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Humming Blues

Those who know Anand Mahindra well, also know that the Blues festival is not just a business endeavour for him
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Humming Blues

There is no reason for Blues, rooted in African-American culture, to become popular in aamchi Mumbai. However, legendary Blues musicians such as Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Walter Trout and Robert Randolph have all come to the City of Dreams to play - all thanks to industrialist Anand Mahindra. The Chairman of Mahindra Group is the force behind the popular Mahindra Blues Festival that just concluded its tenth edition in early February at the iconic Mehboob Studio in Bandra,Mumbai.

For all official purposes, the festival is about giving the Mahindra brand a unique connect with consumers. However, those who know Mahindra well, also know that the Blues festival is not just a business endeavour for him.

While Blues make him hum and are the default choice on his playlists, Mahindra is a fan of soft rock and Indian Rap too. Sukhbir is one of his favourite singers. "I'm a fan of desi rap. I see it as a new voice of the next generation," he tweeted in October 2018.

The 64-year-old, whose undergraduate degree is in film-making, is a supporter of many art forms and festivals, including the Mahindra Kabira festival in Varanasi and the Sanatkada festival in Lucknow. He says that being a strong participant in cultural life is a way to drive positive change.

- Nevin John

Oracle Sets Sail

Larry Ellison, Chairman and Chief Technology Officer of Oracle Corporation, is a man of many interests. He races sailboats, is a licenced aircraft pilot, plays tennis and the guitar. In 2000, he set up Oracle Team USA as an American yacht syndicate to compete in the 2003 America's Cup. In 2019, he set up SailGP, an annual global racing championship, along with Russell Coutts, five-time America's Cup champion. The series features identical cutting edge F50 foiling catamarans with 24-metre wingsails, and offers $1 million in prize money. Teams from Australia, Japan, the US, the UK, Spain, Denmark and France participate. It recently sold a minority stake to sports and entertainment group Endeavor in a deal that valued the sailing event at $200 million.

Keeping up with his love for sailing, Ellison reportedly owns a 288-foot yacht, Musashi. He previously owned the much larger 454-foot yacht, Rising Sun.

Investing in Words

Samir Arora, Founder and Fund Manager at Helios Capital, recalls his favourite childhood memory - a mobile library that would make a stop at his locality once a week. Young Arora would borrow two-four books at a time. "I read all Tintins and Asterixs of the world from the library."

Arora grew up in a world of Hardy Boys and Billy Bunter, and with stories by Enid Blyton, P.G. Wodehouse and Alistair MacLean, before catapulting to tales narrated by the likes of Warren Buffett and Peter Lynch. In the 1990s, when Arora was new to fund management, books like Making of an American Capitalist and Fooled by Randomness influenced him greatly. "It is not easy becoming a fund manager and suddenly handling large amounts of other peoples money. Reading gave me confidence - right or wrong - that I was prepared," he says. Now, he makes trainees read a book from his library everyday, and discusses it in the evening. "This way, they learn about finance, investing, companies and management. A book I always make them read is The Halo Effect. I indirectly use it almost every day in my work." He says books help him join the dots.

Will Arora turn author himself? "I have enough material but since this is India and I am still not retired, many interesting corporate episodes will have to remain within me."

- Aprajita Sharma

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