Busy Bee on Gopi

Gopi lived an active life in spite of his disability due to polio.He was a journalist and one of the best in the business.Here is a touching write up on Gopi by the well know columnist Busy Bee.He wrote this piece in the Mid Day newspaper dated July 23,1984 just after Gopi passed away,a victim of the family scourge, cancer.Here it is
“For Gopi Baskaran,till the other day so young and so full of life,death could not have come at a less opportune moment.He literally designed Mid-Day,gave it life and shape and integrity.He was the first member of this paper’s staff, and , in many ways the best.
While the rest including myself were still thinking of starting a paper,leaving our old jobs and taking a new one,Gopi was already designing the paper.
I remember the first meeting of the likely staff.We meet one evening to consider whether we should leave the security of our existing jobs and venture out on something unknown. Gopi Baskaran came to the meeting with a complete “dummy” of the paper,printed on the old “Inquilab” machine. It looked very much as the paper does today, five years later,and more than any thing else it was Gopi’s dummy that made us join.At least it made me join.
For five years he was the constant factor in the office.He put in real,old fashioned working journalist hours;starting early in the morning with the evening paper ,then putting together the Sunday paper,the various dak editions,designing the Bangalore edition.
He may not have got much credit for his work. He was a sub-editor the tribe that belongs to the back rooms of newspapers all over the world.The reporters are the front men , meeting people, giving an odd story here and there, getting their names in print. The sub-editors work through the night,rewriting the stories,giving the headlines,selecting and discarding news, putting the whole newspaper together.
Gopi Baskaran was a sub-editor and the very best that I have known in all my working life.
Only recently, a month before his illness,he was promoted and officially made news editor,a job that anyway he had been performing since the first day.
And then as he was getting set to enjoy his new status ,tragedy struck.Though I could see him being wasted away by illness , he kept coming to work, planning regular colour issues, sending transparencies for processing, designing new pages. He took two days casual leave to go to the hospital for tests — he never came out of the hospital .
He was a good friend , honest and considerate and non-interfering. I value his friendship, but ultimately I will remember him as a colleague, as the best sub-editor I have know. “
Thank you  Busy Bee for that warm write up and kind words about my dear brother.He represented all that the Baskarans stood for, simple hard working,passionately committed to our professions and men & women of honour.It is so sad that we are all not together now.

Author: hari008

Business Leader , Mentor and Executive Coach with a long track record of achievement , developing high performance teams and mentoring team members who now hold responsible positions in several leading companies

10 thoughts on “Busy Bee on Gopi”

  1.  Hi Hari, Your blog has been fascinating reading. I have been going through your diary for the past month (whenever I am able to wrest the computer off my son) and it certainly brought back very fond memories I have of Hartland, the cricket, study sessions and all the fun time with your family. Ravi and Gopi I remember very well. Gopi, poor man, can you remember how we used to annoy him when we followed him meeting his girlfriend? We must have been real pests to him, God rest his soul. I can recall you sitting on the branches of you tree with a book in your hands. Also vivid in my eyes is your dejected countenance on missing those 3 long jumps but came back well in the 100 mts dash. What about the walk to Ennore and back?. We were planning a walk to pondicherry but you got your posting to B’lore and that was that. Your writing is as Srini says, scholarly, which begs me to ask, if you still have the short story manuscript you wrote? If I remember correctly, it was about double jeopardy?. I can go on and on but I will stop here. I will certainly write some of these reminiscence and send it to you to be posted in your blog. I am attaching a picture of my family. From left to right, is my second son, Hayden, next to him is my youngest Simon, then Sherl, self and my eldest Andrew. I am still working on getting the details you asked of me in your e’mail. Trust yourself and your family are well, as is mime.Regards to your wife Deepa Bye for now Cheers Cedric 

    1. Hari, it was truly touching ! I remember with gratitude how Gopi came to Dadar station in 1971, to receive me into a strange Bombay, for my first job, apprehensive of how the new city and environs would be. He deposited me safely into the bus bound for BARC, onto my new caretakers and left only then.. I remain indebted.

  2. It leaves me feeling very sad that I could get to meet uncle Gopi. But like you said all these qualities run in the family and it continues with you Uncle and will live on in the Baskaran children. One day we will all be reunited! – Sandhya.

    1. Very true Sandhya . We must keep the spirit and tenacity of the Baskarans going .And yes one day we will all be re-united .But as the famous line in the movie “Gladiator” goes … “not yet “

  3. my earliest memory is of uncle Gopi carrying me..I think it was in Hartland and it was my grand mothers funeral..I don’t think I had even closed 2… he must have been an extraordinary man just like papa… they are together now

  4. Gops has always been one of my favorite uncles….always smiling..always cheerful…

    I was a young boy in Bombay when he came to work there…I remember vividly the day he decided to throw his calipers into the Arabian Sea at the Gateway…a powerfully symbolic gesture that was a tribute to his bravery….to his firm conviction that life had to be lived on his own terms…

    And what a cricketer he was…!!!…..despite his polio, he played for the Indian Express team…and scored all his runs in boundaries…front foot planted firmly down the wicket…powerful shoulders working the ball to all corners of the Azaad Maidan…

    We shared the same birthday: October 31st…and celebrated quite a few together ..with good old Sathi ammamma cooking for us….

    Those were the days….miss you Gops….I know that wherever you are, you will be smiling that huge smile still…..

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