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Sunday, June 2, 2019

Trevor Manuel

There are some people who leave indelible marks on your life. One such, for me, is Trevor Manuel. We'd both joined the Mumbai Mirror newsdesk in 2008, just a couple of months apart. Trevor and I worked on editing many, many stories together. Nearly half of what I know about editing was learned through conversations with him as I designed pages (how much he hated the grids on Quark Xpress!) and he stood behind me with either a print out, or a cup of coffee or his glasses in his hand. I called him Trev (in spite of his seniority in age and position) and he told me many times that the only other person who had ever called him Trev was Sunil Gavaskar. I played a lot of Dylan, Elvis, Clapton and Scorpions on my PC and he was amazed that someone as young as me (I was 25 then) counted Tears in Heaven as one of her favourites. Once, he suggested a headline, "All I want is a room somewhere," for a story about rents in Mumbai on a page I was designing. I loved it and started singing the song. However, it wouldn't fit in the stipulated type so we had to change it to something very dry (a big mistake). Trev told me that on the eve of the India vs West Indies final in the 1983 World Cup cricket, he was supposed to do the front page. Since the deadline was before the match started in England, he was in a fix about what should be the headline. "Somehow, I believed India would win and I wrote that. My entire career was on the line. And India won!" I looked at him in disbelief. He smiled. When Ayaz Memon posted about his demise today, I was in shock. I hardly met him after I left Mumbai in 2008 and am finding it hard to reconcile that he will now only be a memory. RIP, Trev!

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