On Thursday Ratan Tata stirred up a typically nano storm on Instagram, three months after he joined the Facebook-owned social media platform. The 82-year-old Chairman Emeritus of the Tata Group put out on Instagram a #ThrowbackThursday picture from his days in Los Angeles way back in the 1960s.
“I was going to post this yesterday, but I was then told about ‘throwbacks’ and how they occur on Thursdays,” wrote Ratan Tata, with a rather fetching innocence about the ways of social media. The old, sunny picture shows Tata in a white T-shirt, smiling for the camera — a far cry from the latter-day selfie. The photographer is, however, unknown.
To the uninitiated, ‘Throwback Thursday’ is a trendy internet hack where people share old photographs on social media with the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday or simply #TBT.
In the caption he says the picture was clicked in Los Angeles, before he “happily” returned to India. The rest was, of course, history in the making. Tata had a brief stint with Jones and Emmons in Los Angeles before returning to India in late 1962 after receiving a B.Arch degree from Cornell.
“So here is a throwback from my days in LA, not long before I happily returned to India,” he wrote.
By the top of the hour, the throwback picture had fetched Tata tens of thousands of gushing compliments and was liked . The vintage photo has been, at the time of writing, ‘liked’ over 435,000 times on the platform.
“That’s a different lifetime,” wrote a person. #ThrowbackThursday, in fact, seeks to evoke another “lifetime”.
Another user asked: “Why don’t (sic) you join Bollywood that time, Sir?” to which another answered: “He had better things to do”.
“Thank you sir that you did return to India,” wrote in another.
Another user wrote: “Sir… you keep inspiring us. You look like a dashing hero.”
Many comments dwelt on Tata’s looks: “Dashing since forever, sir!” said an Insta user.
Another said: “You look like a Greek God.”
A user wrote: “Throwbacks “occur” on Thursdays? 😀 For a man at this age and place in life, taking effort to learn these cultural nuances, is heart-warming.”
In November last year, Tata had put another throwback, saying: “It is overwhelming how quickly time passes. Be it the struggles of yesterday or the good days close to heart, everything seems to have happened not very long ago. I look at the years since this picture at Cornell, and I’m heartened by the richness of experiences, opportunities, and lessons I have learnt. Life should be full of these, because the years can truly be elusive.” #tbteveryday
The post had gathered a little over 290,000 likes. In a long post, a user wrote in, urging Tata to restart the Singur project in West Bengal: “Sir, how beautiful and smart you were, you are and will remain smart in our mind for ever. If we try to find a real leader I think after Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, you are that leader who is having the capacity to lead a country… who has helped the nation to understand the meaning of DEVELOPMENT, you are that person who has helped the hundreds of young men to build their life by giving job in Tata Motors Ltd & other Tata Companies which are the assets of India… Sir, if you kindly think once again for the revival of Singur project where hundreds of young boys are still looking towards you.”
Ratan Tata joined Instagram on October 30 last year: “After a long absence from public life, I look forward to exchanging stories and creating something special with such a diverse community!”