BY ADIL RASHEED / 21 June 2004: He was standing there. Smiling. Looking in my direction, or so it seemed. I, with my two-year old son in a pram, was standing outside a kids wear outlet at the BurJuman Centre, when this chance meeting with Prannoy Roy took place. Yes the man who has revolutionised television ...
in India and who is the chairman of NDTV channel was right in front of me. I was puzzled, unsure and blurted out an enquiry. "Good Evening. Are you ..er.. Mr Prannoy Roy?"
"I am," he said as his eyes marvelled my amazement. Seizing the moment, I introduced myself and said it was people like him who led me into journalism. "And you are regretting it now?" the angelic face smiled.
"Well they say the print media is not as challenging as the electronic media, and not so lucrative at that," I replied.
"No! print media is important. It helps in honing your skills," he observed. I agreed.
"Tell me, how is NDTV doing in Dubai. Are people really watching it with interest," he said showing concern. I assured him that the channel was quite popular in the Gulf region. However, I later realised I should have told him not everyone was able to afford to watch the channel as it was part of an expensive package.
BurJuman was bristling with activity at that time, but few expected to find a celebrity in their midst. So the two of us continued, uninterrupted. Roy, who was on a stopover visit to the country, was all praise for the UAE and the way Dubai Media City was coming up. He said the future looked bright for the country and wondered what kept India from attaining such a high level of development.
Then, he asked me to tell him more about the UAE and its people. I humbly stated that the country was enjoying great prosperity primarily due to the broadminded and hospitable nature of its people.
The wise and enterprising leadership of the country has not only benefited the lives of its own people but millions of lives worldwide.
As I spoke I observed he was listening to me intently. It was a little embarrassing, if not rude, for me to do all the talking. But, I found out that this bright man who has revolutionised television in the subcontinent is of the self-effacing kind and is a very good listener.
"It's nice to know about Dubai from a fellow journalist," were his parting words. Now there is humility for you. One does not meet a famous person in a shopping mall every day. More importantly, one does not meet a thorough gentleman that often.