Lunch with Zubin Irani

I will just have some soup.” United Technologies Corporation India President – Building and Industrial Systems Zubin Irani makes his intent clear right away. My heart skips a beat – a frugal meal means a short conversation and a boring piece for you to read. My task is to talk him out of this resolve. Irani is just back from a cruise with his in-laws where some food didn’t agree with him. (He counts himself lucky in the years when he has to do one cruise; in the unluckier ones, he has to do two – his parents, especially his mother, too, love cruises.)

The other reason Irani wants to eat light is that he is a fitness freak. Last year, he had taken part in the “Half Iron Man” contest at Phuket, which involved swimming two miles in the sea, cycling 70 km and running 12 km. Irani did it in 4 hours, 44 minutes and 44 seconds, and was among the 1,200 men, of the 4,000 that started, who managed to complete the triathlon. Irani wants to take part in the event this year as well, and is preparing hard for it. He cycles to Faridabad from the heart of New Delhi (that’s almost 70 km) three times a week, runs in the Lutyens’ Zone and swims wherever he can (the swimming pool in his kids’ school included). This year, he wants to raise the bar: two miles in the sea, 100 km on the bicycle and 21 km on his two legs.

That’s more than what an average samosa– and pakora-munching and lassi-drinking Indian does in a year. In between all the strenuous training, Irani puts in 10 to 12 hours of work every day, selling Otis elevators, Carrier air-conditioning plants and a whole range of fire-safety equipment. Surely, he can have more than just soup? Irani relents. We order seafood soup, steamed fish, fried chicken, vegetables and rice.

 

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3 comments

  • Good to hear a Parsi succeed but but his father is also a very influential person no wonder he says he has never faced any discriminations. A middle class Zoroastrian faces insurmountable discriminations in every sphere of life. That is the main reason Zoroastrians are fleeing India.

  • Very rare to see& listen a Zorastriasn,having achieved this feat.Like to know if he is BOMBAYbred,how old is he?& in HALF IRON CONTEST what was the timing of the 1 st winner.Afterall this is IRANI BLOOD,unlike PARSEEs .I do not agree with MR PILOO MANI that because his father is influential ,he never faced discrimination.THE point is there r many influential fathers in our community,who want their sons to excel,BUT if the son himself does not want to go ahead,??Then what?WE see this trend mainly in PARSEES,rather than in IRANIANS,who r hardworking.( NOT ALL PARSEES)…….This MR ZUBIN IRANI has determination,self made person..HATS OFF to him..WISH our community grows like him……..

    • His academic feat is extraordinary. But I beg to differ in the following respects:-
      1. That he could not afford a foreign education without scholarship.
      2. That he never faced any discriminations.

      Mr.J.J.Irani was a very influential person who was a respected director of many Tata Group of Companies for decades, and hence he must have made a lot of money. Mr.J.J.Irani had also chaired the J.J.Irani Committee Report on Company Law. Hence, he had influence even in govt. circles.

      However being the son of such a influential father definitely nobody dare discriminate against him.

      It is only these top few Parsis who do not face discriminations. Perhaps, he should make a study of only the Tata Group of Companies where middle class Parsis (those not having influence) are the most discriminated lot and Tatas turn a blind eye to these discriminations.

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