He often told one of his classmates that he would become a writer. The classmate, in turn, told him that he aspired to become a pilot. When they met again, years later, both of them had achieved their goals — Dileep Padgaonkar was a writer, and his friend, former MP Suresh Kalmadi, had joined the Indian Air Force as a pilot. Padgaonkar, 72, passed away on Friday morning at the Ruby Hall Clinic.
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In April, Padgaonkar was interviewed for a documentary made by former students of St Vincent’s School, on the occasion of the institute completing 150 years. Rohan Salvi, a former student of St Vincent’s School and an instrumental designer, recalled how excited Padgaonkar had been while narrating experiences about his alma mater for the documentary, “especially when he spoke about his efforts to learn the trumpet under Father Riklin”.
“While he spoke highly about the Jesuit priests and Christian compassion he had learnt here, Padgaonkar told us ‘You leave the school but the school never leaves you’,” said the former student.
“Not just a renowned author but an illustrious Vincentian who made his ‘mark’ in life and was acknowledged by the country for his achievement as a journalist,”. This is what Raymond Rebello, from the Vincentian
Old Boys Association, wrote about Padgaonkar on a social networking site.
Padgaonkar was admitted to the clinic on November 18 in a critical condition after he suffered a massive heart attack. Dr Sanjay Pathare, the hospital’s medical director, said that his kidneys had also failed and he was immediately put on dialysis.
Dr Prachee Sathe, chief intensivist at the hospital, said Padgaonkar was on ventilator for five days. “… He passed away due to multiple organ failure after the heart attack,” said Sathe.
Padgaonkar is survived by his wife Latika, sons Nikhil and Rohit, and two sisters. Padgaonkar’s sister Nita Talavlikar said that he was a diabetic and had suffered a massive cardiac arrest. “The funeral will be held on November 26 at 3 pm at Vaikunth crematorium,” she said, adding that tributes and condolences, including those from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union ministers, had been pouring in.
In Pune, noted scientist Dr R A Mashelkar recalled his 30-year long association with Padgaonkar, saying the journalist was “a sharp analyst with a tremendous global view”.
“A fearless journalist, Padgaonkar has been the greatest editor the Times of India has seen,” said Mashelkar.
He said in recent times, Padgaonkar had been busy with the setting up of the Pune International Centre (PIC), a platform for the betterment of the city.