In 1991, Rajiv was nearly crushed in an elevator. Even hospitalization for three and half years could not deaden this eternal optimist’s spirit.
There aren’t very many who would take up a profession for the sheer thrill of facing challenges!. Yet, Rajiv K. Luthra is one man who took up law precisely for this purpose.
Having started his career in his father’s accounting firm he says “I found auditing very boring but I found arguing in front of the Income Tax Appellate very interesting.” He knew that he could do better as a lawyer and therefore in 1989-90 he took up law and established his firm Luthra & Luthra Law Offices. The start of a new venture was also accompanied by a life changing incident. In 1991, Rajiv was nearly crushed in an elevator. Even hospitalisation for three and half years, could not deaden this eternal optimist’s spirit. Even though he could not operate the remote to change the channels of the television, he refused to change his sense of invincibility. Gaining a whole new perspective of life. He decided to bounce back into form.
And bounce back he sure did! Having turned his firm into one of the largest law firms in India, he ensured that the firm received the Asian Legal Business Award. Rajiv himself has been identified as ‘one of the most highly acclaimed legal experts in the Asia Pacific region’ in the practice areas of capital markets & corporate finance and general corporate practice by Asialaw Leading Lawyers 2007. His contribution to the capital market sector also stands recognized as he ranks amongst ALB’s Hot 100.
With liberalization happening in the early ‘90s in India, Rajiv was quick to identify the need for law firms. While people think he has been a visionary to fathom such needs, Rajiv himself says the reasons for his success were “a lot to do with luck and timing.” Not considering law to be his work but his passion Rajiv is of the opinion that “If you think of work as work, then there is tremendous pressure.” Other than regular legal work the firm takes initiatives to mentor girls from the North East as therapists for home spas called the Wellness Angels. His initiative of providing cloud computing for members of his ilk is helping law students. According to Rajiv, what they are giving is Wikipedia, Facebook and Linkedin all rolled into one for law students.
This only endorses what wife Gayatri has to say about his large heartedness. Says Gayatri, “He is Daddy for everybody. He loves sharing and caring. His staff adores him. His large heartedness is what won me over.” And it is this very trait that made Rajiv share a Harley Davidson with his young colleagues. When three of his young colleagues came to him for a loan to buy a Harley Davidson, Rajiv didn’t give them a loan. Instead he paid 60% of the money with the caveat that he too would get to ride the bike for a week.
This also brings out the fact that law is only one of Rajiv’s many passions. Great rides, of which he has many, and flying remote-controlled air-planes are also interests that are nurtured by him. And the remote controlled plane is only the beginning of the list of vehicles he enjoys. Rajiv adds to this by pointing out: “I do love cars too! Recently I bought a Bentley but I am more of a BMW man.”
Apart from vehicles Rajiv nurtures a keen interest in golf and Urdu poetry. Although he had been a keen golfer in his youth, today his hobby is pursued in the earnest by his brother Amit and nephew Advaita. The father and son duo promote the Mogly’s Mad About Golf program.
Law, golf, urdu poetry and fast automobiles are not Rajiv’s actual passion though. It’s his family that matters to him the most. Having married Gayatri in 1985 through a love cum arranged marriage, he says, “it must be my good karma in a previous life which led me to marry her; as for her karma I wonder what she did to land up with me!” Gayatri too was enamoured by his sense of humour and wit. Speaking of her husband’s attention she says “He was a charmer and is one even today. At the cost of sounding filmy, I admit I simply adore him.”
The couple have a farm in Bijwasan, which was a birthday gift to Gayatri from Rajiv, to celebrate her love for nature. Whenever Rajiv travels, Gayatri loves to stay here with her mother-in-law and daughters Sanaa and Arsia, aged 6 & 5. With a laugh Gayatri says: “We have 8 dogs there as well as the donkeys that we rescued from Rajasthan and many other animals. Therefore, it’s like a mini zoo!”.
Rajiv’s affections are not limited to Gayatri alone. He is a very hands-on-father. “He is also very good with kids. When he is home I take a break from being mommy,” confides Gayatri.
With Arya Samaji guru Anand Swami as great grandfather, Rajiv is religious but not ritualistic. He is, however, very supportive of Gayatri’s venture of running a mythology centre wherein young ones are narrated mythological stories and fables from Hindu and other religions. Education is another facet that the Luthras have always prized, as Rajiv’s mother’s side of the family was the publisher of the Milap newspaper, while his grandfather had a college.
Theirs is also a complete foodie family! While Rajiv’s mother has written a cookbook, his sister is the celebrated food writer and columnist Rashmi Uday Singh. Rajiv too is very much into international food and is a good food critic.
With so many passions Rajiv Luthra surely has his plate full!
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