Naidu recently revealed how Ratan Tata became his mentor on the Facebook page of Humans of Bombay. The post has gained immense popularity among netizens.
In 2014, Naidu was witness to the ghastly site of a stray dog that succumbed to a road accident. Taken aback by what he saw, Naidu started developing collars for stray dogs. These collars fitted with reflectors made it easy for drivers to see the dogs from a distance. With this, stray deaths could be averted.
Naidu's good deed caught attention and soon news of the unique collars were featured in a Tata group newsletter.
Naidu's father egged him to write a letter to Ratan Tata, a die-hard animal and dog lover.
"Word spread like fire and our work got covered in the Tata group of companies' newsletter," says Shantanu. "Around that time, my dad asked me to write a letter to Mr Ratan Tata, since he loves dogs too. I was hesitant at first, but then I said to myself, 'Why not?'"
Tata who only recently joined Instagram responded to the young man's letter after two months and very soon the correspondence got converted into a meeting.
Speaking of meeting Ratan Tata at his office in Mumbai, Shantanu says, "He told me, I'm deeply touched by the work you do!'..."
"I still get goosebumps when I think of it," adds Shantanu while revealing that Tata, the revered businessman invested in his venture.
Naidu's joy soared cloud nine when Ratan Tata asked him the billion dollar question - Would you like to be my assistant?
The young lad had just returned after completing his Masters but he had already promised to dedicate his life working for the Tata Trust in a previous interaction.
Shantanu adds, "As soon as I came back to India, he gave me a call and said 'I have a lot of work to be done in my office. Would you like to be my assistant?' - I didn't know how to react. So I took a deep breath, and a few seconds later said 'Yes!'"
Here is a gist of what Shantanu spoke with the Humans of Bombay:
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“I graduated in 2014 & started working at Tata group. Life was pretty smooth, until one evening, I saw the dead body of a dog on the road. I’ve always been fond of dogs & also rescued a few. So, seeing a stray like that killed me. I stood there thinking about bringing the body to the side, when another car ran over it—I was gutted. I knew that I had to do something. So I called a few friends & made a collar with reflectors on it, for drivers to see the dog from afar. The next day, we went & put these collars on stray dogs. I didn’t know if it would work, but when I received a message saying that a dog had been saved because of the collar—it felt amazing! Soon, word spread & our work got covered in the Tata group of companies’ newsletter. People wanted to buy our collars, but we had no funding. That’s when my dad asked me to write a letter to Mr. Ratan Tata, since he loves dogs too. I was hesitant, but then I thought, ‘Why not?’ So I wrote him a handwritten letter & forgot about it! Two months later, I received a letter from Mr. Ratan Tata himself! When I opened it, it said that he loved our work & would like to meet me—I couldn’t believe it! A few days later I met him at his office in Mumbai. He told me,‘I’m deeply touched by the work you do!’ I still get goosebumps thinking about it. He then took me to see his dogs & that’s how our friendship began. He also funded our venture! I left for my masters soon, but I promised him that once I finished, I would work for the Tata Trust & he accepted my request! As soon as I came back to India, he called me & said ‘I have a lot of work to be done in my office. Would you like to be my assistant?’—I didn't know how to react. So I took a deep breath, & a few seconds later said ‘Yes!’ It’s been 18 months since I’ve been working for him & even now, I have to pinch myself to know that this isn’t a dream. People my age have a hard time finding the right set of friends, the right mentor & the right kind of boss. But I can’t believe my stars that I found all these humans in one superhuman named Mr. Ratan Tata. People lovingly call him Boss, but I like to call him the ‘Millennial Dumbledore’—I think that name suits him the best."
Disclaimer: Image used in this story is a file picture.