‘Whatever he did, he valued so much’

Photographer. Friend. Colleague. Ravi Kanojia leaves behind a multitude of memories. Tashi remembers Kanojia, who died on an assignment on May 9.

Updated: May 17, 2016 11:09 am

Ravi was constantly a part of our lives. We have our own Whatsapp group, where we post things that are funny, and are always in touch. For us (the photography department of The Indian Express), our lives and lifestyle have been closely knit all these years. All our night-outs, parties and work have been with each other. Ravi had recently got a new place in Delhi’s Rajnagar Extension, and he was planning a party as well.

One thing that I admired the most about him was that he was a complete disciplinarian. I used to tell this to other people, too. It is not just about waking up early. It was everything — from what to buy, to clothes to cleanliness to investments.

Ravi Kanojia, Ravi Kanojia death, Ravi Kanojia photos, Express Photographer, Express Photographer death, Ravi Kanojia Indian Express, Indian Express A boy jumps into a baoli at Nizamuddin Dargah in Delhi — winner of Delhi Tourism award during the Commonwealth Games.

He was very particular about the way he looked and smelled. He was very particular about technology and gadgets too. The Indian Express social networking presence is among the strongest, and he was the main Instagrammer.

WATCH VIDEO | Ravi Kanojia, 1982-2016

Coming from Ludhiana, he had an innate sense of pride in everything he had achieved. Whatever he did, he valued so much. And it wasn’t just the awards, but also the smallest things in his life. For instance, if there was a message from the editors praising a photograph — he would wear it like a star on his shoulders.

Ravi Kanojia, Ravi Kanojia death, Ravi Kanojia photos, Express Photographer, Express Photographer death, Ravi Kanojia Indian Express, Indian Express Sachin Tendulkar at a BCCI photoshoot a day before his last Ranji trophy match in 2013.

We used to play pranks on him a lot. I remember when he first got transferred from Ludhiana to Delhi. It was in 2009. We were supposed to go and shoot the Ramnath Goenka Awards. Ravi didn’t know his way around Delhi at that time. Another photographer from our team, Praveen Khanna, and I were always mischievous with him in the beginning.

That evening, Ravi was on his motorcycle, as were we, and he kept telling us, “Don’t drive too fast. I don’t want to get lost.” Khanna and I have this thing where we don’t talk but make eye contact. We did so that moment, too, and at a roundabout close by, we starting driving round and round until we spread out and vanished. Ravi kept going around and got lost.

Ravi Kanojia, Ravi Kanojia death, Ravi Kanojia photos, Express Photographer, Express Photographer death, Ravi Kanojia Indian Express, Indian Express Rehearsal for International Yoga Day in 2015

The most beautiful thing about him was that he used to show distress but was always smiling. No matter how much one was rude to him, and even I have been many times, he was always smiling. He was never angry or impatient. He was very calm and mature about everything.

Ravi Kanojia, Ravi Kanojia death, Ravi Kanojia photos, Express Photographer, Express Photographer death, Ravi Kanojia Indian Express, Indian Express Another shot of International Yoga Day rehearsal, at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Another thing he used to keep saying was, “Aapne bataya nahi” (You didn’t tell). One day he kept saying that and I lost my cool. He quietly smiled and said, “Aapne bataya toh tha, par samjhaya nahi”. (You did tell, but didn’t explain).

 An image from Ravi Kanojia’s series on the Muzaffarnagar riots, which won him a National Award in 2014. An image from Ravi Kanojia’s series on the Muzaffarnagar riots, which won him a National Award in 2014.

He won a National Award in 2014 for his photographs of the Muzaffarnagar riots (top). In 2010, he won the Best Photographer in the north Indian region by the Canon Press. During the Commonwealth Games, there was a photography campaign by Delhi Tourism, and his photographs did really well there as well.

Ravi Kanojia, Ravi Kanojia death, Ravi Kanojia photos, Express Photographer, Express Photographer death, Ravi Kanojia Indian Express, Indian Express Sebastian Vettel of Germany after winning the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida.

He was extremely particular about his photographs but, beyond that, he made sure he updated himself on photography, both from India and other countries. He used to hold discussions about photojournalism a lot and often felt sad about how tough it was getting.

Ravi Kanojia, Ravi Kanojia death, Ravi Kanojia photos, Express Photographer, Express Photographer death, Ravi Kanojia Indian Express, Indian Express Narendra Modi, BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate, arrives at the international airport in Delhi

He was entrepreneurial in nature and he had thought about getting out and doing something on his own — opening his own studio and doing his own thing with photography and videography.

I am on my way to Ludhiana now and I don’t know how I’m going to react when I see his parents. I keep hearing Ravi’s voice and seeing his face in my mind. His death is so untimely.

Ravi Kanojia, Ravi Kanojia death, Ravi Kanojia photos, Express Photographer, Express Photographer death, Ravi Kanojia Indian Express, Indian Express Ravi Kanojia (1982-2016)