Here I am sitting at Chennai airport on a Sunday night gathering my thoughts around a weekend I wish never was.
The call from Shashank Vijay on Saturday morning telling me that Appa was no more.
The rushed arrangements for tickets and then dashing to the airport.
Reaching RA Puram in Chennai where many afternoons were spent with Vijay.
Surreal images of Vijay being transported into a waiting vehicle head first.
The drive by his side to Besant Nagar crematorium.
A blur of images, emotions and memories.
Memories of the day nearly 24 years ago when as a greenhorn in the offset equipment business I had first met Vijay as director of Shakti Udyog to explore the possibility of selling their pre-press and offset plate making equipment.
Later I was to learn that he was also one of the founder directors of Proteck. This was a company which led the way in import substitution for offset pre-press in India.
Old timers at Proteck still speak of Vijay in affectionate and reverential terms.
The immense impact he made on my life as he did on the lives of countless others -
Industry stalwarts like Suhas Kulkarni of DKSH, Vijay Ramchandran of Henkel amongst others have expressed their feelings about the special bond he shared with them as well as with his dear friends S Narayan, Raju Amritwar and I.
I consider myself lucky to have had Vijay as the proverbial friend, philosopher and guide.
The huge popularity he enjoyed amongst peers and competitors is the stuff that legends are made of.
Visitors to print trade shows in the late 1900s and the early years of the 21st century could not miss seeing an affable giant of a man always ready with a warm smile and a hug .
In my 37 years of business life I am yet to meet any other person who was so genuinely loved and received the affection of so many as Vijay did.
Everyone has his own favourite Vijay story. His love for rabri, rossogolas and mishti doi. His passion for driving around the country. His zest for Kishore Kumar songs ...
Honest, compassionate, fearless Vijay!
I could not have wished for a mentor better than Vijay. My Anna to his Thambi.
He taught me to fight, but always righteously.
He showed by example that it was possible to be a successful businessman and industrialist without hurting feelings or trampling upon toes.
He demonstrated always that the spirit was always more important and commitment paramount - monetary profits be damned!
He is revered by his family of employees who he stood by as a rock. Personally ensuring the well being of each and every person in the team.
Making friends and influencing people was part of his mental setup - he could be a role model for authors writing books on the subject.
Companies like DuPont, TechNova, Autoprint, Memory. Industry leaders in the Indian print industry who partnered with him for path-breaking projects. To-date he was passionate about developing new products and using technology to make life easier for the people in the printing industry.
He exited, too early.
His exit brings too much sadness.
Read more: Industry pays tribute to Vijay Sivaraman
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