Knowing Guru (Lord Meghnand Desai)

I first met Guru at a large family gathering in Delhi when he was Chairman of the Airports Authority of India. Even after seventeen years of our marriage, I am always a bit lost in the many names and the exact cousinhood of each guest. Guru no doubt saw this immediately and took me under his wing to let me relate to the many people there at my own pace.

He was himself very lively and we talked about many things of interest about Delhi, about India and the world. I had been to Bhubaneshwar many decades ago while my older brother was stationed there as part of his civil service. I had been aware that “Mahapatra” is a formidable name to have and they are great writers. I was not to discover those parts of Guru’s persona till later. We did benefit from his formidable administrative skills. My problem was a trivial one by the kinds of challenges he was used to tackling. But he found someone who could deal with it, and it took him hardly any time but saved me lots of hassle and heartburn.

Guru had a remarkable presence. He did not impose himself in any obvious way but It was the ability to get things pushed forward in a relaxed but effective way which was impressive.

Of course I never had enough time to spend with him. None of us did. What we learnt during his final days ( of course we were not to know they would be final ) was how actively he was coping with many urgent demands for oxygen supplies, beds and doctors. While he was himself a patient, he was also the organiser par excellence.

From : Lord Meghnand Desai

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