There’s a surprise waiting when you enter the chairman’s office at the Kolkilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. It’s the sheer simplicity of it. Still smelling of fresh paint, one can’t help but notice the photograph on the left rack where Anil and Tina Ambani’s sons — Jai Anmol and Jai Anshul — are fondly hugging each other.
It is Tina’s corporate address and marks the beginning of the Ambani bahu’s journey into the healthcare business. Despite being married to one of India’s biggest businessmen, she’d never actually tried her hand at any corporate venture before this.
“Anil has always provided the financial support and not even once cribbed that I am spending too much money on it (the hospital). He has been supportive and non-interfering all through. Luckily, we have been able to finish the project just before the meltdown happened. He (Anil) still fondly refers to this hospital as my third baby.”
Associated with mostly philanthropic and social activities till now, Tina says that stepping into this office hasn’t been a cakewalk. “You know something? For the last three years, I have been coming home late. Sometimes at eight-thirty, nine…but my children never complained. They know that their momma’s been busy. I can’t tell you how nice it feels to see your hard work bear fruit. My kids were so thrilled to see the hospital on the day of the inauguration!”
But isn’t this a very bad time to start a business? “I don’t think the recession will have any drastic effect on the healthcare business,” she answers. “It’s been a dream project of my father-in-law (Dhirubhai Ambani). I would like this hospital to sustain itself in the days to come. And just because it is state-of-the-art, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be costly.”
Tina is a through-and-through hands-on boss. “I am very particular about everything — right from the people who are working with us, medicines, equipment, down to the soaps and tissue papers that is being used here — I am always in the loop.”
As we walk out, Tina prepares for a meeting with the hospital staff in her own board room. “I hope you keep it short this time,” she tells the doctors-in-waiting as her deputy CEO Dr Santosh Shetty looks on. It’s time to spearhead another meeting for the Ambani bahu who is taking baby steps herself into the world of business with her ‘third baby’.