By Cyrus Todiwala
IT WAS just two weeks ago that my wife Pervin and I were on a Face Time call with our dear friends, Kirit and Meena Pathak.
Kirit, as usual, was full of high spirits and said he was working on a new project he would like me to be involved in as it had a charity link in India.
We spoke about other things, our current situation included, in a chat must have been well over an hour. Thereafter, we exchanged messages, too.
Imagine our shock when we suddenly got a message from Meena to say Kirit was involved in a car crash and broken both his legs. I was told he was ok and sent messages to the children to keep us up to date.
Kirit was, of course, asking for things to be set up around his hospital bed so that he could continue to work and keep on top of his things.
His two children in the UK were on their way to Dubai, and Meena breathed a sigh of relief as they would help with Kirit’s recovery and boost his spirits.
Sadly, however, Kirit did not make it and in his passing, we have lost a stalwart in our society.
Meena was my classmate at university in India and we did our catering qualification together, completing it in 1976. I started out in the kitchen and Meena left for the UK in a few months and married Kirit, then not yet a famous personality.
When we arrived in the UK, we got in touch with them once we were established to some extent. Later we got to know what the Pathaks had accomplished.
Their spice pastes and combinations were used across the UK’s Indian restaurant sector and a few products were displayed on supermarket shelves, but not much else was known about the brand at the time.
At a family lunch, perhaps in 1976 or 1977, Kirit and Meena were at our home in London. He told me his dream was to have a Pathak’s jar in every home across the world. He went on to achieve that goal and it became a household name, trusted worldwide.
It was a result of his business tenacity, along with his inimitable spirit and his peaceful and calm nature.
Kirit was a deeply religious and spiritual man with a generosity of spirit and helpfulness for others. He was also a very private man. When Kirit spoke, you listened, and often it felt as though you may be listening to a sage delivering a sermon.
Pervin and I have lost a good friend in Kirit, and his family will miss a doting father and husband. He shall be immensely missed, but he leaves behind an inspirational legacy for not just his family and friends but for all future generations of youngsters who wish to create success regardless of where we hail from, our religion, colour or creed.
Britain is the platform from whence success can be created and all we need is to be like Kirit – focused, determined, hard working, passionate, amiable, friendly, kind , generous and never afraid to make mistakes to learn and to succeed.
May Kirit’s soul rest in eternal peace and may his family carry that flag and keep on shining the light for others to follow.
I write this with deep sorrow and as a small dedication to the passing away of a great man who leaves behind him a large footprint in the sands of time.