PG-Our Father Figure And Patriarch Is No More: Rajiv Singh

He had the power to Inspire and make you do the Impossible, remembers Rajiv Singh

PG is no more- a very cruel day and sad day in our lives. Flashback of memories in varied hues have been coming back since the last two days –as one person who moulded and impacted several hundreds of us was not just an ordinary boss- he had the power to inspire and make you do the Impossible.

The phrase 'impossible is nothing' was truly crafted for him and passed to us, at the Response.

As we walk down the memory lane today, and remember a pink edge letter head much-awaited, typed and signed by Director Response “ Great job Congrats “ if received in Response, it would be the most prized and valuable possession of our lives acknowledging our ordinary feat and make it look super extraordinary.

I was an Assistant Manager in TOI in year 86 and in my two stints spent under Response, built assiduously by Mr Guha, I saw him as a Media God a Hero. We would all go to extraordinary lengths to achieve anything for him and his Response Department. There were many stalwarts who came under one umbrella of Mr Guha and he would bind them to perform like one synchronised orchestrated performance. 'These bosses are icons too'- that was the power of PG. They had tasks cut out to get the best out of their Response team. I was like many, a young team member waiting on the sidelines to shine.

There were stories we would discuss in Response hall, how Mr Guha was handpicked to move from Kolkata to be given charge in Mumbai of Response, resurrecting advertising sales and giving dignity to the Department which would leverage and build equity of Times as best in business. TOI then had several competitors and Magazine business had dwindled with new dynamic players riding roughshod over BCCL Femina and Filmfare Delhi, we had a competition defining its control and there were other players too. The mastermind worked to build one of India’s best battle forces lead by his key Regional Directors each an icon at later years and they, in turn, nurtured ordinary people like us to go grab the moon. TOI was a true powerhouse of Media and Mr Guha and his response gladiators were willing to fight any battle on his behalf.

Today's TOI front page reads Pradeep Guha died at 69, how we wish this was not true- and he rose to become the most powerful voice of the media world. We are no authority to comment on Mr Guha's feats as they were limitless but where we do feel void is that our Patriarch who nurtured us into one family called RESPONSE, where happiness and sorrow of one would impact all, where feats of one would be shared to help do better would impact all, where smiles on the promotion of one would bring the party for all, and yes Response Hall in Delhi would be one bubbly place where if Guha would step in to address sometimes it would mean that God has descended into our lives.

Our journey in times in 80”s and 90”s was all about new launches, new feats,and new horizons to scale new heights. He coined the concept in one Response review “milk the local cash cow”.TOI was a metro phenomenon – and Mr Guha felt each state as a non-publishing centre holds potential revenue opportunity, In came Bhopal / Cochin /vizag /Chandigarh and more. I came to Head the Bhopal Branch as Manager Response – leaving vast friends and comp-any of some very competent friends and family.

Farewell was arranged by Ranajan my then boss and importantly the most important guest who joined was Mr Guha. My day was made he mentioned a task is cut out and I am coming to Bhopal with Mr Adya and late Mr S.D .Pillai top oversees how best we transit. He did it and a Manager Response could not ask for more. Our feats went on to establish so many firsts, and each time we would do it – a letter would come – acknowledging it – we kept it as souvenirs and trophies – I took them out today from the closet and remembered Mr Guha.

I missed the RESPONSE get together orgainised every year by another ex Response colleague Deepa Bhatia, whom I met on a flight to Mumbai after a gap of 15 years – the two hours of flight were spent discussing TOI and we parted once destination arrived and Deepa said “ you must come this time, even PG is coming.

Today morning I opened my mobile and went on WhatsApp Number of Mr Guha and read my last message to him “ Sir I missed the Response get together and hope to see you soon sometime “ ever not acknowledge he replied, “ Perhaps Next Time, God bless “.

Well, there will be no next time now – RIP Sir – RIP Mr Guha.

What we are is because of your inspiring leadership – you taught us to perform – lead from the front and never give up ever. We shall consistently strive to excel – you taught us not to be mediocre, and you taught us to be humble in heights of glory.

Our condolence to family – and the vast one of Response for whom he was the father figure. Om shanti

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