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Ratan Tata Reveals Impact of Parents' Divorce and How Indo-China War Caused His Break Up

Ratan Tata (File photo)

Ratan Tata (File photo)

In an interview to an online portal, Ratan Tata also spoke about the impact his grandmother had on him and his brother in their formative years.

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Ratan Tata is one of the most widely loved business figures in India. The chairman emeritus of Tata group makes headlines often for his humility and philanthropic activities.

Recently, he spoke heart to heart to an online portal in a three-part series. ‘Humans of Bombay’ shared the first part of the series, where the industrialist talks of his childhood, his equation with his grandmother and parents’ divorce.

The 82-year-old business tycoon also recalled his time in Los Angeles, when he almost got married. The post also featured some of his never-seen before photos from the past.

Shared on the portal’s Facebook and Instagram pages, the post has gone viral with multiple people commenting how incredible it was for the global icon to share his life story online.

Ratan Tata revealed that he had a happy childhood overall, but suffered from “ragging” and “personal discomfort” following his parent’s divorce. He recalled that his grandmother brought him and his brother up and instilled manners in them.

Even after being bullied in school as their mother remarried, grandmother’s lesson of retaining “dignity at all costs” stayed with him, Ratan Tata said.

He fondly then remembered how his grandma stood by his choices and decisions in life, when his father often thought otherwise.

Having the courage to speak up “despite being soft and dignified” was also something Ratan Tata learnt from his grandmother

After college when he started working at an architecture firm in LA, he “fell in love and almost got married”. However, the relation did not last after he came back to India because of the 1962 Indo-China war. "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," he wrote.

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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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People across social media platforms could not wait for the following parts to be published.

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