I first met Anil Datta sahib within the winter of 2012 after I joined The News. It didn’t take a lot to know that he was somebody who most popular to reside inside his ideas greater than on this planet round him.
Judging by the information he possessed on quite a lot of topics, particularly the humanities, it was fairly attainable that his interior world was a lot bigger and extra vibrant than the exterior world. His basic aura gave one the sense that he felt misplaced in his bodily environment.
When performed with work or feeling like a break, he typically reclined in his chair and sang to himself, along with his eyes closed and the folks round him rendered non-existent for so long as he wished to remain inside.
I imagine ‘Que Sera, Sera’ — sung first by Doris Day in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 movie ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ — was considered one of his favourites, as a result of he apparently sang that tune greater than every other.
I keep in mind that after we talked about Doris Day’s demise on May 13 final 12 months, he appeared unhappy. Little did anybody know that solely a month and a half later, on June 28, we’d be discussing how he instantly left this world.
Among the issues everybody remembers about him probably the most is his conscientiousness when it got here to his work. His stories have been nothing if not trustworthy — typically a bit of too trustworthy. He by no means shied away from his assignments. None of the youthful journalists might ever sustain with him.
Whenever he filed a report, none of us knew what to anticipate. It might both be a straightforward modifying — largely proofreading — job due to his impeccable English, or it might be a frightening problem due to the subject material, one thing which may have appeared a bit of cake to him due to his years and years of expertise.
Even although each single considered one of us has discovered one thing from him — I don’t suppose he ever knew — nobody has dared to tackle the mantle after his demise. He has left behind very massive sneakers to fill. It simply can’t be performed. Datta sahib is irreplaceable.
That he was lonely was an open secret. In truth, he had at the very least on one event admitted, in no unsure phrases, that he regretted not getting married when he was youthful, giving a lot pause to these of us who have been single.
The sense of him not having the ability to belong was sturdy while you talked to him or have been even simply in his presence. He was drifting within the void between two opposing worlds: the world that was, that had given him as a lot because it might after which pushed him ahead, and the world that wouldn’t settle for him till he embraced it with out resistance.
He at all times felt like he belonged extra to yesterday than immediately. So yesterday is the place we’ll have to search out him. And there’s nothing we are able to do about it. To borrow from the tune of Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, immortalised by the mellifluous — considered one of Datta sahib’s oft-used adjectives — voice of Doris Day, “whatever will be, will be”.