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The Latest Splurge of Business Leaders

CEOs find various ways to beat the stress and unwind: Some go on holidays, others indulge in shopping; many shop at airports to cope with travel stress. Four heads of companies talk of their latest splurge

Published: Apr 28, 2014 06:41:58 AM IST
Updated: May 5, 2014 09:27:39 AM IST
The Latest Splurge of Business Leaders
Image: Amit Verma

Rahul Sharma
Co-founder, Micromax Informatics Ltd

As is the practice, if you shed an eyelash, you take it in your palm, blow it away and make a wish. When I was small, I used to wish for a Mercedes. Back then, that was the only [luxury] brand one had heard of. I have always loved cars and am passionate about them.

Till recently, I had a BMW X6, which is a cross between an SUV and a sports car. But I was looking for a ‘pure’ sports car. I wanted to indulge in something that would make me happy. The options were: Bentley, Aston Martin and Ferrari. I opted for the Bentley Continental GT because, while it is a sports car, it’s also classy. It is fast and furious, but also looks royal. I’m an impulsive buyer, so once I decided on a Bentley, I just picked it up.

This Bentley takes just about 3 seconds to clock a speed of 100 kmph. I love speed. I drive it every week and often take it to office. On weekends, I drive it on the Yamuna Expressway to Agra and back.

I like to immerse myself in anything I do. When it comes to mobile phones, I am completely focussed on them. So, when it comes to the Bentley, I make the most of it. Usually sports cars are red, yellow or orange. I chose orange because it is Micromax’s corporate colour. I love music and listen to all genres. For my Bentley, I decided to have a Naim music system, which has 12 speakers.

The Latest Splurge of Business Leaders
Kartik Sharma
Managing director, Maxus South Asia

I was brought up in a close-knit, middle-class, South Indian family. In my growing years, we were taught to save for a rainy day: We’d ask not, want not. It’s a trait I still carry with me. However, the one place I do not hold back is when it comes to my seven-year-old son. Recently, my niece was headed for a holiday to Singapore, and I saw my son in an animated conversation with her. I could see my son was also itching to go on a vacation like hers, but being brought up like a true Tam-Brahm, I knew he would think a million times before asking his father for such an expensive gift.

Now, I don’t have a crazy bone in my body. But, I looked at my son and in an instant decided to take my family there on an unforgettable experience. I booked tickets and hotels overnight, including my son’s favourite S-class Mercedes to chaffeur us around for a few days. All I wanted was for him to experience everything. It was the first time my son visited an aquarium that had frolicking dolphins and sharks. He got to see all the sea creatures he had till now only enjoyed on his favourite TV show Octonaughts. No expense was too much for those 96 hours.

Today, my greatest indulgence is that I can create these memorable experiences for my son, experiences that I could live only through stories that I read in magazines or heard from a distant uncle, who travelled frequently. I’m not the one to take too many vacations. But if holidays mean that I have the ways and means to show my child the wonders of the world first hand, I’d drop everything and indulge.

The Latest Splurge of Business Leaders

Alok Tandon
CEO, Inox Leisure Limited

I love to travel. I have had the pleasure of visiting a few places both within the country and across the world, but this one trip to Cape Town, South Africa—where I went with my wife Urvashi during the Fifa World Cup in 2010—is still etched in my memory.

The energy of the World Cup is, in itself, captivating, and, to top it, we happened to see one of the most electrifying matches—the semi-final between Uruguay and the Netherlands. The milieu was exhilarating and the atmosphere festive; we blended in with the celebrations around us. We also tried various mouth-watering cuisines on offer.

During the matches, we travelled around Cape Town. Geography lessons learnt in school came alive when we visited the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point. But the most interesting visit was to a wine estate where we learnt wine blending. With the help of winemakers, we blended our own wine with our name on it. This winery owns the oldest wine cellar in the country, and is host to South Africa’s most comprehensive contemporary art collection and a wildlife outreach programme on the cheetah. The opportunity to see this majestic animal up close just blew our minds.

The Latest Splurge of Business Leaders
Debjani Ghosh
Managing director, sales and marketing group Intel South Asia

When it comes to spontaneous purchases, I have to admit I am guilty of making many. This is true especially when it comes to watches, bags and books.

The Latest Splurge of Business Leaders
These are things you can never have enough of. The last time I gave in to temptation was last week when I walked into a watch showroom in Delhi to get a strap repaired. I spotted an absolutely gorgeous Omega, and I just could not resist it. I bought it instantly.  

Similarly, when it comes to books, I just can’t walk past a bookstore without buying a few books. One of the best feelings ever is to have a shelf full of books waiting to be read. I find that very calming.

I am not a big shopper, but when it comes to watches and bags, I do give in and indulge, especially when it’s from a few specific brands. I just love both and they definitely help lift the spirit, which is something we desperately need in today’s world of chaos and challenges.

The Latest Splurge of Business Leaders

Himanshu Chakrawarti
CEO, The MobileStore Limited

On a chilly January afternoon in 2013, from different parts of the world, we reached Kanpur for our IIT-K 25th year reunion. While some of us have been in touch over the years, many were meeting for the first time after graduation. While some faces looked different, most body shapes reflected prosperity in stark contrast to the starved look during our engineering years. What started with polite conversations and formal questions soon turned into a riot in a few hours - it was as though we had never left the campus.

Along with the fond memories of the reunion and exchanging of contacts, we also discovered that a few of us had taken to golf seriously enough to form a sub-group. Sandeep Agarwal (London), Ashutosh Sinha (Singapore), Rishi Kapoor (Manama) and I decided to have a golf reunion once a year.

Our first reunion was at the courses at Wentworth; on the outskirts of London in May 2013 (this is a PGA course). We all travelled to London (except Sandeep who is London based) to satisfy our golfing fetish and stayed at the legendary club itself. Three days of wonderful golf, camaraderie and Zen like calm at the club was like chicken soup for the soul.

Last month (March 2014) we had our second golfing reunion, this time in the bustling city of Dubai. We all decided to stay at the InterContinental at the Festival City as they have a wonderful golf course called Al Badia. We played there on the day of our arrival. The evening was wonderful as three other batch-mates (Manish from UAE, Sripat from New York and Uday from Melbourne) joined us for a sparkling evening at the lovely sea-front lounge of our hotel.

Next day was at the Jumeirah Golf Club, another beautiful course. I spent the evening with my wife and my cousin’s family. Meeting one of my favourite cousins after ages was delightful.

Last day was at the picture perfect Dubai Creek Golf Club. With the morning breeze setting in, tough bunkers on the fairways and innumerable water hazards, this was a round of tough golf we had looked forward to. It tested our skills (although we are amateurs we take our golf very seriously and we believe that we do have some golfing skills!). The last three  holes are absolutely divine with water bodies virtually on all sides of the fairway (okay okay, I am exaggerating!) making each good shot to be cheered by the others.

I had a quick shower after the game, my wife was already in the car and I dashed off to the airport straight from the golf course to catch my return flight. Having blown a fortune on a three-day golf extravaganza, my mind and soul yearns for more…

(This story appears in the 02 May, 2014 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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  • Manish Anand

    Errata - The fourth last paragraph should read (March 2014) and not (March 2013). P.S - I really like the Daily Sabbatical and Life sections. I am an avid and inspired reader. Keep up the good work. Thanks.

    on May 5, 2014
    • Deepak Ajwani

      Oops! Thanks Manish for pointing out the blooper. It was indeed a typo. We have now corrected it. And glad to get your feedback on the \'Daily Sabbatical\' and \'Life\' section articles. Appreciate the effort you took to write to us.

      on May 5, 2014