Forever Young: Navroze D Dhondy

Just about two weeks ago, the CMO meet had just got over at the Taj Land’s End in Mumbai and guests were milling in the pre-function area. The small ante-room attached to the main hall had a few VIP guests, and suddenly a “hello” from Arvind Sharma pulled me back into the room to reconnect with an old friend and discuss the “Allahabadi” connection.

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Dec 1, 2008 8:38 AM
Forever Young: Navroze D Dhondy

Just about two weeks ago, the CMO meet had just got over at the Taj Land’s End in Mumbai and guests were milling in the pre-function area. The small ante-room attached to the main hall had a few VIP guests, and suddenly a “hello” from Arvind Sharma pulled me back into the room to reconnect with an old friend and discuss the “Allahabadi” connection.

I was looking at my watch, and planning to leave, when at the entrance of the Ante-Room walked in a grinning Maloo (as Rohinton was popularly called), arms spread wide, and a big bear-hug followed. That was our normal greeting, whether we met at airports, hotel lobbies, restaurants. “Kemm, saala”, the most commonly used endearment between two bawas, was the kick-off to a sharing of jokes, and back-slapping. “Good to see you in Bombay, so are we catching up tomorrow?”

Suddenly there was a tap on his shoulder as his wife Nikki walked up, whispered something, and followed it with a firm handshake. “The Punjabi-Parsi from Delhi Nikki,… Navrozeji is here in Bombay… let’s take him along too.” The question I think got drowned in loud laughter as someone walked in between Rohinton, Nikki and me.

A quick wink across bobbing heads, Maloo put his hand up to his ear, indicating “I will call you” and then a quick getaway with Nikki from the CMO meet.

The next afternoon I got the promised call. “Hey champ, sorry about last night, we just had to rush away, as we had to be at Shahrukh’s place next door. Actually, you should have come along. It was fun”. Typical Maloo.

I have known Rohinton many years. Twenty or more… from a trainee at Lintas to an entrepreneur now, and I don’t remember Rohinton in any other way, except for his “naughty” smile and his warm greeting. Whether he was discussing his plans and ideas for Mediascope or Cutting Edge, there was an eagerness of a school kid, and the mind of a serial entrepreneur. He was one of the early birds who realised the potential of the “satellite TV” revolution, and actually helped tens of channels to get revenues and a footing in the country, making the TV revolution really take deep roots in India.

It was thanks to Maloo that Anurag and I met. It was thanks to Maloo that I met many amazing people in the media, animation, in India, in Singapore, and in life. He loved to connect people, and make a difference to people’s lives. And I am sure that is what he was doing at the Trident on that fateful evening.

Sometime back I passed him at the airport security queue, and had to give a second glance, as for a second I didn’t recognize him. Here was Maloo without his mouche. “What happened?” I gestured moving my hand like a razor across my own moustache… The grin got wider, the wink very pronounced, and pat came the answer “Have to stay young mate”.

Reminding me today of the famous song by Bob Dylan, as the lyrics come back to haunt me ‘Forever Young’

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

Just about two weeks ago. The warm hug and hello…

The eyes are moist and the heart heavy as we say ‘bye… Maloo’

We will miss you.

(Navroze D Dhondy, CEO – Creatigies Communications)

Navroze D Dhondy’s tribute to Rohinton Maloo also appears in the December 01-07, 2008 issue of impact

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