I wrote what I learned from him, but by recreating what I saw and where my life overlapped with his, I tried to give the space for readers to interpret certain lessons themselves from what kind of person Mr. Tata and everything you can learn from him. So instead of having a book about 50 Things I Learned from Mr. Tata, I think seeing it exactly as it happened is more informative, ”Naidu adds.
The illustrations by Sanjana Desai make the book visually aesthetic and exciting. Naidu explains the reason behind incorporating illustrations: “Visualizing how things happened helps me understand something in depth. In the millennial aspect, we are very limited in our attention span. So illustrations help us to visualize and engage in a story quickly. It also makes sure people don’t picture it too far from how I saw it. I wanted the emotion to be amplified and some of the illustrations definitely do. If it’s going to be a book that comes from the place of love and affection, then these illustrations were important. Mr. Tata has always been drawn and shown in pictures dressed in business suits etc. But in the illustrations in this book, you’ll see the guard down. It has captured our interpersonal moments more realistically. “
“I wanted the emotion to be amplified and some of the illustrations definitely do… Mr. Tata has always been drawn and shown in the images dressed in business suits, etc. But in the illustrations in this book, you will see the guard Let Down. “- Shantanu Naidu, Author
So it’s natural to ask, what was Ratan Tata’s reaction when Naidu told him about this book about him? The author responds: “I had been telling Mr. Tata that I would write a book about him, since I used to write about my experiences with him in the red newspapers. Not once did he object. When the time finally came, I asked for his blessing and he told me that everyone has their point of view, everyone has something to say and everyone’s version of the story is different and that you should go ahead and tell yours. So I did that … I gave him the full draft and when he read it during the lockdown, he was very excited. He found it a very joyous read and he was moved because the memories he had captured were exactly as they had happened. ”
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