You don't have to be an industrialist

Rahul Bajaj, Chairman, Bajaj Auto

One evening when I was 16, my father sat with me for a post-dinner conversation. He said that according to Indian tradition, when a son turns 16, the father should start treating him as a friend.

And so, he was speaking to me both as father and as friend. He made it very clear that though I was born in a business family, there was no compulsion for me to take on the reins later.

I was free to pursue whatever career my heart desired. I specifically remember him telling me that it was absolutely fine if I wanted to be a tennis player or a mountaineer. But, he added, I must always aim at being the best.

There should be no compromise on this. If I chose tennis, I should aim at winning at Wimbledon, or if I climbed mountains, I should aim to climb Mount Everest.

Even if I wanted to be a cook, he said, there was no harm in it as long as I aimed to become a top chef. It was my choice to stay with the family business. But his emphasis on excellence has always inspired me to push boundaries.

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