On most mornings, I would go across to my father-in-law's house adjoining mine on Aurangzeb Road in the heart of New Delhi for a morning cup of tea and a chat about DLF.
Chaudhry Saheb, as everyone called him, kept saying that though DLF had lost heavily due to the Urban Land Ceiling Act , the private sector's role in the real-estate business could not be ignored and it would be back with a bang.
Such words of wisdom instilled a sense of added confidence and optimism in me.
I also remembered George Hoddy's advice to me many years ago about lobbying to change laws rather than having to circumvent or break them. Now, with the meeting with Rajiv scheduled, I had a chance to do exactly that.
I arrived at Rajiv's office with a detailed presentation on how the urban landscape could be transformed if archaic laws were changed and the private sector made a partner in township development.
I also tried to portray what it would mean for India in the long run.
I started by outlining that the requirement of urban housing was falling way short of demand.
I also explained how the private sector could play an important role in developing houses for the vulnerable sections in a planned manner.
I then detailed the complexities of getting government approvals for any private housing project. Rajiv and Arun Singh listened attentively, interjecting with their own questions, and I sensed that this was a god-sent opportunity.
The biggest hurdle to private-sector involvement in urban development were politicians, bureaucrats and policy makers who would have to be convinced about why it should be allowed. It required intense lobbying to drive home the logic and get the laws and regulatory norms changed.
I knew I was the only one who could bring this about as the real-estate sector at that time did not have anyone else who could or would put things in the right perspective.
On the political front, Rajiv and Arun Singh had the clout and the approach to bring about that change as well.
At the end of the meeting, they advised me to meet Bhajan Lal, the chief minister of Haryana, and lay out my plans for Gurgaon before him. Accordingly, I drove down to Chandigarh to meet Bhajan Lal.
He had called in Khurshid Ahmed, the minister for finance and town planning in his government, to attend the meeting. Bhajan Lal was an astute politician and since I was meeting him on Rajiv's suggestion, he was eager to hear what I had come to see him about.
I outlined my plan to develop a colony in Gurgaon.