Obituaries in form of online articles written by colleagues and professionals are common. We have often come across such efforts once the person is gone. It is funny that people are celebrated more when they have left the world. I always wondered why we can’t celebrate them while they’re here beside us and making a difference with their presence quietly.
Today, I am making this effort to celebrate a professional whom I met a year ago and now, can easily call him one of the best professionals I have ever come across in my life. I rarely make real friends with people at work (not because I can’t but only because I choose to invest my time judiciously) but this person I became friends with before and after work. I am in the profession of meeting people, rather I’d call it an extension of my natural personality and the reason why I call him the best is not just because he’s a great professional but more so because he’s an absolute gem of a human – the kinds we have read about in books and watched in movies.
Now I might sound over the top but this person, for real, is genuine, caring and a human with high standards of integrity.
So, what’s the big deal or newness in talking about a good person?
Ain’t. But, we must learn to make it a big deal in today’s times. To have a person with values and morals in today’s era should be shown as a big deal for others to notice and learn from.
I cannot forget the day I bumped into Basant Rathore, Senior Vice President, Brand Strategy, Jagran Prakshan Group at Jagran Film Fest 2018 at Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi.
I had requested to take his seat and told his wife, who accompanied him to the Fest, that I will vacate it once he comes back. I did not know who he was then. When he came back from the stage, I got up, said sorry and introduced myself. Basant said he knows me through one of my online shows for Dainik Bhaskar – ‘DB Spotlight with Preeti Hoon’ and that he has watched some of the episodes. His mention elated me since it came from a person as senior as him working at an organization usually touted as DB’s biggest rival. It was least expected as there isn’t often that you meet people who are brave to accept they watch and follow competition closely and would, most of the times, show themselves over & above to create a sentiment of superiority, who have it in them to praise their competition and on top of it not care to let themselves be a subject of judgement. It is when they’re talking from their heart and not mind.
Basant was different.
Following year, as promised by him, I was Jagran’s official anchor for the Film Festival 2019. And, it was my best show ever. I had the most special people – my mother, masi (mother’s sister), childhood family friend Geeta di (sister) and school Guru Pooja ma’am – attending it. For the first time, they all were in presence for a show I hosted. I had never called them before this because I never felt comfortable enough to extend my personal relations to my professional space. It was only because of Basant that I could do so and also messaged him a thank-you note later in the day. His response was equally heartening. He told me how he really liked having a conversation with Pooja ma’am and that she has a very positive aura. He also mentioned about Geeta di and that it was wonderful for him to meet my mother.
Now, tell me, would you ever want to replace these emotions of an honest union with money? Ask me and I will tell you my answer straight – never. Just like money is for the materialistic, these moments are the currency of life that keep us going and make us believe in goodness and righteousness.
Basant not just kept his words but he made an outsider like me feel at home. And, please believe me if I tell you that we didn’t discuss money at all. He left it on his team and I, too, kept his regard and agreed on the terms gleefully.
Skipping discussion on money doesn’t come just like that. It always comes from a person who feels deeply and values relations more than mere numbers on a cheque for a person who represents the same values.
And, I got to know of similar values that Basant holds. He has never discussed his salary with any of his employer till date. Since I haven’t had a word about this surprise write-up for Basant, I don’t know if I am allowed to reveal it like this. But, I strongly feel that he is of a rare human breed who, whether as professionals or otherwise, are here to touch lives. He touched mine.
Basant has always supported me in my bad times. He listened to me without any judgements and as someone who understands and knows the industry in and out, he always has related and understood my experiences with a genuine concern. He has supported my ideas and dreams like his own. And, to have someone like him in your support system, means the world.
Basant’s journey has been a tough one too.
His childhood could have him become a person I wouldn’t be writing about here but he let his sensitive side prevail. He chose to live a meaningful life.
I wouldn’t want to go into details because I don’t think that would be right but if you know and trust me, you’d know I am somebody who neither likes fluff nor throws it around.
Basant’s move to Jagran had nothing to do with his materialistic ambitions. It was a personal call that he, with time, decided to dedicate himself to.
Rest is history. Everyone in the industry knows Basant Rathore and Jagran Prakashan are now inseparable identities. He has made a name like very few does. And, there’s none who wouldn’t agree on the kind of exceptional person he is. At least, I haven’t met any.
He’s an ideal family man who often talks about his wife, two daughters and “love them to the moon and back!” Basant is an absolute gentleman.
After reading this piece, some may think what I have to derive out of it or the intention behind my out-of-the-park praising. Guess what, sometimes you don’t need reasons to write about some wonderful people you come across in your journey called life and today is one such day. More importantly, it is Basant’s birthday! His mother kept his name Basant because he was born on Basant Panchami – a Hindu festival dedicated to Goddess Saraswati – a goddess of knowledge, language, music and arts.
And, you know, people like him may take birth often but it takes something else to stay true to human values, something we’re born originally with but let it fade with time, and nurture oneself into a people’s person who’s treasured just by the virtue of their presence and touch.
Happy Birthday, Basant Rathore! Thanks for being my friend.