Here’s a story about Ruchir Sharma. This must be about 20 years ago. Ruchir asked me to dinner to his house (his younger sister Shumita worked with me in the show called India Business Report that aired on the BBC). He said there will be a few other journalists. It was a modest second-floor house in Jalvayu Vihar in the then far-out Noida, if I remember right. I went up the cramped staircase and knocked on the door. It was like any middle-class house, Ruchir’s parents, all dressed for the occasion, were sitting on the sofa welcoming the guests. There were more people in an inside room. “Have you met Mr Ninan?” Ruchir asked as he introduced me to him. T.N. Ninan was my editor-in-chief at Business World which I had just left to join TV 18. “And I presume you know Swami.” Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar was my boss at The Economic Times, with whom I had had the chance to say hello three times in the two years that I worked there as staff writer. Behind him was Shekhar Gupta sitting on a chair, and next to him Rajiv Shukla (who was a journalist then) chatting with Vir Sanghvi (my first boss at Sunday magazine). Then the bell rang. In came Dr Prannoy Roy, apologising profusely that Radhika couldn’t make it. Next, it was Shobhana Bhartiya at the door. It was a group of about 20 mediapersons, many of whom were already top editors or owners of newspapers and TV networks, and others who went on to become that. The dinner was all vegetarian (catered, if I remember correctly, by Delhi’s famous Kwality Restaurant who had set up the buffet under a tent on the balcony) as the family didn’t eat meat. On my way out, I was still pinching myself—was that the Editor’s Guild or what, eating malai koftas and paneer makhni up in that little Noida flat? Oh, and did I tell you, Montek Singh Ahluwalia was asking for directions to the house. Ruchir must have been in his early 20s then, just starting out as a financial whiz.
As head of Morgan Stanley’s emerging markets, he manages over $25 billion in assets, cutting billion dollar deals.
He has kept in touch with all of them. Many of them form what is sometimes cattily called the Limousine Liberals who travel with him during elections in India. Even while cutting billion-dollar deals as head of Morgan Stanley’s emerging markets where he manages over $25 billion in assets, he is in constant contact with all the people who saw him grow, often assisting them in his professional capacity. He is based in New York but spends a month a year in all the new markets like Brazil, Russia, South Africa, China and India. Now, of course, he is also a successful writer. His Breakout Nations was on the New York Times bestseller list for weeks and his session at the Jaipur Literary Festival this year was one of the most lively—everyone from college students to retired army officers were curious to know from him where the world economy was going. And he has years left ahead of him. His website or Wikipedia doesn’t give out his date of birth but Ruchir Sharma can’t be much older than Sachin Tendulkar.