‘Conrad Saldanha’s trust inspired you to be your best’
Mahesh Chauhan pays his tribute to Conrad Saldanha
Advertising is full of the Don Drapers. This is a celebration of his anti-thesis, Conrad Saldanha, my dear friend who passed away yesterday. Conrad came into my life in 1994 on a journey that will never end. He is alive in me and so many of us. When I rejoined Rediffusion in 2002 soon after I lost my father, he was there to step into the void. And hold my hand, he did, till the end. He became a grandfather to my children too.
How do you describe a man who was never angry at others in the most demanding profession there is? How do you understand a man for who forgiveness never occurred as a thought as he had no one to forgive? He did get angry but mostly with himself. He would raise his voice for a few sentences and then go quiet. The raised voice was soon followed by remorse and mostly, an offer for a drink.
Conrad’s trust empowered. It inspired you to be your best. He gave you the freedom and would never interfere. And of course, he was there to back you no matter what. His mere presence during a presentation was a blessing for your words, his regal demeanor adding greater gravitas to your argument.
Loyal and happy is how I will remember Conrad. He was a definition of loyalty. Be it his love for Rediffusion, its people, the clients or his friends. I met Lynette only in 1998 and knew instantly what inspired the loyalty. His lifelong relationships with so many of us bear a true testimony to the people’s person he was. He leaves behind a legacy so charming, so endearing, so Conrad.
I remember the day he first hired me in 1994. After a few drinks, I was riding off to IIT Powai for a valedictory function. He shouted from behind, ‘ride carefully, I don’t want to lose you’. You will never be lost on us Conrad. Farewell Dad. RIP.
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