Manu Bakshi, R.I.P.

It was with terrible, injuring sorrow that I received the news of the passing this morning of my colleague and dear friend, Manu Bakshi. A senior cameraperson with TV Today Network, the highlight of my time with Manu was when we were a team covering the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai last year. Deeply talented, disarmingly humble, industrious to the core and with a roaring sense of humour, it was my privilege to have worked with him on what was unquestionably any journalist's most challenging reporting assignment. In the nine days we spent sharing a hotel room and virtually every waking hour together at the Oberoi, Taj, Nariman House, I was lucky enough to forge an enduring and deep friendship with Manu. A friendship that only such circumstances could have made possible.

A week into our assignment in Mumbai, Manu and I were beating back days without rest with some drinks with friends in our hotel room. At the time, he said something that would have been a cliche if anyone else had said it. "Live each day like it's your last," he said. The next day, Manu was called upon by his boss to depart from the hotel the next morning and assist in the shoot of a talk-show with some celebrities in Mumbai, leaving me, effectively, without a partner cameraperson. At 6AM, he woke me up, hugged me and said, "Yaar, tereko miss karunga." And he was gone.

Manu will be missed more than I can possible express. He was ill, and didn't keep well towards the end. Today, Manu had a fatal brain haemorrhage. May whatever, or whoever it is he believed in, grant him peace for his onward journey. RIP.

I took the photo above of Manu on November 29, 2008 in a boat off the Macchlimarnagar area, where the terrorists had landed. We spent two hours shooting a simulated version of how the terrorists entered. He'd been reminding me ever since to mail him copies of this and a whole lot of other photographs I took of him during our assignment in Mumbai. To my now eternal regret, I never got round to doing so.

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