Tribute: Remembering K Kurian

27 Aug,2012

By Jameel Gulrays

 

K Kurian

On the fourth death anniversary of K Kurian, once again I recall my 17-year-long association with him.

 

It was in 1977, when I walked up and down the stairs of Shah House, Colaba, at least three times before mustering courage to step inside for an interview with K Kurian, then CEO of Radeus Advertising, one of the best agencies of its time.

 

I was appearing for an interview for the post of ‘Hindi writer’. He was a man who was not only a brain to work with, but also stood tall amongst advertising contemporaries such as Subhash Ghoshal and Ayaz Peerbhoy.

 

Jameel Gulrays

The fact that he is no more is something I am unable to come to terms with, even today.

In the 17 years that I worked with him, I learnt 17 million things about everything – profession, ethics, values and conduct.

 

My dad passed away when I was eight, I lost my mother when I was 18; so when I joined him, I wanted him to guide me. And he did. He was like a father to me.

 

He taught me like a teacher would his favourite student, explaining ever so patiently with a pen and paper. I was like a dry sponge, absorbing everything he said. He was a diminutive man, but one who stood tall on the wealth of knowledge and good sense. He was the powerhouse who built teams and steered brands such as Amul, LIC, Limca, Maaza and Bisleri, and made each a leader in their category. He was an indulgent boss, at least for me. He taught me to treat people equally. No wonder he ensured that I flew with him in the same class, stayed in a similar hotel room as he did.

 

He led by example. And what a great walk we walked together. It would  have been a journey right up to his last breath, had it not been for one breach of trust on his part when one day, quietly, without even a whisper, he sold Radeus – an agency I was led to believe I would head one day. It was an earth-shattering moment for an orphan like me, to lose a parent again. It broke my heart to turn my back on him and walk away. And it stayed that way since then.

 

The news of his death was that one moment of loss, when I saw what a great contribution he’s made to who I am. The darkness I feel today is because this light has gone out of my life forever.

 

I miss you, sir. I miss you, Mr Kurian.

 

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