Sunday, July 14, 2024

The master is no more


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Shillong has lost an eminent citizen and journalism has lost a symbolic figure with the passing of Gean Willington Lyngdoh.

Affectionately addressed as Bah-Gean, he was an ace writer who had a deep understanding of subjects, particularly finance and politics. He had an exceptional command over English. In the 1990s some of his reports and articles on banking and finance were hailed as trend-setters.

Bah-Gean’s difference was the depth of research he put into his work. During the pre-internet days in early 1990s, he would laboriously go through back issues of newspapers, journals and magazines, making notes in his diary, before interviewing his subject. He could put a person at ease quickly yet had a reputation of shooting the toughest questions.

I still remember the good old days when I was a correspondent for The Observer and Amrita Bazar Patrika based at Shillong. I often visited the Shillong Press Club for networking of stories. There would be this middle aged man, suited and booted, wearing thick black frame spectacles, typing out a clean copy of his story at one go.

I once asked him how he managed it, as I had to waste paper after paper before a final copy was ready to be sent by fax or telex. He remarked, “…this is a news manufacturing centre… stay here and you will learn the tricks soon…”

His cool looks and attire led the Late D. L. Tharuh, ex- news editor of The Meghalaya Guardian to refer to him as John Major II, after the former Prime Minister of the U.K.

Bah-Gean was fond of Jim Reeves, Connie Francis and Elvis Presley. He was a recluse, yet had a large heart and was always helpful. I can still recall the valuable tips he had given when I was making my first weekly news review script for All India Radio.

The age gap between us never deterred our friendship. In fact, every Sunday at 2:00 p.m., my home phone would ring and a friendly voice would ask me to hurry up to the press club for ‘manufacturing news’ and to polish a drink.

Hey Bah-Gean, may your soul rest in eternal bliss! (By Sandeep Acharya)



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