A deeply personal account of Aman Nath’s life, written by his close friend Yogi Vaid.
Aman Nath’s is a celebrated life. The combination of entrepreneurship and non-monetary values he perfected is the object of wonder and, no less, the object of envy for many an aspiring businessman, looking to do something hat ke (different), finding that rare conjugation of capitalism and selflessness.
The first lesson for that businessman from this festschrift, A Remarkable Friendship, anchored by Nath’s childhood friend Yogi Vaid, is the impossibility of their odds. It’s not because of a life of privilege, although not many children carried a folding bed from their house in Nizamuddin to do their homework on the gateway of Arab-ki-Sarai, the southern entrance to Humayun’s tomb. It’s a charming glimpse into the Delhi of the 1960s that one can see in films like Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963), the story of a young architect (played by Dev Anand) who designs South Delhi houses and reconciles culturally incompatible families. That Nath, founder and chairman of Neemarana Hotels, is an architect, among other things, is an account of a different kind of homework he has done around historical monuments; while he did study history at college, not many historians can claim to have served their discipline like he has. Nath turned his lack of formal training in architecture into an advantage.
Vaid’s close personal account of their childhood and coming of age might be too detailed for some, but it’s the entry of Nath’s soulmate Francis Wacziarg that opens the book to a world outside the Delhi business families, much as it transformed both. A chapter titled ‘One Love, One Heart, One Destiny’ draws a vivid account of their four-decade partnership with letters and suchlike.
Nath turns 70 this year. Given his original life and how he made a success out of reconciling the seemingly dissimilar, this book will also serve as an entrée to the upcoming celebrations.