I was devastated when I heard the news yesterday that Manohar Parrikar left us to move on to another; hopefully better destination.
I was emotional when I had to speak about him as a mentor in my life on the national television channel Republic TV yesterday and today.
The words to express his impact in my life, in the lives of the people of Goa and India continues to fall short.
He was a legend and has left a legacy to inspire all Indians.
Every once in a while you come across a political leader that you admire, look up to and willingly make your mentor.
Manohar Parrikar was one such leader in my eyes.
Having known him as a journalist for the last several years, even before I moved my office base to Goa, he intrigued me with his knowledge and memory.
I was extremely thrilled to see Parrikar fighting back with his illness to continue to serve Goa.
To have suffered from pancreatic cancer is a terrible misfortune but Parrikar fought it bravely and continued to fight it till his last breath with all his Josh.
I have always maintained that politics in Goa is driven by charisma of political leaders.
Over the last decade and more Parrikar has tactfully, ruthlessly and unflinchingly positioned himself as the political leader to fear.
But more than all his political acumen, it was his simplicity and humility that were endearing qualities to those who lives he touched with his mere presence.
He was intelligent, determined and extremely focussed on his visions.
At most times many people, including his own people, did not understand the method to his madness.
Parrikar was not a man driven by money. He was a man driven by this innate desire to be remembered as someone who made Goa a world-class socio-economic destination.
Goa benefitted from a visionary political leader like Parrikar throughout his illustrious political career and would have benefitted much more had he stayed on, fighting fit.
Goa needed a leader who could set in motion a vision of a better tomorrow for Goa and not someone who is driven by a vision of better tomorrow for their coffers. Parrikar was that leader.
He was selfless and incorruptible.
His mission was a Better Goa, his vision was a Vibrant Goa socially and economically.
He was an educated man who reluctantly donned the mantle of a politician and then decided that it was his duty to the state and it’s people to give his reluctant role his best.
Even as the Union Minister of Defence, he brought his systematic approach and logical thinking too the table and reshaped the operations of the ministry to instil in the personnel a fortitude and a confidence in matters of defence and taking tough decisions in the interest of the nation.
But most of all what I admired and loved about him was that politics was not a means to a wealthy ends to him; politics to him was about serving the people unflinchingly and devotedly. So much so that at times the people he was doing it for, never truly understood his intent.
I am blessed to have lived in the era of a great leader like Manohar Parrikar, to have walked with him, shared ideas with him and break bread with him.
He will always be a man I would want to emulate as I choose to walk in his footsteps and work towards fulfilling his dreams of Better Goa and Better India.
Until we meet again Mr Parrikar. Let me bid adieu to you with fondest regards for shaping my life.