ML: Let us begin with your background. We gather you are born and brought up in Mumbai and that you have two older sisters?
Gharda:Yes, so legally I am a 'Maharashtrian', but can't speak the language. I had two sisters but one of them is already dead. One sister is still alive, she is about five years older than me and she is the mother of the children who, shall I say, don't see eye to eye with me. Of course, we meet at family functions. Let me tell you about them. From practically nothing, they are both worth about $ 5 million each, but they think it is too little. They hold some shares in the company and I have told them if you settle for that value, I can get you the value. They say they are worth more. So I said, okay, if that is so, wait until you get it (laughs heartily). Incidentally, they have received more than a hundred times the initial investment of their father by way of dividends. Even at 77, I come to office everyday and work from around 10.30 to 6 pm. Of course, occasionally I get to catch a nap for an hour.
ML: And you find time to read all these books lined up in your office?
Gharda:Yes, it does look like I run a bookshop as a side business doesn't it? I don't (laughs). I don't read here. But yes, I have a rather catholic taste in books and subjects to read. I have read widely and by the age of 15 or 16 I had read all the English classics and all the German and Russian Classics in English. I could read a 500-page book in a day, it is a peculiar form of rapid reading that I have evolved myself. I would glance through the page almost line by line and if it is a description of a house or a room, or the protagonist, I would skip through. In around eight hours I could tell you reasonably well the contents of a 500-page book.
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