Banking legend

Mar 07, 2013, 00:41 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

The figures speak for themselves: the bank's customer base currently stands at 25 million; the branch network stands at 2,544, (with an addition of 819 branches in the last two years.)

Malvika>> The figures speak for themselves: the bank’s customer base currently stands at 25 million; the branch network stands at 2,544, (with an addition of 819 branches in the last two years.) And it has grown at a very impressive rate of 35% CAGR since 2001. But these are not the only reasons why HDFC Bank’s enigmatic managing director Aditya Puri since 1994 has acquired something of a cult following in the circles that matter. His unique approach to work life and personal choices certainly adds to the mystique. Apparently, not only does the reclusive biz leader not carry a mobile but also eschews wearing a watch and is said to avoid carrying money on his person. When asked about these quirks apparently Puri has impressed people with his logical reasoning. “We lived for more than half our lives without mobiles,” he is reported to have said. “As for a watch, why should I be a slave to time? My office reminds me of all-important appointments.” And er, money? “Why do I need to carry any?” he is reported to have said to a friend. “On the occasion when I had to take a taxi to my hotel from the airport — I asked the hotel to pay and returned it later!” Nothing becomes a legend more than a few idiosyncrasies!

Aditya Puri

Taxing matters
>> They are a blue-blooded Marwari clan and their connections run the gamut of power and money. But word has come that various arms of their business underwent a close encounter of the not so very nice kind with tax authorities last week. What makes matters worse is that very few members of the family see eye to eye and have often found themselves on opposite sides of contentious issues. A bit unfair to paint them all with the same brush stroke is the word on the hill.

The three Ishaans
>> It could just have well been called ‘The three Ishaans of my life’, given that the name occurs those many times in the Abhishek Kapoor’s runaway hit Kai Po Che. Firstly, not only does the plot revolve around Ishaan Bhatt (or Ish as he is known in the film) played so well by Sushant Singh Rajput but then it also marks the acting debut of bestselling author Chetan Bhagat’s son Ishaan who plays Ishaan Patel in the film (Govind and Vidya’ son). And just for the record, the motormouth author has been heard saying that whereas he was thrilled at the way his novel The 3 Mistakes of my Life was taken to the next level by its makers, he went on the sets during its making as a father and not as a writer. We like!

Chetan Bhagat with his sons Ishaan and Shyam
Chetan Bhagat with his sons Ishaan and Shyam

Tented wonder
Anyone desirous of witnessing shopping frenzy Mumbai ishtyle should head today to the Design one spring summer 2013 event, where the popular shopping extravaganza is presenting for the first time a summer edition of the show at the Turf Club for deserving NGOs supported by the Sahachari Foundation and whereas the cynosure of all eyes will be the Judith Leiber bags, Raw Mango saris and jewellery by Suhanie Pittie and Nandita Jhaveri what has been undoubtedly planned as the centre of attraction is the new and exclusive, luxurious, air-conditioned tent within which the exhibition is going to be held. “The RWITC apparently hasn’t charged the ladies for the tent because they have rightly calculated that the clientele is going to be some of the city’s most celebrated divas who if they are impressed by the tent will undoubtedly factor it in for their next mega event!” Clever thinking!

E-mail overdrive
>> There is a certain breezy impersonal sameness to the missives: “This summer I did a drifting event in Malta. We made a short film on the same. I hope you like it. Cheers,” says one, and another, “With a view to do some racing in Europe next year, we have been doing some great testing at the BIC. We have made a small film on the same. Enclosed is the link of the same.” And they are all signed Gautam Hari Singhania, chairman & managing director, Raymond. Which is why recipients of these e-mails carrying YouTube grabs of the sporty industrialist are asking why he has gone into overdrive about his racing activities? “Not only did I receive a flurry of these,” said one of his acquaintances, but so did three other members of my family — including my aunt — who has never seen a racing car or track.” What’s up Gautam? Driven?

Encouraging art
>> It was known as an annual ritual where the top nine art galleries of the city would gather under one roof with the best of their stocks to reach out to untapped art markets in the suburbs. But so dismal is the scenario this year that after some brainstorming it is reported that leading gallerists from Chemould, Sakshi and Chatterjee and Lal have reached a collective decision to eschew the usual exhibitions and instead use the weekend to try and create new collectors. And towards this end, they have enlisted the help of an expert from England.

Anjali Raina
Anjali Raina

To be held this year from April 5-7, it will be conducted at the exclusive Harvard Room at the Land’s End (part of the university’s outreach program run by the redoubtable Anjali Raina, executive director of Harvard Business School’s India Research Center). A result of Ratan Tata’s generous endowment to the University, the hitherto exclusive hall is designed to replicate a typical Harvard classroom. Perhaps, the hallowed venue will provide the right inspiration to make the much-needed difference.  

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