Rabindra Jhunjhunwala’s first choice was to become a doctor, a profession that even his father had wanted to pursue but could not due to family circumstances. Even as Rabindra harboured dreams of becoming a doctor, destiny had other plans for him. A bout of jaundice followed by relapses just before his class X board exams meant he had to say bye-bye to his dreams of carrying a stethoscope.
However, what it did do for him was lead him to law. “Other than my father and my sister who are lawyers, my father’s siblings, cousins and their respective descendants as well are lawyers! I can count more than 25 lawyers in the family,” says he talking of law as a natural second choice. On finishing high school, he joined a local law school in Kolkata. But his intellect could not make peace with the way law was taught there. So, he wrote the entrance for NLSUI, Bangalore, and pursued his B.A. LL.B. (Hons) there. He got his degree in 1999.
Even though Rabindra left home for studies and then his profession, his father R.N. Jhunjhunwala has remained the biggest influence on him. Says Rabindra, “I have learnt a lot from him and from his life experiences. Being open about things and seeing the brighter side always, dealing with adversities and highly charged situations are things that have left the biggest mark on me.” And while his father made him the professional that he is today, his mother’s caring and resilient attitude helped the family stick together.
An alumnus of the prestigious St. Xavier’s Collegiate School, Kolkata, his fondest memories are of the teachers. “Our teachers were fabulous; what they did for me before my class X board exams will never be forgotten. Many of them are gone but I have very fond memories of them.”
His family too laid a lot of emphasis on an all-round development. Consequently, sports was given due importance. “I was always encouraged to go to the club, play a sport, represent the school, club and university,” reveals Rabindra, a practice he adheres to even today. In fact, he enjoys playing all kinds of team sports. Not one to enjoy a sedentary lie, he is quite into travel and whether it be weekends or any other leisure time, he is equally busy.
When talking of school and childhood days, can memories of one’s home town be far behind? Says Rabindra, “Kolkata is a great city to live in, with a laid back lifestyle, club culture, evenings spent catching up with friends, very safe and has the greatest food!” Although Rabindra does admit that he misses being in Kolkata, yet he says the saving grace is that “A bunch of my school friends have stayed in touch for over 35 years!”
Even Rabindra’s wife Nupur, belongs to Kolkata albeit from a family of doctors. She herself is a dentist with her clinic in Mumbai. Although theirs was an arranged marriage, Rabindra says, “We spent a lot of time with each other before deciding to marry.”
Partner at the Mumbai office of Khaitan & Co., Rabindra started his journey in the Kolkata office of the firm. He then went on to be a founding member of the Mumbai office of the firm in 2001. Leaving his comfort zone in Calcutta and moving to Mumbai wasn’t easy for him, but in his heart Rabindra knew that Mumbai was a promising place to be in at that time. Having worked with a varied group of people, he gives credit to the firm’s practices and the zealous attitude of his team for its success. Starting off with a team of just three lawyers, the Mumbai office now boasts of many resident partners many lawyers, who are as dedicated as Rabindra in seeing the firm reach new heights. While he does advice clients on both inbound and outbound foreign investments as also regulatory approvals, his primary areas of focus are cross border mergers and acquisitions. Rabindra has been recommended by several leading publications including Chambers Asia, Asialaw Leading Lawyers and PLC Which Lawyer? For his Corporate/M&A law expertise. When several Government –owned businesses and companies in India were entering privatization, he had been their advisor.
Rabindra is one who has accomplished much at quite a young age. Perhaps his ideology that no work is small has been a potential contributor to it. What less can be expected of a man who says: “Do whatever you do with passion. And take pride in your work. Work hard and play harder and live life to the fullest without regrets!”