It still hasn't sunk in. We all know that life is unpredictable but when you get a call that your mentor who you had just wished a Happy birthday and a long life passed away suddenly, it hits you... and hard.
Vijay Marur - for a lot of people an Adman, Theatre personality, Foodie, Reviewer, Writer, Director, Mentor etc the list is long, but for me, he will remain SIR. My one-stop in life that has made me what I am. I met him as a student of Mass Communication at the University of Hyderabad way back in 1994. He was conducting a workshop on Ad films for us and unlike the teachers, we had at that point he came dressed in T-Shirts and Shorts, riding his Suzuki bike. He spoke the language that mesmerised me and drew me to him. One of the finest 48 hours we spent together as a team. From writing to filming and yes typical of Sir hogging on Biryani late night near Nampally Railway Station. We hit off well from that moment. He became a professional father figure for me and soon more. He got me my first job in Bangalore and then changed my life a year later in 1995 by getting my big break in Mumbai as an editor with Western Outdoor Advertising - which set me on the path of what I do today. Gratitude alone wouldn't be enough to thank him. Every time he came to Mumbai and I introduced him to anyone with the mandatory that he is the reason for me being here, he blushed and would quietly tell me 'Bas Kar ab' you made your life I was just helping Western Outdoor hire, someone. That was his humbleness.
During my first year in Bangalore back in 1994 as was customary in those days, I would call my parents every weekend and then SIR 040-3350524 (the number is etched in memory) and Lata Mam would pick up the phone as always. I'm sure she must have wondered at that point of time why I call him all the time. Mam, my heart goes out to you. I know no words can substantiate your loss. SIR was a big figure and I'm sure the memories and the miss you is an understatement. I pray and wish that God grants you and the family strength.
I couldn't make it to the funeral due to travel (I was on a train) and that has frustrated me even more. On his birthday on the 21st when I tried calling him several times I couldn't get through, a day later he replied back on Whatsapp - little did I realise that was the last message he sent me. And yesterday was a day of emotions - I was back in Mumbai and strangely in town near the old Western Outdoor. I passed by Yazdani Bakery and habitually clicked a picture and was about to forward it to SIR with the message - look where am I? And then it hit me again - this was a ritual every time I passed by or ate at a favourite restaurant of his in town (he had introduced me to all these places) I would WhatsApp and then we would either exchange a call or a few messages.
And Apoorva and Deeksha - the lovely daughters of SIR - although I have never had an opportunity to spend time with them, I used to hear from him about them, particularly whenever He was in Mumbai; From the days when they were a part of an Advert that we worked on together and then later on in 2010 during a lunch we had at the Mumbai airport - about when Apoorva was travelling to Australia to study. I saw a side of him that I had never seen before - a rare moment of emotion and he spoke about how concerned he was about her travel, wishing the best for her. I have always wondered if he was so inspirational for all of us - how much more he would have meant for both Apoorva and Deeksha. My best wishes and a promise of support for them whenever they need any help in Mumbai.
I could probably go on and on about him - SIR you went away too early - too suddenly and without even a hint - wherever You are I hope you continue to spread the cheer and the love. Some somethings willremain etched in my mind forever - the conversations, the travel and the Vintage 1956 T-Shirt. Miss you SIR