Like virtually everyone who ever got to interact with Amitava, I remember him as an embodiment of sheer passion. Passion for his work, for the brand that he worked with. Passion for encouraging knowledge, disseminating knowledge, and gaining knowledge. Passion for building and maintaining relationships, for never being forgotten. Passion for good living, good eating, good drinking, good travelling, good music.
Rare it is to find a person so full of zeal, enthusiasm and will-power in anything that he did. Goldie’s was an infectious personality.
Across my common stints with Amitava at HT and earlier at TOI, I noticed business associates – juniors, peers, bosses, editors, journos, advertiser-clients, agency folks alike – would often be party to animated discussions with Amitava’s knowledge and views. Be it on topics ranging from advertising, media and marketing – or on opinions on the writings of a senior editor.
Many may recall Amitava strove towards the need for perpetual balance, as he always said, between Goddess Saraswati (as he referred to the “intellectual” or journalistic side of the media business) and Goddess Lakshmi (as he referred to the “material” side of the management of media business-functions).
Sharing my own passion for encouraging “knowledge-management”, Amitava had always been a very big votary of the “Knowledge Is Power” doctrine. He would often guide and mentor the “bachcha-log” (as he called them) of media-marketing into knowing their media-brand inside out before they approached any advertiser – its editorial philosophy, its data-essentials and their full conceptual understanding. Right down to quizzing them over water-cooler interfaces on which lead or anchor story (or even which ad) had appeared in their or the competitor’s newspaper that day. Even while seeming to chide them, he would always have the time, patience and never-ending excitement to mentor the genuine learner.
Boy, was he a relationships-man! An amazing social networker, Goldie could break immediate ice with any stranger, the toughest or the most poker-faced client, at the junior-most or senior-most levels. I recall how often he would challenge sales colleagues to take him to their toughest client rather than one who was “crack-able”.
Did he love life? Unarguably, vociferously, YES, YES, YES. To me, Amitava represented an exaggerated embodiment of what a true ‘bhadralok’ Bong stands for. He loved and knew good food – by cuisine, by dish, by outlet (city-wise, country-wise…). He loved good music. He travelled and trekked extensively. He loved meeting people and had devoted friends across cities and continents. He cherished good music – Indian or Western, and by genre. Goldie lived life in all its glory and to the hilt – and with amazing will-power.
He was also a God-respecting man – we did a 5 am trip to Dakshineshwar while on a joint tour to Kolkata some 5-6 years back, and I vividly recall how serenely Goldie did his ‘darshan’ and obeisance of Maa Kali. A very different Amitava than perhaps how most people would know him! May the Holy Mother grant him eternal peace in Her abode.
Heaven just got better, with the addition of this spirited soul.
(Sanjay Bahadur is President, Marke Cerebre.)