Rohinton Bajirao Maloo, my friend, a friend of the industry... his loss, in the Mumbai terrorist strike, has made this tragedy personal for me, and for many of my colleagues at exchange4media, who knew him well and interacted with him on a regular basis. I cannot believe that something like this has happened. Our prayers over the last two days have gone unanswered.
Last Monday, on November 17, after the Pitch CMO Summit, Rohinton and his wife Niki dropped me at CCI. On Tuesday at 3 pm, he and I had leisurely chatted and debated for 90 minutes at the Sea Lounge of Taj Colaba. At about 4.30 pm, I dropped him home. On November 18 at 4.30 pm was my last physical rendezvous with Rohinton, though on Tuesday, November 25, I had exchanged my last emails with him.
I can’t start to imagine what Rohinton’s family, especially his wife and his daughter and son, are feeling. It is past 1 am on November 29, and I am writing things that I never thought I would have to, never had planned to. I was hoping Rohinton would be hale and hearty and that we could later get him to tell us tales of his encounter. Marzban Patel, Rohinton’s friend and a close business partner, told me, when we both sadly discovered that God had not listened to our prayers, to write about this extraordinary man.
At around 11.15 am on November 28, Dilip Venkatraman of IBN Network had called to tell me that Rohinton Maloo was trapped inside the Trident, where he had gone the previous night for dinner with an expat. I had thought about him on Wednesday night, when the terrorists stuck, but had assumed that he would be safe. I stepped out of my home at 11.30 am praying for him. As I stepped out, my security guard gave me a card from Rohinton Maloo -- it was a belated happy birthday card for my wife.
Over the last two days, many common friends – Navroze Dhondy, Suresh Balakrishanan, Rajul Kulshreshtha, Hoshie Ghaswalla, Sanjay Raina and many more – have called me, asking me about him. Everyone who called me was fond of him and will miss him. We are all heartbroken.
Rohinton was a great human being, a warm and caring friend, a thinker, a visionary, full of life and always ready to experiment with new ideas. I can think of many firsts that Rohinton had done in the media industry, but what I remember most is that he was a kind and friendly soul.
Rohinton had friends, and real close friends, all over the world. I recently met his school friend in Vegas. Rohinton never forgot his friends. He was passionate about relationships and ideas.
Rohinton wanted to launch a free newspaper in Mumbai. He had started an online retail website. Many people don’t know that we had started the exchange4media Mumbai operations from his Mani Mahal, Mathew Road office in Mumbai.
Rohinton was always full of life and stories. He liked to watch movies, listen to music and watch Formula 1 racing.
Professionally, Rohinton had over 25 years of varied experience in the media and technology marketing. Armed with post graduation in Mass Communication in 1987, Rohinton co-launched Computerland (later re-named as Aptech), which is South Asia’s largest network, IT training institute. Since 1992, he was instrumental in the South Asia launch of Asian Business News (now called CNBC), CNN and Cartoon Network and HBO for Turner/Time Warner Inc. In 2000, he launched Hallmark business unit’s card in India. To add to his achievements, in 2002, he acquired Cutting Edge Media Pvt Ltd from Zee Telefilms Ltd and re-launched Zee English and Zee MGM marketing sales for Zee Telefilms Ltd, and also ZeeNews.com. Rohinton recently advised Tehelka and Tellibrahma. He was Managing Director of Cutting Edge Media.
His untimely demise has left a huge void. Rohinton, I and we will miss you. May you continue to guide me and us.