A lot of people have spoken about Ramani, the advertising professional, a pioneer in the digital marketing space in India. He was a mentor to me. More than a decade later, my resume still talks about Ramani using me like an ‘errand boy’ for any unusual ask that cropped up at work. I learnt to address challenges and turn my head around vague questions and come up with some answers. The buzz we had of learning something new every single day during the 18 months at Mediaturf has never been equalled.
Beyond work, however, I have had the good fortune of knowing Ramani – even if for a short while – at a more personal level. I don’t know if he really liked me, or if he was like that with most people (I suspect it is the latter). But I had some warm personal memories with the man. And these moments say a lot about the person he is.
He was very fond of his daughter and loved to sing her a lullaby. One day (in 2003, maybe), he was speaking with me on the phone around 11 in the night and suddenly asked to give the phone to my wife. He told her that he’s missing his daughter and wants to sing his favourite lullaby for her – an old warm fuzzy Hindi number. She sang. To say the least, it was an emotional, but very happy Ramani when he hung up. Months later, he visited my place in Bangalore and we had a five-hour old Hindi songs singing session. He, of course, had carried his own favourite single malt for the session.
Ramani had the most amazing collection of Ganeshas, as anyone who visited his house would know. He even had a cricket team of Ganeshas laid out in a cricket field. Once, we were traveling to Kolkata for a pitch in 2000 and we were at the Mumbai airport around 6 am. He suddenly ran into the The Bombay Store outlet and I ran behind wondering what happened. He had, from 30 feet afar, actually found a small idol of Ganesha who was head-banging to probably some heavy metal. I can still vividly remember, all these years later, the joy, almost ecstasy, on his face as he kept looking at the idol.
I am sure there are so many ways in which this tremendously charming man touched all our lives. I was very lucky to have seen him up close. I was, after all, his errand boy.
The author is Head of Product Management, Infosys BrandEdge. A Digital Marketing Platform.