28 January, 2021

Of Steel, Metal Birds And More

The Tata sky is a limitless firmament, and its gods a generation of Parsi gentlemen like no other

Of Steel, Metal Birds And More

Telling the story of the Tatas, both the Indian business empire that now looms so large in Britain and the remarkable family which built it, has taken me back to my own childhood roots. I entered the Tata story in July 1948 as an eight-month-old infant on Air India’s first flight to London. I was accompanying my parents and the legendary Tata chairman, JRD or Jeh, who was the foun­der-chairman of this new airline and a passionate aviator himself. As I grew older, some of my earliest memories are of sitting on Uncle Jeh’s knee, while he cheerfully mended my broken cuckoo clock in his private repair shed in his back garden.

Those were the days when Bombay, as it then was, still had gracious mansions and bungalows with lush, tropical gardens, full of flowers, birds and, yes, even king cobras. My father worked for the Tata Group for a decade as chief of staff to JRD Tata and head of public relations. My parents and the Tatas were also close personal friends. Mother, a keen golfer like JRD, regularly made up a foursome with him at the nea­rby, ex-colonial...



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