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RIP Jehangir Pocha

In each of our lives, there are times when we question the thinking of the guy up there and the snakes and ladders game he plays with our lives.

Saturday was one such, when we heard that the gentle, wise and respected journalist and editor in chief of News X, Jehangir Pocha had died of cardiac arrest. He was barely 47.

His TV news channel had just started getting the top TRPs; his face had been beaming with the joy of a recent marriage and the birth of his twins. Why him? Why now?

Jehangir Pocha. Pic/Twitter
Jehangir Pocha. Pic/Twitter

We had first met Jehangir in San Francisco almost ten years ago. As does happen, a shared childhood in Mumbai gave us many things to talk about: music, cafes, and theatre. We recall thinking that he was even then so many miles and decades away quintessentially a gentle and decent Mumbai boy.

From that initial meeting almost a decade ago we’d kept in touch with Jehangir and known of his success, first as the Delhi-based editor of BusinessWorld, and then as head of News X, but it is this anecdote that best describes who he was and why the world has lost someone very special.

We are referring to one particular conversation that stood out in that unmitigated mess that came to be known as the Nira Radia tapes. In that record of mega-misdemeanours and chicanery, we recall hearing one single edifying conversation. It was Jehangir’s spontaneous response on hearing that an alleged business rival had experienced a personal setback, involving his family.

Through the static, rising above other things, one could easily hear the genuine concern and compassion in Jehangir’s voice, cutting across the partisanship and pettiness of business rivalries. It doesn’t matter who the person is or what the setback was.

One man had reacted, as a human being ought to have. It had remained with us. RIP Jehangir Pocha, good to know your quintessentially Mumbai qualities of decency and humanity never changed. We are all diminished by your loss.

South of the border
“The event got over last night. I’m now in transit to Pondicherry,” said our friend and former colleague Jitesh Pillai, editor of Filmfare, about the 61st Idea Filmfare Awards in the south. And then, in characteristic style, he alliterated, “It kicked off with divas and new entrants dappling the do.”

Jitesh Pillai, Rekha and Kamal Haasan
Jitesh Pillai, Rekha and Kamal Haasan

We had worked with Pillai on a newspaper once. The greatest pleasure we’d have was trying to outdo each other in word play. “Rekha flew in from Mumbai to present the lifetime achievement to Jayabharathi and critics award to Dhanush.

South supernovas like Kamal Haasan, Mahesh babu were present. AR Rahman won his 29th Filmfare, a record of sorts,” said Pillai, whose passion for and knowledge of Bollywood is legendary. “I have one selfie with Rekha and Kamal Haasan, you want?” Yes, we said, we want.

See you at the movies
The things we do for love. Spotted over the weekend at a late evening screening at Inox of Bobby Jasoos, BJP spokesperson and leader Shaina NC, accompanied by her parents Nana and Munira and her son, and management guru and Tata Sons Executive Director, R Gopalakrishnan, with his attractive danseuse and philanthropist wife Geeta, the spirit behind many a worthy fundraising exercise.

Shaina NC with father Nana Chudasama and mother Munira
Shaina NC with father Nana Chudasama and mother Munira

Nice to know that some of the city’s busiest individuals take time off to be with their families taking in a good movie. Of such pleasures is life made.

Friends in the rain
‘Tis that time of the year when the sky is grey, the earth is wet and Mumbai allows itself its one abiding love affair with the weather: its Monsoon madness. Turbulent seas, buttered toast and pakoras, long drives, bhuttas at Marine drive and strangers sharing umbrellas.

Soni Razdan Neena Gupta
Soni Razdan and Neena Gupta

And for all those who the monsoons make a little sentimental, here’s a sweet monsoon story. Two old friends, both talented actresses were caught in a monsoon downpour on Juhu beach over the weekend. “It was that stinging-type of rain, straight from the sea,” said our friend Soni Razdan.

“Neena (Gupta) and I are ‘walking friends’. Through hail or shine, we walk on Juhu beach. But this downpour was so bad that even though we go well-equipped and protected, we just could not move.” So what did you do? “We just sat on the beach and waited. Then she took out her phone from a plastic packet and took my picture. And I took hers,” she said. And here, gentle reader, they are.

A special birthday
“It was a special birthday but she’ll kill me if I tell you which one,” laughed the statuesque diva, jewellery designer Farah Khan Ali. We were talking about her mother Zarine, the warm and graceful interior designer, wife to actor Sanjay Khan who we’ve known from our childhood spent in Juhu.

Zarine’s birthday
Zarine’s birthday

Zarine had been a glamorous model, her sloe-eyed good looks adorning many a print ad. Now she was the much loved matriarch of a strapping large and good looking family, and we were talking to her daughter. “My daughter Fizaa had baked her a cake. We all made speeches and she was surrounded by each member of her family,” said Farah.

“But you know the best thing of all?” added the proud daughter. “The best thing of all is when I put up a picture of the celebration on Facebook a friend of mine said, ‘Gosh you’re mother looks much younger than fifty!’” We agree!

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