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Updated: Jul 17, 2020

How does it feel like when you meet the person who inspires you to dream big?

My journey at Warwick University has been an experience which has left its mark in my life. From great experiences and to all those learning curves. One such great experience was when I got to meet Mr.Ratan Tata at our university. Let me take you back to 14TH November 2018.

It was my module week when I had Sales Management classes and also was my best friends birthday. We were having a great time in class with all our discussions, interactions and group work, well it's more a normal day at Warwick since the classes there are really interesting. Now is the time I get to know that Mr Tata is on campus. At first, it wasn't surprising because I had already heard that some have met him since the Tata group has a notable presence in Warwick with research centres, innovation labs and whatnot. But then my friend whom I told had his birthday happened to send me a group photo with Mr Tata.

Now the timing he sent me the photo wasn't a great one, because I was in the middle of a class and it is something exciting for me to hold myself back in class. The rush of thoughts and wishing was surely something I had never experienced before although it was just about meeting him. I am sure some of you are wondering, 'What special about it?'

Let me tell you 'What's Special?'

The Tata group is India's oldest business houses. Being the oldest could bring in some fame but it isn't something the Tata's worked for. From the founder, Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata to the now Ratan Tata, the family has one common trait and that is to work for the people. The advantage of being the early ones to tap into large industries has been their stepping stone but it wouldn't have been appreciated as much as is if it wasn't for their generosity and a vision for a better India. Their business success is something to be analysed by gurus but we are here to understand about what makes them 'The Tata's'. It was back from the founders period from when they started their philanthropic journey. Jamsetji Tata, an entrepreneur knew that for India to grow from its roots of poverty it had to be strengthened by the intellectuals. And that's when he established that Indian Institute of Science to harness the brilliant minds that it produces today.

In today's day and age, we get to see businessmen, industrialists, and young entrepreneurs striving for success, realising their dreams and trying to leave behind a legacy. But a legacy these days is more of wealth creation, although there are exceptions. And the contributions they make is usually for the fame. What good is philanthropy when you show the weakness of the person whom you’re helping? Maybe it’s just your day but that definitely doesn’t give you the right to express their need.

What surprises me is that there were hundreds of businesses like Tata, which flourished during the early years of India before and after independence but the Tata's remained among the very few who left behind a true legacy. When I say true legacy, I mean not just a business which left behind a fortune but more of history in building a nation.

Every move of every leader in Tata is shaped by the values and purposes defined by its forefathers. Also, I would recommend for someone inspired as I am about the Tata's to have a look at their website to understand the purpose of businesses and the finest and invaluable leadership lessons driven by unmatched vision. So when I say the group helped India in building itself as a nation, what exactly do I mean? I would be an amateur to talk about the contributions made but I would like to say that their footprint lies in almost every industry possible in India and also in the world. Now imagine standing in front of the Himalayas and thinking about its presence and the enormity. That's exactly how I feel when I talk about the Tata's. The lack of words, and the pride I take to talk about their philanthropic work, businesses run for the people, and their unmatched vision for a nation and its people is a great honour every time.

Think about the last time you ever felt the same about a business.

Hope I have made it clear as to why 'It's Special' for me.

So coming back to the day when Mr.Ratan Tata was on campus. — Finally, we had a break, and as excited as I was, called my friend to know how his experience was when they all met Tata. Also, my friend is a great admirer of the Tata's, so we had a lot to talk about. From how Mr Tata arrived, how simple he is, his patience, his entourage, guesses on what work he might have visited the university for and to the least , the car in which he had arrived in. Isn't that a proper fanboys conversation?

Haha! Well, it was lunch hour for us and we ended our conversation with me wishing to have had the opportunity to meet him too. Thinking about how great it would've felt, I walked with a few friends to get my lunch from a local Indian vendor. On our way back we chatted about how great the Tata group is, how prestigious their heritage is and how blessed employees feel to be working under the group. Now is when one of my friends gets a phone call from his friend who told him that, Mr Tata is still there in the WMG building (a building at Warwick University). Imagine walking fast x 10 times, that's how quick we walked that day. Not running but walking since we were carrying our lunch.

We reached the entrance at WMG, looked everywhere and could suddenly spot a group of students posing for a group picture. We were so excited that we could hardly recognise anyone and all that we were focused on, was to spot Mr Tata. Till date, I can't believe that I stood there like a rock and helped fellow students in getting a group picture with the chairman of Tata Sons, Mr N.Chandrasekaran. My brain may be had stalled until when Mr Chandrasekaran patted my shoulder while he exited the building. I wish I greeted him well.

We almost had given up the search and started walking towards our common spaces to have our lunch. Yet again we met a few students on the stairs who told us that he is right here on this floor and asked us to hurry. — Now what I am going to narrate is one of the most amazing moments in my life.

I see Mr Tata through a glass door. My friend rushes at the door and I am there struck looking at my inspiration in front of me. I had a big smile on my face from the time I entered the room and till I exited. What better could be when Mr Tata too looked at me with a smile. I remember every footstep filled with joy that I experienced that day when I walked towards him. Also experienced an eye contact like never before, as I walked towards him without blinking. I approached him without no hesitation, or more like I already know Mr Tata from a long time, shook his hand and told him these words, " You are the single most amazing human who has ever inspired me" for which Mr Tata smiled and I further asked if I could get a picture. He said, "Sure". I then asked my friend to help me get a good photo. Soon after I turned towards him and thanked him. He said, "All the best" and smiled. Soon after a couple of photos with other students, he left.

" You are the single most amazing human who has ever inspired me".

A photo of Nirup Kamagethi meeting Ratan Tata at the University of Warwick, WMG, Coventry, United Kingdom

This moment in my life has been a moment I would love to relive. And maybe even talk a bit more. And yes, after he left, I don't think anyone could ask me to be less excited as I carried the same smile throughout the day, and the evening when I narrated the entire scene to my friends and family.

What a moment to cherish!

Sharing this moment with you all, for me is to let you all understand that it's really important to have an inspiring personality as your role model. For you, will learn and understand what your 'WHY' really is.

Finally I would like to thank Mr.Tata for his generous contribution to the Nation in fighting the pandemic And to have once again shown the world what philanthropy and ‘purpose of humans for one another' actually means.

Thank you.

- By Nirup Kamagethi Chakravarti

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