If you are anywhere on the Internet, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, you must have seen a young man hanging out with Rata Tata often. He is Shantanu Naidu, a 28-year-old, serving as the Deputy General Manager, Chairman’s Office at the Tata Group.
He works closely with the icon Ratan Tata and the two share an incredible friendship. But how did he get this job?
Shantanu opened up about this in a conversation with Humans of Bombay in 2019.
Soon after graduation, Shantanu started working with the Tata Group in 2014. His life was normal just like any other employee until one evening when he witnessed a stray dog’s death on his way back home from work. What happened next, was horrible.
I’ve always been fond of dogs and also rescued quite a few. So, seeing a stray dog in that condition killed me. I stood there thinking about bringing the body to the side of the road, when another car ran over it — I was gutted.
The incident affected him so much that he decided to do something to avoid such accidents in future. He along with some of his friends made collars with reflectors to help drivers see the dogs from afar.
It worked and their effort was appreciated in the Tata Group of Companies’ newsletter.
I didn’t know if it would work, but when I woke up the next day, I received a message saying that a dog had been saved because of the collar — it felt amazing!
Although the collars devised by them were commended by everyone, Shantanu couldn’t manage to get any funding to design more collars for bulk orders. There were people who wanted to buy them.
This is when Shantanu Naidu’s father advised him to write a letter to Ratan Tata, whom people knew for his love of animals, particularly dogs.
I was hesitant at first, but then I said to myself, ‘Why not?’ So I wrote him a handwritten letter and forgot all about it!
Two months later, Shantanu received a letter signed by Ratan Tata himself asking him to meet in person. The two met in the legend’s office and had a chat. Ratan Tata told him:
I’m deeply touched by the work you do!
Next, Ratan Tata took him to a place to see his dogs, and that’s how their incredible friendship began. He also funded their venture of collars. Shantanu had to leave for the US to pursue his masters, so he told Ratan Tata that once he is back, he will dedicate his life working for the Tata Trust.
When he returned, the dream job was already waiting.
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!’
And that’s how a simple handwritten letter asking for help for noble animal welfare cause, landed Shantanu the job of Ratan Tata’s assistant.