Pune: Four years back, 23-year-old Pune-based software professional Pranay Pathole, who was then an engineering student, was on cloud nine after his “role model” Tesla CEO Elon Musk replied to his tweet on automatic windscreen wipers.

Since then, Pathole, who now works with the Tata Consultancy Services, has been in regular touch with Musk via direct messages (DMs) through Twitter. He aspires to meet Musk physically and get an opportunity to work with him.

“As I was quite fascinated by Musk, I used to tweet him about technical stuff. In 2018, I tweeted him regarding some auto wiper sensor which will start working once it detects water droplets. Within a few minutes, Musk responded that it (the feature) was being implemented in the next update (of a vehicle manufactured by his company),” Pathole told PTI.

The elation continued for Pathole when Musk in December 2020 sent a direct message (DM) on Twitter while replying to his query on a raptor engine used in the building of a big rocket – Starship – by Musk-owned SpaceX.

“Thereon, our DM conversation started. I used to tweet him some interesting technical things and then he would respond to it. I think he found my tweets intriguing and interesting. They (tweets) caught his attention and he started responding,” he said.

Since, he started receiving responses from Musk, Pathole’s follower base on the microblogging site surged and he now has over one lakh followers.

The engineer, who is interested in learning about machines, claimed that Musk responds to him frequently and he asks him questions about SpaceX and technical specifications of the Starship rocket and its powerful engine.

“I also ask him about Tesla’s ‘full self-driving’ car, and the toughest challenge that his firm’s engineers have to overcome to develop such a vehicle. So, I raise these kind of questions and he replies through DMs to me,” the software engineer said.

Pathole said they even had a conversation on why making life multi-planetary is quite essential for the survival of humanity, and why taking human beings to Mars is essential.

The engineer says he does not care about his follower base on Twitter.

“I am not doing it to create a clout on social media. I interact with him (Musk) because I admire him. I genuinely feel his heart is in the right place and he is trying to achieve big and ambitious things for the right reasons. I consider him as a role model,” he said.

Since Musk is constantly “innovating”, Pathole is excited about the future.

“It is my biggest aspiration to work with him and learn as much as possible from him. He is very hardworking and his multi-tasking ability is incredible,” Pathole said.

“One day, he is working on building the most powerful rocket (Starship), the next day he is working on a fully self-driving car, next he is trying to solve traffic issues, and trying to find solutions for diseases like Alzheimer’s through Neuralink. Getting an opportunity to work with him for a young guy like me would be really amazing,” he said.

Pathole also said he plans to do a master’s course in machine learning/data science and go to the US, where he hopes to get a chance for a physical interaction with Musk.

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