I write this not as a colleague, nor as a friend. For Ramani was never just a colleague or just a friend. He was the magical combination of both. For he never worked (or lived) in confined conventions and boundaries… no, his essence came from freedom. And his approach was one of true ownership – he bought in to you, in to media, in to the brand, the client, the agency, the potential… and he treated everything like it was his own. He was the self-appointed guardian, with full freedom to create a new high in all he nurtured.
Everything with him felt like a liberating hang-gliding high. A media idea went beyond GRPs and TRPs to create powerful brand assets. Likewise, an evening out for a drink was never just that – it was a free-spirited yet intense hungama of fights and fanciful flights, drinking and singing, cricket and brands, strategy crafting and negotiation plotting, uncanny wisdom and sheer stupidity. He wasn’t just a mad ad man, he was a mad man. With a contagious insanity. And a bloody genius.
Yes, he rejected normalcy. I really don’t think he knew what it meant. Maybe that’s what the heart of a fighter, a seeker, a believer is. I’ve delighted in evolving ideas with him. I’ve voyeuristically thrilled in his media negotiations. I’ve also stormed out of meetings with him. I’ve been cold blunt to his child-like enthusiasm over a new idea. I’ve admonished his excesses. I’ve seen through his fluff. But at all times, I’ve deeply marveled his guts and his greed to seek new highs – in work, in love, in cricket, in Ganesha collections, in friendships, in life.
I know he sought out the best of me. And I’m glad I knew the best of him. I don’t write this with any sense of loss, but a gratitude for all I gained from him. And it was a lot, over more than two decades!
All who knew him will get just what I mean about this mad man – if ever you get any niggling sense that life or work feels like a rut, just pause and ponder if you’ve lost your touch with insanity. Cause that’s the belly button of freedom… that’s what makes it all “rollicking”!
The author is Executive Director, Lowe Lintas.