Guardian, guide, friend: Sidharth Rao
Abhinay Bhasin writes a tribute for the 'sweetheart of the industry'
Apr 23, 2023 10:55:00 AM | Article | Abhinay Bhasin Share -
A little over 24 hours when I heard the news that I had only wished was a bad dream. How does one capture the lasting impact of a man who in seven years grew to become such an integral part of one’s life?
Friend, guide, and confidant – Sid was not just a great leader, but a sweetheart of the industry. To me, he was one of my closest friends.
With countless memories at his word class farmhouse in Karjat or his favourite spots in Bandra, we shared everything from personal lives to how we were always going to make a dent in the industry we loved and boy did he do us proud.
For Sid, the agency he built at Webchutney – his avatar in which I first met him, was just as good as his baby. One he raised with extreme pride. What I learnt from him was a deep sense of loving what he did with the people he did it with. He always encouraged his troops and “mere bachche” to do pathbreaking work for their clients that grew friends. The sense of empowerment enabled him to grow not just a team of great leaders, but a team of many rising entrepreneurs who in turn produced some of the best work in the industry. His vision of taking Indian creative talent to the world was fulfilled when he conquered Cannes and even then said “let my team collect the awards and not me."
He cheered the loudest for every single award.
Sid’s energy was infectious. The man who spread love and positivity in just about anything. He was the life of every party and gave bone-crushing hugs to hold on to you if you even hinted at leaving a party before time – also seen when you left his cabin at work. He simply loved everything he did and everyone around him. His leader, his leadership, his friends, and his family. No matter how low you felt before meeting him, you would always leave a meeting with him with a beaming smile on your face and a happy heart.
From plans to change advertising to conquering the world of creativity X Ttech through Punt Ventures, Sid was a dreamer who made everything seem possible and did. I remember when he sent me his signed copy with a personal note attached on ‘How I Almost Blew It’ – a book that’s become a bible for several entrepreneurs. I called him up and said Sid, this is going to be in my library forever and I’m glad you’re impacting generations to come.
They say that the hallmark of a great friendship is one for which there are hardly any photos that can be shared for the public domain but a lifetime of memories etched in our hearts forever.
To the kindest and sweetest of the souls, I’ve ever met. You lived a life of happiness on your terms. You took creativity and Indian talent to the world, enabling them to conquer every award and re-write history.
Until we meet again Sid - in Lonavala, Pali Hill, Karjat, or Goa. Cheers to you and all you did.
(The author is head of product at ProfitWheel. He worked with Sidharth Rao at Dentsu for seven years.)