NEW DELHI: When Bombay House reopened last week, after
a nine-month long restoration process, perhaps what grabbed most
eyeballs, was the ‘kennel’. It’s an open secret that the building
has been home to several stray dogs for many years, an outcome of the group’s
former chairman Ratan Tata’s love for them.
Earlier, these strays would often be seen sleeping in the reception
area or the security guards’ cabin, just past the main entrance.
But, in Bombay House 2.0, they have a room of their own.
Wondering what our
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The kennel is
designed to tend to each need of the pack’s, be it the flap door at
the base of the main door of the room for the dogs to move in and
out at will, or the separate bathing area for their weekly,
Saturday baths. It is also well-stocked with toys, chewies, feeding
bowls, dog biscuits and a daily supply of boiled meat that comes
from the kitchens at the Taj.
In fact, when Tata first saw the dogs resting in their new kennel,
he apparently asked if they went in voluntarily. “He was very
touched that they were all there, and that they really liked it,”
said Nandini Somaya Sampat of Somaya & K a l appa Consultants, the
architecture firm that worked on the restoration project.
Speaking about the construction of the kennel, she said, “When we
were working (on the restoration of Bombay House), whatever was
here (before), had to be maintained and upgraded. There are some
sacred spaces and old traditions that must be kept up. And the
dogs, of course, are such an important part of the space.”
On Ratan Tata's 80th Birthday, Some Life Lessons From The Man
Ratan Tata Turns 80: An Extraordinary Inning
Ratan Tata turns 80 on Thursday. From starting his
career on the shop floor of Tata Steel in the 1960s, and handling
the blast furnace, to heading the Tata Group as Chairman, it has
been a long and eventful journey for him. Being a part of a large
conglomerate like the Tatas and leading it came with its own set of
challenges. And, naturally, Tata has gone through plenty of ups and
downs - failed ventures, disputes, losses - in his professional
life. But, like a true fighter, he has always managed to overcome
As the business icon turns a year older, here's looking back at
some of his oft-used quotes that have been his life mantra.
All's Not Fair & Square
"Life is unfair and it’s nowhere written to be fair.
But it’s not only you or me, it’s for everyone. My talent differs
from yours and yours from another person’s, but we have equal
chances to succeed in our respective fields. When there’s a will,
there’s a way."
Fuel Your Dreams
"We always complain some external factors for our
failure and misery. But the reality is none of them affect your
dreams unless you give them the power to do so. Be focused on what
you want to do and go ahead, success won’t be far from you."
Don't Miss The Big Picture
"A life without excitement, ups and downs is too
much boring and dull. You need to be a storyteller to your
grandchildren, why don’t prepare for that from now? We get this
life only once, experience every aspect of it. No one ever have
grown without falling once, fail as many times as you can, then
only you can succeed. So quit complaining and start
No Slowing Down, Ever!
“Take the stones people throw at you, and use them
to build a monument.”
“I admire people who are very successful. But if
that success has been achieved through too much ruthlessness, then
I may admire that person, but I can’t respect him.”
Mind The Mind
“No one can destroy iron, but its own rust can!
Likewise, no ne can destroy a person, but its own mindset
“The day I am not able to fly will be a sad day for
Of Friends & Foes
"The people you meet in this life, all won’t be good
to you. Some will criticize, some will de-motivate and some will
try to pull you down. All you have to do is ignore them and move
on. You don’t need to explain them your journey nor let them
control your dreams. This is your life, live as you want."
The Code Of Compassion
"Businesses need to go beyond the interest of their
companies to the communities they serve.”
No Power Trip
"Power and wealth are not two of my main
Striking A Balance
"Ups and downs in life are very important to keep us
going, because a straight line even in an ECG means we are not
Paving A New Course
"The strong live and the weak die. There is some
bloodshed, and out of it emerges a much leaner industry, which
tends to survive."
The kennel can be accessed by walking past the length of the ground
floor lounge area. A quick right from there and you’ll be at the
door. The room’s a cheery one with its choice of yellow for one of
the walls and a black and white dog graffiti wallpaper for the
other. The two large windows that look out toward the street add to
the sense of openness. The activity level in the room depends on
the hour of the day that you’ve walked in. The dogs could either be
sleeping atop the wooden bunk or the darker, quieter section
underneath, or perhaps lounging on one of the seats spread around
Meet the members
The kennel is shared by eight dogs at the moment. The oldest of the
lot is Sheeba (around 11-12 years old), and the youngest is Munni,
a tan and white-coloured, month-and-a-half old puppy.
Then there is Goa, Jackal, Chotu, Bushy(also known as Sweety),
Julie and Simba. And just like any other house, this one has its
personalities and dynamics. “Sheeba is kind of this older, motherly
presence. Simba is the shy one, whereas Chotu, he’s the bratty
one,” Abodh Aras, CEO of The Welfare of Stray Dogs NGO said. Aras
and his team attend to the medical needs of the dogs, ensuring that
they are sterilised, and vaccinated annually.
The leader-of-the-pack title goes to Goa. He is named so, as he
journeyed from Goa to Bombay as a puppy. The story goes that he got
into the car of a senior Tata executive as a puppy in Goa and only
got off at Bombay House. There are whispers that he is Tata’s
favourite and that the feeling is mutual. “He would wait for Mr
Tata to arrive each morning at Bombay House and ride up the
elevator with him. Goa had even earmarked a couch to sleep on in
the office,” a long-time occupant of Bombay House said.
When Being A Lefty Helped Ratan Tata, Mark Zuckerberg And
Others With Life Lessons
Why Being A Lefty Is Nifty
A recent study in Biology Letters suggests that
lefthanders have an advantage in high speed sports. It's time to
pay homage to quick-reacting lefties in the boardroom.
When Ratan Tata took piano lessons, he had a
problem. "I could not relate my left hand to do something different
from my right hand," he said in a television interview. But when it
comes to running his group of companies, even from behind the
scenes, Tata's left arm has few equals. Till 2015, Tata's trusts
would even give scholarships to the Indian Left-Hander Club.
Perhaps it is one of the reasons some Tata vehicles in overseas
markets have a left-hand drive.
Dr Amar Bose
If Ratan Tata learned piano, Amar Bose tooled around
with a violin. And like Tata, his musical talents were not much to
sing home about. However, the violin lessons helped him develop an
ear for high quality sound. It set him on the path of launching
audio products that played a seminal role in enhancing the
experience of listeners. Tata spoke of his admiration for Bose in
the interview referred above. Bose is also known to have been a
lefthander. Great minds work alike.
Some guys have all the genes. Jobs had personality,
drive and a powerful intuition. He was also blessed with
ambidexterity. "I'm ambidexterous," he said in an interview to
Newsweek in 1984. At the time, much of the Apple staff was
left-handed. Jobs, a rebel and aesthete, seemed proud of this fact.
"Most of them are also left-handed, whatever that means," he told
Newsweek of his colleagues. "Almost all of the really great
technical people in computers that I've known are left-handed.
Isn't that odd?"
Some 20 years after Jobs made this comment, another
great technical person in computers was getting ready to take on
the world while at Harvard University. With the help of smart
colleagues, he set up Facebook. And he too, reportedly, was
left-handed. Zuckerberg has not said much on this important
subject. But there is one photograph that proves beyond doubt that
he is handy with his left hand. It shows him feeding a calf on a
farm in Wisconsin.
Codex Leicester has nothing to do with Jamie Vardy's
goalmouth strategy. It is a 16th century notebook of scientific
ideas and diagrams belonging to Leonardo da Vinci, the Italian
inventor and artist. In 1994, Gates bought the 72-page journal from
an auction for a record $30.8 million. The great Italian, whose
intellect and skill had far reaching impact on science art and life
as we know it now, was a lefthander. And so is Gates. "There's a
little bit of higher variance of talent, high and low, for
left-handers. But it's never been explained," Gates said.
Tending to their needs
The dogs are well looked after, with the security guards at the
building playing doting parents to this pack. First among equals is
a certain guard called Shankar Singh, who takes a leading role in
looking after the dogs. A story in the building goes that once, a
Japanese client, afraid of dogs, was visiting. He refused to enter
as one of the dogs was sitting in the corridor. It was Singh who
came to the rescue, as he engaged with the animal, and the client
was quickly taken in. He’ll be real proud when that finishing touch
— framed pictures of the seven grown dogs for the wall — gets