He didn’t hire me. I ended up with him because I got hired but nobody seemed to know where I fit. It wasn’t the organization’s fault — I wasn’t the fluffy, soft-features sort, I didn’t have the beat experience of a hard-nosed reporter, and I was too experienced (old at 25?) to be on the city desk.
From the day I joined journalism in July 2001 I had been a particular kind of editor’s dream. I was a good enough writer/storyteller that I could be parachuted in to pretty much any situation and be relied upon to come back with an interesting take — not just the facts, but also flavor. And I wrote with a certain flair.
In my first few weeks on the job, I covered an an event at a school, a speech by Lalu Prasad Yadav, and interviewed a former Indian ambassador for a light hearted column in the local edition of the Hindustan Times.
By the time I met Diptosh in 2005 at CNN-IBN, I had been lucky enough to find bosses who knew how to put me to good use on a daily basis. They helped me hone my writing skills. They had taught me how to spot THE story. How to persevere. I had been to Kashmir and Nepal. I was a regular member on big story, election and budget coverage teams, and often played the role of the person who stitches it all together. And I would churn out a front-page anchor story (usually about tech) frequently enough to be of value. I was the bright young sub-editor/writer. I was popular and full of myself — an affliction that doesn’t seem to go away 🙂
Diptosh, the wonderful human being that he was, taught me something very different. He taught me how to fail gracefully.
I am a small town kid with a chip on my shoulder and a need to prove myself. I know I’m intelligent and usually have an over-inflated sense of self. The first time my wife met me, she dismissed me almost immediately as an extraordinarily arrogant person.
Diptosh taught me how to let my guard down. How it was okay to ask for, and receive help. How it was good to surround myself with super-bright people, but also what it took to work with people whose intelligence isn’t immediately apparent. He taught me how not to be a feudal boss. He taught me how to spar with a smile. He taught me the value of the right question and the correct insight, not just in search of a story, but in the lives we live and the relationships we build. He taught me to see the best in others.
He taught me how to be a better human being, if only by seeing me as one.
I’m willing to bet that everyone whose life he touched has anecdotes they want to share, and moments they want to hold close. I have mine. He will be remembered.