Venkatesh i know him

Approximately 24 hours ago, Venkatesh Sir must have met with the deadly accident that rocked Maharashtra media and television viewers.

Nether were me and Venkatesh Sir close friends, nor did we had any journalistic brain-to-brain discussions. However, I have never thought about any other person in a single day as much as I have been thinking about him in these 24 hours. I am still replaying my acquaintance with Venkatesh Sir and Chapalgaonkar family.

I was destined to meet them. They were the first journalists I got to know in my life. For the first time, it was Venkatesh Sir whom I saw giving a live television voice over. For the first time, it was Venkatesh Sir whom I saw taking a byte; before these things became a part of my routine. Roopa (Venkatesh Sir’s wife) and Venkatesh Sir himself were the first ones to teach me journalism –directly or indirectly.

It was in 2003 when I had decided to not to pursue BE and shift to journalism. I had met Roopa as a stranger in Mid-Day Pune and requested her to teach me reporting. She agreed and I started working her. In those days, we used to work late in office –as late as 1 p.m. –just me and Roopa, struggling to send the editorial matter to Mumbai office. On my first such night, I decided to go to Roopa’s place after office as it was too late to go to Chinchwad where I used to stay in those days.

We reached home and I remember Venkatesh Sir wide awake waiting for us. He brought us water, asked us to get good sleep as we had to wake up early the next day and even readied our bed. Since then, the Chapalgaonkar family has always been close, though I rarely met them in the last couple of years.

It is strange how I always called him Venkatesh Sir, when I progressed to ‘Roopa’ from ‘Roopa madam’ in these years. Roopa became a close friend, while Venkatesh Sir continued to be a guide and mentor.

In 2004, Roopa and me from Mid-Day along with Venkatesh Sir, Imtiaz Jaleel from NDTV and Pankaj Khelkar from Aaj Tak were on the way to Sahakarnagar. We were to cover a story where the son of a swimming pool owner had placed a camera in the ladies’ changing room. We reached there and five minutes later, volunteers of Shiv Sena started pelting stones on the pool building. Realizing that I was too young and immature in this situation, Venkatesh Sir guided me behind an auto rickshaw and asked me to stay there.

We met regularly in Pune district court for a month when Telgi was being tried and Venkatesh Sir always stooped several levels down to make me understand things. I lost touch with him over the years and our meetings were limited to common assignments. I regret for not having the journalistic brain-to-brain interactions with him and I regret for not keeping my promise to host a lunch for the family of four.

May his soul rest in peace.


  1. May his soul rest in peace...


  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. May his soul rest in peace.. really it is a big loss to journalism and to all of us that we have lost a mentor.


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