“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,” the top industrialist said in the first of apparently a three-part series.
His parents, Naval Tata and Sooni, got separated when he was young and was raised by his grandmother, Navajbai.
(Ratan Tata with his grandmother Photo: Humans of Bombay/Facebook)
The 82-year-old business magnate also talked about the differences he had with his father. “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,” he said.
Tata mentioned that he 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,” he added.
On his love life, the businessman said that “it was in LA (Los Angeles) that” he “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,” he further stated.
The bachelor industrialist had earlier revealed in an interview that he came close to getting married four times. “I came seriously close to getting married four times and each time I backed off in fear or for one reason or another. Each occasion was different, but in hindsight when I look at the people involved; it wasn’t a bad thing what I did. I think it may have been more complex had the marriage taken place,” he had said.