Darryl D'Monte was an authentic Mumbaikar who understood his city: Rajdeep Sardesai
Journalist Rajdeep Sardesai remembers his first mentor, former editor Darryl D'Monte, who passed away on Saturday
Darryl D'Monte was my first editor, when I joined the Times of India in 1988, and the thing that struck me about him was what a generous spirit he was, towards people who were so young. I was only 24 then, and he had a very young team of reporters. But, he did not have the insecurities or the pomposity of the older editors. He was generous with his views and encouragement, and that made a huge difference.
He was also one of my first mentors and gave me my first page one byline. There is a story to that. A month after I had joined, Sachin Tendulkar was about to make his debut for Mumbai. Now,Darryl had no interest in cricket, but I told him that I wanted to go and see his match. Four hours later, when I came back and told him that Tendulkar had scored a 100 in his debut, he went and told the sports desk to put this on the front page.
After that, he gave me every opportunity in the six years we worked together. I was his city editor when the 1992-93 blast took place, and the work put together during the blasts was one of the best pieces of reportage that we had done. We later brought out a book, When Bombay Burned, and that was possible entirely because of Darryl. The other thing was that he was possibly India's most serious environmentalist, in an era when nobody took the environment seriously. He was the first to get environment issues on the front page. Issues that we now talk about - pollution and ecological damage - had begun to matter to him long before.
The other thing was his sensitivity to issues that today get ignored. For instance, the plight of mill workers was something that he was very conscious about. He was a generous spirit and sensitive soul - a perfect combination to have for an editor. He was an authentic Mumbaikar, who understood the city and that made him a fine editor.
The one thing that always struck me was his ever smiling, generous spirit towards people, and young. I will miss his comforting presence and smile. He was a good, good man.
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