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Saturday, 20 October, 2012, 15 : 00 PM [IST]

Inder Sharma, Former Owner and Chairman, SITA World Travels and Chairman, Select Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd

A globetrotter, young at heart at the age of 81, Inder Sharma, Former Owner and Chairman, SITA World Travels and Chairman, Select Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd has been associated with the travel and tourism industry over five decades. He has travelled extensively across the length and breadth of the world. Rashmi Pradhan takes a sneak peak into his life
After completing a six-month training programme at SITA World Travels in New York, Inder Sharma returned to India in 1955 and opened SITA World Travels’ India operations in 1956. And it became a milestone in his life and Sharma never looked back. However, Sharma’s first job was with Mercury Travels in 1953 in Delhi as Transfer Assistant and he worked with them for two years. During that period, he got selected for training with SITA World Travels. Currently, Sharma has retired from day-to-day operations from the business but is always there for his children whenever they seek his advice. Sharma has two children, the elder daughter, Neeraj Ghei, Director, Select Citywalk in Delhi and younger son, Arjun Sharma, MD, Le Passage to India. Sharma has a hotel at Manesar in New Delhi and Goa and holds 70 per cent share in a shopping mall, Select Citywalk in Delhi. During his college days, Sharma met his better half Aruna, who is a doctor (retired from a government hospital) at a charitable hospital in Delhi. Despite a Masters in Economics, Sharma was never counted among the bright students in his class.

201012_dil_2.jpgSharma loves to travel because that gives him an opportunity to explore and learn new things. “I travel with an open mind and always look around because there is so much to learn,” Sharma opined. He believes in sharing knowledge and meeting people and this is the reason he is always invited to speak for various panels at national and international levels.

For the past 40 years, Sharma and his six friends meet everyday in the afternoon at The Imperial for an hour and half. Before retirement it was 11 in the morning for an hour but after retirement the time and duration both has changed. To keep himself abreast of the world around, Sharma reads two newspapers (Times of India and Hindustan Times) at home and two (Indian Express and Economic Times) in the office. “Since I am retired, I wake up at seven in the morning. Before my stroke in September 2009, I used to walk for three to four kilometres in the morning but now I barely walk a kilometre,” Sharma said. Sharma's favourite restaurant in London is Gaylord. He opined, “After eating out for some days , I feel the urge to have home food and Gaylord provides the best Indian food.”

Fast Five
Favourite Drink: Scotch
Favourite Car: Mercedes
Favourite Cuisine: Indian (Punjabi)
Favourite Restaurant: Gaylord*, London
Favourite Holiday destination: Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh
*after eating outside for somedays, you get an urge to have Indian food

201012_dil_3.jpgLearnings from life
Sharma believes that whatever we do, we must try to get into the best of the league in that profession. Sharma still remembers the pearls of wisdom his father gave him. “My father said, treat others the way you want to be treated by them. And I have used this philosophy in every walk of my life,” Sharma shared. He said that the most important rule of travel business is client satisfaction, as long as the customer is satisfied, the business grows; customer is the prime focus. Also time management is important and should be part of upbringing. After all, successful man needs to learn time management. “Be honest to your profession,” he added.
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