He first swaggered into the office , sometime in mid 1986 , shirt open to show a hairy chest and a silver chain , a kara on one wrist and a watch with a thick meshed metal strap on the other . His sleeves were rolled up mid arm , his jaw jutted out, his lower lip stuck out with a truculence his hair was longish ,his language BAD and peppered so thoroughly with the f*** word it sent shivers up my then convent bred ladylike spine . The office was inhabitated by geriatrics then, in the last flush of their glory ,some boxwallhs , remnants of Corporate Calcutta of the 60s still retired to the club for a beer before a long ish lunch . The babus still wore dhotis and the singular shirt kurta . It was a genteel world.

And Santanu exploded into it bringing with him the heat , noise , dust and the smell of a rapidly dying industrial West Bengal.

He also brought with him an exciting vocabulary and introduced innovative work systems . He brushed out the last bit of the boxwallah cobwebs ,taking care to keep whatever was good and throwing out irrelevancies. He trod on a few corns but apologised with such profuse charm that he soon had the old crustaceans purring like tabbies .

He believed in challenging the system and used it to re engineer and reinvent. It was exciting to work with him because of the challenges he threw your way haranguing you to improve,innovate and improvise. In a curious way he had a lot of faith in women as HR managers and I believe he left a bit of himself in all of us - Sujata, Meenakshi,Sangeeta,Aidaphi and I .

However , he grew too fast and he grew too much ,earning glory , introducing new work cultures , reorganising the organisation , treading on more and more corns and rubbing up too many people the wrong way , gathering a lot of hate and too little goodwill in the way he worked till he trod on the biggest corn on a very calloused ugly foot which ultimately became more powerful than him and swiftly sidelined him into an area where he stay put unheard of and rarely spoken to till he drank himself to death , lost in private battles with his self and losing out completely to ultimately commit harakiri in more ways than one - professionally , personally , alienating most people , telling the little lies that chronic drinkers often do .

Today he lies dead - having died in the most cussed and ornery way he could think off- his brain screwed up by a million hemorrhages ,his liver shot to pieces and all that ranting silenced, hooked on to a ventilator, waiting for his old mother to come and pull out the plug to bring an end to a chapter .


Anonymous said...

Nice blog Ruma - I came to know about it from Taj and read some of your posts. I have put the Art Lebedev link in my list of favourites. Many thanks and keep it up - Babluda

Unknown said...

@ Deva- Thanks - where's the link to your blog ?

Anonymous said...

I don't maintain a blog. You can shout across the window or email me at and

Thinking Cramps said...

What a whirlwind and evocative description of a person's life. Made me sad.