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Raj Kanwar leaves for the Great Beyond

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By Dr Tania Saili Bakshi 

When I joined mainstream media in early 2000, I heard about Raj Kanwar, the legend of Dehradun, whose encyclopedic knowledge about Dehradun was phenomenal. Our resident-chronicler was proud of his city which, in turn, showered him and his close-knit family with love and affection.

A thorough gentleman, I remember him walking up to the stage to escort Mrs Colleen Gantzer off the stage and to her seat when she was felicitated at an event by Garhwal Post. They don’t make them like him anymore. He lived by his values and made it a point to remember everyone by name right from my parents down to my daughter. He had a personal rapport with all of them. He never missed Diwali greetings accompanied by a gift of love.

I last connected with him in early April regarding ‘Authors from the Valley’, a monthly session with an author from Dehradun hosted at the VoW Cafe – Gallery – Studio. He replied in the affirmative instantly. He worked on everything in detail, from his list of guests, to the seating arrangement, the high-tea – to be as perfect as him and his wife Amber.  He visited the café twice: first to make sure he had the correct location and, then, the second time, for the event.

The octogenarian author made an instant connect with his audience across all age groups as he shared his encyclopaedic knowledge about his home-town. He brought alive iconic institutions such as the Forest Research Institute, Indian Military Academy, Survey of India, RIMC, and Dehradun Railway Station interlaced with humor, anecdotes, date-lines, and carried on. The session the spilled well over an hour.

I am sure Raj Kanwar must be in heaven as our in-house chronicler, regaling his audience with stories of his home, those whom he met and loved.

We will all miss you dearly!