Tuesday, June 06, 2006

solly ballim.... I shall miss him

Namashte … kaise hain aap ? Theek Hain ?

I shall miss these words. Those were the standard greeting phrase that Solly used when he called me up. Plato said ‘He who is of calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age’. Solly practiced this philosophy till end. He never looked to me as senior citizen. In fact, he was keen to get married at this age, perhaps to get rid of loneliness after losing his wife. His only condition was that ‘she should be Muslim’. Born and Grew up in South Africa, he kept roots with India and Gujarati language and was proud of his lineage. ‘Peripatetic’ would be the classic word to describe Solly. He loved travelling- be it India, Middle East or African continent- connecting people, transacting business. I wish I had half of his enthusiasm at my age.

Frank and open, transparent in business dealings and genuine warmth in his approach. His business acumen was sharp and his enthusiasm for business expansion was admirable. If he were to stop over in Dubai on his way to other locations, he would make sure to give me a call .

When I was in South Africa, I was keen to meet him but when I called up his mobile; I heard someone’s conversation on his answering machine. Later I came to know that he underwent major abdominal surgery. After few weeks, I tried reaching him but the same message was being replayed. I had no doubt that he would bounce back. But sad, he couldn’t.. I learnt from his son that he passed away..

I shall miss him for sure….


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