I never knew why he was called Goldie. Not until 19 years later, when I was going to his funeral with his niece. She told me his pet name meant Gold and he adapted it, or others did, to Goldie. He was more valuable than Gold. Always shining, smiling his million-dollar mischievous smile, always happy.
19 years ago, when I was a rookie media planner, I was told the following story. If any one of these three people come to meet you, please stand up and offer them a chair and be very nice to them. And do ask them what they will drink. Goldie was one of them. The other two were Wispy Saher and Shivaji. He was one of the few people who could walk into Moorthy’s room without an appointment! That was the reputation the man carried so many years ago and continued till the day he lost his fight. He fought and how. We were all amazed at his will power that he continued to exhibit (I am told) till the very end. I always got a chair and stood up every time I met him, much to his embarrassment.
Goldie became a client of mine at Hindustan Times. And that was when I really got to know him. "Man, you need to tell the planners that HT is a better paper than TOI. Find a way". And while he had worked for a while at TOI, his passion for HT was amazing. He made me do things I would not have done (like writing copy for a direct mailer) for a client. But then Goldie had stopped being a client many years ago. He was always Goldie. Even till the end when I got the SMS @ 7 am in the morning that said "Goldie is no more."
This is not meant to be an obituary. For people like Goldie can never die. They just move on to something better, something more meaningful. And they leave us with a void that can never be filled. As someone said to me at his funeral, "We must celebrate his life. For he lived well and lived happy".
That is the only way that anyone can and should remember Goldie.