I last interacted with Anupam a few days ago. We’re hiring at MediaNama, and because he knew what it’s like to work with us, and he’s always been a part of the MediaNama family, I had reached out to him. As always, my mail mentioned that he’d be welcome back, because it was like he never left. He would always laugh that off slightly embarrassed because he was much happier doing what he was doing. I knew it, and he knew I knew it.
My first memory of Anupam is when he had come to our office in Delhi for a job interview. He loved tech, and wanted to write about gadgets. I convinced him that’s there’s more interestingness in writing about tech business than gadgets. He worked with us for two years, and I particularly remember an instance when he returned happy from a press conference, because he had the trickiest questions, and had thought of things the company hadn’t expected. He took great pride in that, and I took great pride in him. I don’t recall a single instance where he said no to work, and I learned yesterday from his father how that passion for work and tech ran through his very being: it kept him excited, and he took that attitude of forming his own opinion and speaking his mind, with him, when he left MediaNama. By the time he left MediaNama, he was running it, and it felt like he would be here forever. Only one thing could, and did make him switch: his love for reviewing gadgets. His father told me he’d stay up late at night working on reviews because his readers expected it.
I don’t think anyone else knows this, but AppNama was started for Anupam. One day, he and I sat down and discussed what we would do if we were to start a gadgets site: that way, he would get to do what he loves, splitting his time between MediaNama and the gadgets site. Eventually, we figured out that the gap in the market was in reviewing apps, not gadgets, and though we ran it for a while (and revived it again to shutter it again later), his calling was still in reviewing gadgets.
He was always excited about things and developments, sometimes opinionated about people, but always measured with his words about himself. We stayed in touch over twitter, and there was the occasional call (I remember one conversation where he had called for advice, and we chatted for a few hours, and I again tried convincing him about returning). We met up every now and then at events, and with Rajat and Balu for beer.
In all of this, Anupam never let on how fragile his health was. I only found out after our annual 10 day break, that he had had health issues while on holiday. He had been, I learned yesterday, careful about letting on that it had almost been fatal. I’m only guessing here, but he probably didn’t want to be treated differently because his health was so fragile. He’d had a heart condition since birth. He was careful about staying healthy because he needed it; he also had spirit: his sister and father told me yesterday about how he would come out fighting because he wanted to live. His existence was so fragile that he cherished health and life, which we take for granted. Yesterday, Anupam passed away due to that heart condition, in his sleep. He’s still alive in our memories, and he is missed.