Nothing was impossible for Agashe and a job meant doing things honestly and completely
Anil Agashe, my friend, go in peace. You beat us in the end game. You always said that it would be great to exit without bothering anyone and just push off to the afterlife. Well, you are truly blessed. You got your wish. But, you leave behind some very dear friends and family who are shocked at this untimely exit and shall mourn for you. I know you will not like us to shed tears, but the human mind and heart are frail. Time does not always heal everything.
I met Anil for the first time, sometime in 1985 or 1986. I was a financial intermediary and he had joined the finance team of a company which was our ‘bread and butter’ client. That company never had a ‘finance’ person and Anil went about his job professionally. In less than a year, he had reduced the company’s dependence on financial intermediaries and set the company on the path to self-reliance, in matters financial. That was Anil. Nothing was impossible and a job meant doing things honestly and completely. We never had a fight and we used to exchange notes on various complexities in leasing or hire purchase or banking.
After 1989, I totally lost touch with him. Moneylife brought us in touch. I next met him in the offices of Moneylife, about the time the magazine was launched. We exchanged notes on our lives and since Pune was my regular haunt, we have stayed in touch.
Anil and I exchanged notes on life. A lot in common. Being born, just a few months apart, he had completed his milestones faster than I did and had left the corporate world more than a decade earlier than I did. Pune University was smart enough to have taken him on as a Professor and the students who tutored under him would have been lucky to get lessons from a professor who was not at all academic but used his learnings from corporate life to give the students a first-hand experience of what life would be after college.
Music was something that was also a common thread that held us together. He had a phenomenal collection of Hindustani music. Our common favourites included Kumar Gandharva, Kishori Amonkar, Bhimsen et al. Of course, the seventies, eighties, nineties were the big common span that we traversed. Life had taught us similar lessons and we ended up with very similar values.
Anil was a rationalist. Disturbed by all that we see happening around us. He was sceptic enough to doubt everything, but never letting the scepticism coming in the way of helping others. Like anyone else, we had our views on everything from a cricket match to the way the monetary policy is being administered. He was cogent enough to put things in to words and put it on a blog. Go through his blog and you will know his passions. From history, economics, politics, sociology to Marathi literature. Anil was also blunt. Not for him the diplomatic approach. Never afraid to speak his mind.
He also found the time and energy to write a few books. Anil has written and co-authored books on ‘Capital markets and Financial services’, ‘Management Control System’ and ‘ India and International Trade’.
I have been to his classes on a couple of occasions and could see the strong bond that he created between himself and the students. I am sure that his students passed out with realistic expectations from life rather than unadulterated dreams.
Anil and I go back a long way. We have shared thoughts, meals, drinks and lots more. Happy and content with life, he gave back more than he got, through his interactions with students over so many years. My visits to Pune over the last few years were often created to give me an excuse to meet with him. We always met at the Deccan Gymkhana, where he was a member. He never wanted to come to an outside restaurant. If the objective was to spend quality time together, why not do it with minimum spend? A clear reflection on the times we grew up in.
I had spoken to him about a week about First Leasing Company. He had spent some time in his career with them and we talked about the recent developments. We also talked about a current politician who is now surprising us, given his track record in corporate India. We shared some interesting times I am fortunate that our paths met at several points, in our lives.
Yes, we did talk about investments. But not enough. Both of us knew enough promoters to be sceptic about stock market investing. For us investing was totally risk free. We knew we were taking chances with our money. I do not think that we lose money. Trading in the markets was never a big thing. We were happy with our Cummins and Crisils and left the rest to the others.
Anil, hated being idle. His blog, the social media et al has been his outlets to convey his views and for reaching out to people. His visits to his village or to a holiday place were never complete without his sharing an anecdote or some photographs.
I did not have the privilege of being introduced to his family. I am sure that they will have lots more to say about him. I am sure that his family will miss his calm and composure in dealing with the things routine or out of the ordinary.
Anil has been lucky to exit this life in the way he wanted to. Without pain, without suffering. He could have waited longer to have his wish fulfilment. While he got his wish there are his near and dear who would have wanted his company for a longer period.
Anil, RIP. Wherever you are, I am sure you will be busy sharing your thoughts.