Lessons from the rich and famous


Which Indian businessman hates people wasting food? And which Indian politician-actor knows eight languages? Former ministerial adviser Nitin Gupta seems to have all the answers. Prachi Panchal catches up with him to understand what influences the influencers

Former Ministerial Adviser Mr Nitin Gupta regularly hosts visiting Indian billionaires, and leaders in Melbourne. And if you ask him what were some of the things they all had in common, he says they are good listeners and great time managers. “They value relationships, and have a very sharp memory. Often I get replies to my messages more quickly from these billionaires, than many of my close friends and family members,” says Mr Gupta. And adds, “Oh, and most of them are vegetarians.”

More on them…

★ Naveen Jindal, industrialist: I have had the privilege of sharing quite few meals with Mr Naveen Jindal, most of them at his Delhi residence. While he is a very good host, he is very particular about not wasting any food on his dining table.

Table manners follow you in your day to day business practices. No wonder when I visited various Jindal Steel and Power Limited establishments across India, and other parts of globe I found them to be efficient, and practices of waste minimisation followed everywhere.

He takes a strong pride in displaying the Indian National flag. I also found Mr Jindal a dedicated family man. He is passionate about fitness as well, honestly, the fittest billionaire I have met.

Ted Baillieu, Darpan Mittal and Nitin Gupta with Baba Ramdev

★ Prince Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar: He is a person who values friendships and relationships. He never forgets or lets his old friends and relations down. However ahead he moves in life, he always has time and regard for old relationships, for people who have stood with him in tough times.

★ Tulsi Tanti, industrialist: I found Mr Tanti to be down to earth and hard working.

★ Swami Ramdev, yoga guru: He is a very good listener with sharp ears and extremely street smart. He is always switched on. He has a sharp memory and great sense of humour. He knows the pulse of his customers and community.

★ Sri Sri Ravishankar, spiritual leader: He is calm, composed and diplomatic in his answers. When I asked him over lunch in Bengaluru which his favourite city was, he replied—the city I happen to be at any point of time becomes my favourite city at that time.

★ Prem Chand Gupta, Member of Parliament: He believes in loyalty under all circumstances. No matter what happens, he believes that one should never leave the people who helped you grow.

Nitin Gupta with Sri Sri Ravi Shanka

★ Sudhanshu Mittal, politician: A very good host and listener, he is a thinker who reads a lot as well. He is a serial networker, and pretty good at delegating tasks and trusting his team.

★ Mahesh Gupta, businessman: Mr Gupta knows his product in and out—complete product knowledge is his mantra. He can open up any of the machines he has helped develop and reassemble it, all on his own. He has the constant desire to improve technology and efficiency, and is always willing and open to change.

★ Rahul Gandhi, Congress president: I personally found Rahul to be a smart person, a very good listener, someone who could come up with very good and articulate questions on a new topic or strategy. Though some people may make perceptions otherwise based on certain media stories, I found Rahul to be smart, genuine and straightforward.

★ Khushbu Sundar, actor-producer-politician: Hard working, disciplined, dedicated, and passionate, she believes that if injustice has been done, one must fight for one’s rights. A little known fact is that she is a smart investor when it comes to investing in real estate and can speak eight languages.

One thing she told me was that sometimes one can learn a lot from one’s children. It changed my perspective on life.

★ Priyanka Chaturvedi, Congress spokeswoman: Before finding fault in yourself or your product, find the fault in your opposition or competing product and just attack or criticise that, Ms Chaturvedi once told me. She believes that one needs to focus more on shortcomings of others and highlight it, rather than focusing on any possible short comings that you may have.

Nitin Gupta (right) with Darpan Mittal, Ted Baillieu and Priyanka Chaturvedi

★ Shriprakash Jaiswal, politician: Humble and down to earth, he goes out of his way to keep in touch with his electorate, and is always willing to go the extra mile to keep them happy.

★ Lindsay Fox, businessman: Street smart, very good sense of humour, willing to go out of his way to help friends, those are the three qualities I can think of about Mr Fox. I was having dinner with him at Crown when discussions began about technology and iphones. He asked to me to hand my iPhone over to him, then within seconds activated some features on it and was able to tell me my travel history. He is very tech savvy.

★ Bert Dennis, property veteran: He has a good sense of humour, strong family values, and is a very good host as well.

★ Hon. Ted Baillieu, former Premier: Hard working, passionate and genuine, calm, composed and patient, I can go about Mr Baillieu. He is generous, and willing to acknowledge the contribution of others in his growth. It’s very humbling when he openly acknowledges the people who supported him during his speeches and conversations.

I have spent a lot of time with him since July 2006, and I take pride in the fact that I converted him into an “honorary Indian”.


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