I was preparing for my talk by adjusting and reviewing the slides for presentation. Over hundred students are waiting in the Auditorium of the National Institute of technology at Agartala in Tripura which is almost another end of our country. Before I could tuck the phone into the bag I saw my sister’s message,
“Baba Kaka no more”.
It was a shocking information. I called her to confirm. Unfortunately, news was correct! It was few weeks back that I heard about him suffering from cancer.
Babakaka was an ever helpful person, who had a charismatic presence. I have seen him sail through critical situations with a calm and composed manner.
One incident that was a life changer for me was when he introduced me to Prof. Phatak. This triggered my long association with IIT Bombay. I received many accolades and scaled new heights both as a person and also as a professional, however, it is this introduction that led to these. I would always be indebted to him for this priceless gesture.
Babakaka was known to be a problem solver. I have seen him manoeuver from most critical situations. It could be a travel issue or a local political issue, he always knew the way to get over it. His cool but systematic approach made the problem look negligible.
It was a bizarre coincidence, that just like he was witness to my first day at IITBombay, I was a witness to his last day at IITBombay. He nominated me to accompany him to click the photographs of his last day tea session with the Director of IITBombay.
Like many have said earlier, one can take a person from IITBombay, but cannot take out IITBombay from a person. Babakaka was a living example of this. Wherever he was, there wasn’t a single day when he didn’t remember IITBombay.
Another interesting interaction with him was through the letters we exchanged. He had a penchant for writing detailed but well planned letters. If I’m not wrong, he is the only person I have seen writing bullet points in a letter!! But, I realised this structure made the letter quite usable. You could clearly figure out the points and act upon them!
I’m falling short of words to pen down his bio sketch. Memories are flooding and I find it difficult to get them in using a phone to type this…as I sit at the Kolkata airport, waiting for the flight to Mumbai. I will miss him, just like many others! I offer my respects to him. It is a huge loss to all of us.