I've never written an obit. Never thought I would.
But this is for a man who never ceased to amaze me - with his goodness, with his talent, with his eccentricities... With his 'humaness'. Dhaval Dhairyawan, a person who I will always regard as a friend first and then the chief photographer of TopGear India, left this world of ours yesterday, March 22, 2012, after a prolonged illness leaving behind a doting sister and a caring father.
When I joined TopGear, I knew most of the guys working here. Among the handful I didn't know, was Dhaval. But it didn't stay that way for long. And I think of it as a privilege because like a lot of things in life, Dhaval was also extremely choosy about his friends and people he would like to be with.
From being a young photojournalist at the Times Journal of Photography to blistering the automotive segment with his prolific style in TopGear, Dhaval was easily one of the best photographers in India, today. His energy was unending - especially if there was a set of wheels to shoot. If there was anything else that he loved as much as his work then it was cars. Which obviously always made him push harder and further.
There have been times when I urged him to go easy on the innovation for the smaller shoots but he would not listen. I've not met many perfectionists in life, but Dhaval definitely was one. His courage and steely resolve to get things done and soldier on - I was envious at times of his tough character and immense talent. There have been moments where I have drawn inspiration from him but I never got a chance to tell him that.
I knew Dhaval for only six years, but I will cherish his friendship for my lifetime. And I am sure, I am not the only one who would think that way.
If there's any such thing as rebirth, Dhaval, it will be a pleasure to meet you again.