“It was very interesting; I would talk to Mr. Tata in English and he would talk to Perret in French, and this is how the negotiation went until we finally got to the fee, which was 45 million francs. Now, for the first time, Mr. Tata spoke to me in Gujarati as he didn’t want Team Perret to understand what we were saying. I was surprised and didn’t even know Mr. Tata could speak Gujarati. Later he told me that he learnt it from the servants in his house!” recalls Minoo Mody.
"Quite naturally, the Tatas offered a working environment that no other organization in India could equal. And then there was the sobering fact that after working for 13 years, I had no savings whatsoever; in fact, I was in debt!" says Xerxes, when he was just joining Tata Group in the mid-1970s as a 38-year old.
It took just one meeting for Minoo to warm to Anil. Xerxes joined Tata Press in mid-1975 as general manager; Anil followed a few months later as systems manager. “Minoo and I got along well, but he was not sure what Xerxes and I could do” Anil recalls, while speaking about the three years it took to overhaul the company, both in terms of personnel and machinery.
It was in 1984 when Bhaskar was becoming familiar with the watch industry in India, sellers, makers, middlemen and all. But this is not to say he was assailed by doubts. After all, what was an IIT-Madras, IIM-A graduate doing as a traveling salesman? His friends, who were doing very well in hotshot, visible positions would say: “Kya kar raha tu?!”