Science

Twitter: Elon Musk’s Indian friend dreams of ‘living and dying on Mars’

PublishedAugust 24, 2022, 08:38

TwitterElon Musk’s Indian friend dreams of ‘living and dying on Mars’

A young Indian engineer who noticed a defect in Tesla wipers saw Elon Musk personally respond to his message. Since then, the two men have been in contact via Twitter.

Pranai Pathol is one of the few people with whom the billionaire constantly communicates on Twitter, on average once every two days.

AFP

Few can boast of Elon Musk’s attention like the young Indian engineer Pranay Pathol, who forged a privileged relationship on Twitter with the world’s richest man and dreamed of “living and dying on Mars.”

This unlikely friendship grew over the years into a real correspondence consisting of several hundred tweets and private messages. But this week, the young man finally met his idol in the United States, where he is preparing to continue his studies.

He reports a defect in Tesla

It all started in 2018 when Pranai Pathol, then just 19 years old, tweeted to Elon Musk about a defect in Tesla’s automatic windshield wipers. Against all odds, the billionaire spoke to him directly, he told AFP.

“This will be fixed in the next version,” Elon Musk replied. In fact, Tesla fixed the issue in the next software update. “I was blown away by this,” recalls Pranai Pathol, a 23-year-old computer engineer. “I took a few screenshots, I didn’t want the day to end.” His mother Pallavi and father Prashant were so proud of it that they celebrated the event that same evening in a restaurant.

“Elon became a friend of the family”

Every day at the beginning, their conversations were about “mythbusting” about the personal history of Elon Musk, as well as about the “necessity” of space exploration, says a young man in a black T-shirt, like his idol.

His interactions with Elon Musk have become “much more casual” over time, and he is no longer in a hurry to share them with friends and family. “Elon has become a friend of the family,” his father jokes, “and if he follows Elon Musk, if he wants to settle on Mars, we don’t care.”

“He’s super authentic”

Pranai Pathol is one of the few people the billionaire has been in constant communication with on Twitter, averaging once every two days, according to Elon Musk’s public tweets viewed since late last year. Their private discussions range from corporate headlines to more personal matters. “He’s super authentic. Kind, very down to earth. He’s humble,” says the fan, “you can tell by the way he takes his time to answer me.”

Asked about the motives of the SpaceX and Tesla boss, whose net worth is estimated at $266 billion, to maintain his epistolary relationship, the young man admits that he “has no idea.” “He must actually be completely intrigued by my questions,” which, however, were “nonsensical” at first, he replies.

Trampling the “red dust of Mars”

“Elon’s public personality is the same as in private life, he is the same person,” he says. The time difference between the United States and India did not prevent their exchange of duration. “I don’t think he sleeps much. He sits on Twitter most of the time, the young man is a little surprised.

Pranai Pathol, who was hired by India’s largest IT company Tata Consultancy Services after graduating from engineering school, arrived in the United States last week to study at the University of Texas at Dallas.

He then hopes to work for an American company, preferably with Musk. “I want Tesla to hire me because of my skills. I don’t want any concessions,” he clarifies, hoping only that the boss will personally give him an interview. He says he wants to discuss with him the colonization of Mars and the risk of human extinction.

(AFP)

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