Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rusi Brij - A Personal Tribute

Today I lost a Dear Friend, a Well Wisher and a true Mentor.

Rusi (Ex-Vice Chairman, Hexaware) was a man full of life. He knew how to live it and how to enjoy every moment of it. In his short life-span Rusi lived his life as if he knew he would not have time to enjoy a period of retirement and the so called finer things. He believed in enjoying the finer things while he still had a true appreciation of them.

I still remember the absolute SHOCK when he came to my office and told me he had cancer over a year back. I remember my initial reaction of not believing it. There had to be a mistake. Not Rusi. I was then up the whole night trying to understand more about the very virulent form of cancer he had.

He was always so charged and optimistic. He was sure he would beat it and continued to lead his life as he always did, with confidence, zest and the assurance that the future had much that it held for him. He inspired hope and instilled optimism in all of us.

He took a deep interest in my new venture which is in the Health and Wellness space and not only did he invest his personal money in the business but went out of his way to spend an in-ordinate amount of time with me giving constructive inputs and helping me connect with people who could support our business. And that is how he was with everyone who came in touch with him.

Always selflessly willing to help, always willing to give time and listening. He was profoundly intelligent and had a fantastic sense of what would work. His charisma, optimism and confidence was such that just being in his presence, its sheen would rub off on you and you would be inspired to go out and do more.

It made a huge impact to me personally as I worked at kick starting a new venture which was an un-tried and un-tested business model. His un-wavering confidence in our venture’s opportunity and potential gave me the courage to continue to drive the venture even more aggressively. And we are seeing the benefits of that now.

Rusi, you were a great Father, Husband, Son and just an amazing Human Being. You touched all of us in many ways, all of them positive. You will be missed not only by all your near and dear family, but by all of us who came in contact with you.

You were a bright shooting star which blazed through our lives shining brightly, bathing us in your glory and vanished before we fully appreciated the impact you had on us.

I will personally miss my Friend, my Golf Partner, my Sounding Board, my Mentor and Well Wisher.

God Bless and Peace to You.



  1. We will miss Rusi and his zest for life and he was a true epicurean with a taste and eye for finer things in life.
    He was a strategist and had clarity of vision and genuinely turned around Hexaware. He was a proud father and a very loving husband. He waxed eloquent about how Renu was the anchor of the family and how she spent hours on the net researching his illness and the remedies. We pray that he is in peace and we wish strength and serenity for his family.

    Sumit Ganguli

  2. Dag Hammarskjold once said that the longest journey is the journey inward. Rusi struck me as a person who had made that inward journey. He was honest and pure.

    We spoke of building a business with together. We all have dreams and unfortunately some of them are never to be.

    I hope his spirit looks after his family and all of us for the rest of our time here. I know he can hear us say, "Thanks Rusi, for your friendship and everything."

    Dilip Keshu

  3. We will surely miss him. I happen to know Rusi very recently and wasn't aware of his medical condition. I asked him casually what next after Hexaware stint? Retirement ? He said " What retirement - I would like to start another services business. This was very recent. I can't believe it.

    My deep condolences to his family and friends. May his soul rest in peace.


  4. Rusi was a mentor, advisor and a pillar of support. He knew about my new venture and offered invaluable advice, just as he did with many others. He had a way of touching lives around him – selflessly and with humility. He leaves behind a family that he loved, and that is greatly loved and cared for by all his friends and well-wishers.

    Here’s to Rusi - for a great innings and for a life well-lived and a heart well-loved. We will miss you Rusi…


  5. Rusi, my dearest friend, is gone. He put up a brave fight against a wicked disease; a fight that would have taken a lesser man months ago. I saw him off at Newark airport on his way home to Delhi, as he was wheelchaired to the gate, keping cheerful and optimistic, expressing more concern over my trivial issues rather than dwell on his own worries.

    We first met as colleagues in the mid-80s, at Sonata in Bangalore, and then went on to operate and grow a small startup called Satyam. Ever since then, I cannot recollect taking a significant step without Rusi's insight and guidance.

    And I'm sure I am one of many who have relished Rusi's genuine and supportive friendship. Always there, willing to listen, no hidden agendas, brimming with optimism, rock-solid dependable.

    Friends, let's take a lesson from Rusi's own books - let's not grieve or weep, but gratefully acknowledge his influence, and thank him for his friendship. May God bless him.

    Rakesh Bhatia

  6. Rusi was a dear friend, a mentor and a great supporter. He was a man with clear ideas and had a lot of depth. He advised me on various fronts when I launched my venture few years ago, and continued to provide support all along.
    Our family ties grew stronger each day since the day we met the Brij family. Rusi was a genuine,kind hearted, and a fun person. I learnt how to play cards in his company. He truly knew the finer things in life and was always very keen to share and enjoy with his family and friends. He always had an optimistic and positive aura around him and nothing was impossible for him.
    Rusi, you have been a gem of a father, a husband, a son, and a true friend. I do feel privileged to have been in your close circle of friends. We will miss you...

  7. We will surely miss a friend and a leader who is so humble and down to earth. And yes, his swift and prompt responses to emails too. My deep condolences to his family.

  8. Rusi was an amazing and inspiring human being. He always dealt with people with empathy and respect. I considered him as a role model in keeping one self fit and always remembered of his energy and enthusiasm when working with friends and colleagues. I couldn't believe when I heard he was had cancer, but thought that he would fight it out. With his sudden death, I am at loss to express my sad feelings.

    Hats Off to Rusi for leading a wonderful life, though I wish it was much longer...
    My condolences to his wife and kids.

  9. I am not able to beleive this and am still in a state of shock. He was not only a role model but also a wonderful human being. I can never forget the days we all worked with him in Satyam, and the hospitality we enjoyed when he hosted parties at his home.
    My deep and heart felt condolences for his family, especially Renuji and the kids.


  10. Rusi was a great a human being, his favorite line was "The reward is the journey" and we are all rewarded by the journey he lead with us.

    His sense of humour and ablity to be calm in toughest of situation is a lesson to anyone who has had the priviledge to know and work with him.

    Lets pray that he his family finds peace and may his soul rest in peace


  11. Rusi was my best friend, my first Boss at India Today, my mentor and a guru. We celebrated together and enjoyed together. I last met him when he had taken time during his visit to India to help me with a challenging assignment. I never thought that that will be our last meeting. And he kept his disease a secret from all his friends in India. May be he did not wish to make us suffer. May God bless his soul.
    Rajiv Tewari

  12. Thought and an open letter to the Brij family

    Rusi was a dear friend, a mentor and a big brother to me. We met 7 years ago and it we clicked as if we had known each other for years. Our families grew closer and we came to rely on each other. Rusi was also my golfing partner and we invested together in a few ventures and were working on his next gig.

    When Rusi and Renu told us at dinner that Rusi had cancer, we were shocked and I thought to myself that this is one person whose positive attitude and his intensity for life will beat this disease hands down. I was wrong and this is one time I was so desperate to be right as in him our family has lost a true friend, mentor and brother

    He was a true family person and a loving husband to Renu and a great father to Karan and Ria. He was a good brother to Dolly and Nidhi, and a great son. He was glad that Karan was settled and poised for good things and was content and happy that Ria was going to a good college He will be missed immensely as people like him are rare and very few.

    All the time I have known him, he always stepped out of his way to help and advise others selfishly. He helped my wife in building her business and was always available to listen and offer advice. There is now a vacuum in our life that will always be felt. His passing away is still a shock to us and I can still see him in my mind and his voice still echoes in me.

    We will not recover from this shock but we need to start living our life the way Rusi lived it – optimistic, willingness to help and above all a positive attitude. It is also the time for us as friends to become a pillar of support to the Brij family. We need to

    Karan, a lot of responsibility has come on to you and we are here to help you work through it. You should know that we are there for any help you need irrespective of what it is. We are your mentors just like your father was for us. We will never be able to make up for the loss of your father but we will try to soften it as much as we can.

    Ria, you are on your way to start a new life at a college that your father felt was a good fit for you. You know he was proud of you and your achievements. We are here for anything you need us for

    Renu, the loss is immense and we all can only imagine what you are going though. Time is a healing factor but cannot repair the loss. We as extended family will stand by you and help you in any way you want. Life is never fair and this was a very ‘unfair’ blow to you. But such is life we cannot fight it we have to live it as Rusi would say.

    Rusi , you will be missed – so long you will always be in our life

  13. I have had the honor of being introduced to Rusi & Renu by Harpreet & Karamjeet 6 years ago and have had the privilege of working with them ever since.

    My deepest condolences to the family. Renu, please feel free to call on me if I can make any aspect of this easier on you & the kids.

  14. I had the privilege and pleasure of meeting Rusi through Sanjay & Dolly Vatsa. Of course, I had heard of him much before that as one of the stalwarts of the IT industry.

    I still remember that evening at the Vatsa residence: I was chatting with him about TIE, and he encouraged me to join as a Charter Member. He then immediately introduced me to Sue Lakhanpal who was attending that function without Raj. That was my intro to Rusi and he immediately introduced me to someone who he believed would further guide me.

    I did have the pleasure of meeting him a few times after that, and I so wish that I had got to know the person as well as some of you were lucky enough to.

    From all the comments, a common thread emerges: he was a wonderful human being who valued life and believed in helping others. Many of us only aspire to be so.

    My condolences to his family and I certainly join all in sincere prayers that Rusi's soul may rest in peace. I am sure he will continue to look after his family from wherever the Gods find him a home.

    God Bless.

  15. Rusi ceased to be my boss and became a personal friend in just a few mins after I reported for my job at Satyam. i always admired his fortright approach, business acumen and his ability to celebrate life. He was always there for any guidance. Even during the the last few days, he spent so much time concerned about my situation and always brushed off the troubles he was going through. My last conversation with him, not so long ago was about his intent to work with another services firm starting june. sadly that was not to be. I will cherish the moments we had together. My deepest condolences to Renu and the kids. I join in the loss of so many folks that Rusi touched.

  16. My deepest heart felt condolences to the family, pray that his soul to rest in peace and to give courage to his family. when I first met him in TiE charter member meeting and introduced my self, he made me feel as if we had known each other for a long time. Very friendly and down to earth.
    We will miss him and his presence.

    Ashok Krish

  17. Rusi was a great humanist. i had a few occasions to interact with him. I remeber what he told us in his first meeting with Hexaware Managers. "Think BIG. Dont think Hexaware is a small company. We will make it BIG". His health stood in his way of achieving this. A lot of people across the globe will miss him. In all his group emails addressed to managers, he will mention the the he had read last or is reading, with ueseful comments about the book.
    - an admirer

  18. I am absolutely shocked as I didn't know about Rusi's health condition. He was my first manager in the technical communications field, oh about 21-odd years ago. He was in Sonata and interviewed me for the post of Technical Editor. I wasn't even sure what it meant! He explained the role and encouraged me to try out as I had a background in both literature and computer software. I haven't looked back since. Today, I'm the President of the India chapter of the Society of Technical Communication (STC). I owe it to him. I haven't really kept in touch over the years and reconnected recently with him over linked in. I'm visiting the US next week and, in fact, thought I'd finally give him a call and get back in touch and given him an update on how I've stuck to this field and it has worked out well for me. I guess it's too late now. I wish I had made that call earlier.

  19. Rusi was my first boss after my return from USA way back in 1994. It was a pleasure to work for him, and we continued to share 5 great years toegther. Though I missed him during his illness, I was in touch thruough news reports.

    He was agreat boss, and when in trouble, he used to be supportive as long as we told him, and he would just say, don't worry I will manage. He used to give a lot of freedom and encourage us to take decisions, and support us if we went worng.

    I will remember him always for his straight-forwadeness, and his trust in his team. We will all really miss him.

  20. This is like a thunder bolt from the Blue !I still remember the day Rusi walked into Sonata in Dickenson road while me and Ani who had just taken up our first jobs and were busy learning to figure out and master "Bricks " and Paratrup " on our siva 486 desktops under the watchful guidance of Sudhir sitting behind us , on our desks were suddenly unsettled by Rosemary -saying well this is Rusi Brij ..joining Sonata team from India Today group , he shall be handi
    ling our Publishing and Documentation .
    Rusi said hello in his typical halting way ..and then sat down --right in front of me , thankfully facing away from me ...for a few days before moving to another place amongst the more senior "systems analysts " like Srikar and Dilip and joshi ...

    later on Rusi was to confide to me that he didnt know how to use the "worldlord " package and its newspaper formatting feature so i took him thru the paces of introducing him to that as at that time with Acad , worldlord was my responsibility for product development and marketing !!!

    Rest of course is History for i heard about him was 3 years later after i had passed out of IIMB and was on my first business trip , when i met Rakesh Bhatia at the hyd airport who had just joined satyam ..then again 6 years later when i bumped into him in the Swimming pool at Secunderabad club ..where he remembered me instantly and mentioned that he was on his way to join Hexaware ....

    after that this piece from Dilip ..announcing that he was no more ...
    all these memories flashed thru my inner eye and brought back old memories --flooding back as if it all happened yesterday ....
    when i read the blogs of Avinash , it made me feel very proud of Rusi ..may his soul rest in peace and may he act as a beacon for all of who remain and had interacted with him to maybe continue his actions and philantrophic acts in the measure that we could individually achieve in our life time ...
    my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and assurance that they should never despair for Rusi still lives in his acts ..and beneficiaries,admirers and friends he has left behind ...
    Rusi may your soul rest in peace ...

  21. Whilst aware he was taking the challenge of the disease head on...did not expect him to lose...

    working with Rusi was one of the best times in my corporate life - the man was cool, unruffled under any circumstance.
    what really stood out was his casual humility and sense of humour.

    Knowing Rusi - he must be chilling out up there - waiting for all to join the party all over gain....

  22. I have just returned from Rusi's funeral and I am shattered.

    My thoughts wander to the hours of conversation we used to have every day in our office, his zest for life, his family, his desire for always doing what is right, however tough it may be.

    The umpteen dinners at his place where we always left feeling what a great guy he is, the farewell party he threw for me in his house when I left Hexaware, the dreaded call I recd from him on Nov 18, 2007, the day he got his report.

    A complete family man, as Kanu once told me, even though Dad travels a lot, he is always there for us.

    I met him last week in Delhi and probably should have seen this coming. However, he laughed and we joked and I convinced myself that he would be back, up and running.

    My memories of him will be of an extremely humble person who always went the extra mile to help others, an astute strategist, a fair CEO, my mentor, a father-figure.

    One of the things we were always told is that only good things happen to good people...NOT TRUE.

  23. Rusi was a wonderful friend and colleague. His passing has shocked and dismayed many.

    My condolences to his wife and childre. May they find comfort in knowing what a wonderful person he was.

    Rusi will live on through remembrance of his kind actions and word.

  24. All of you are right...Rusi was the eternal optimist and a great mentor. I met Rusi and Renu almost six years ago, at the beginning of my career as a financial advisor. They were one of my first clients, and from the get-go Rusi began giving me advice on what "people like me" are looking for. Eventually, I went to Rusi with a host of questions about how to do to be better. And, he always had candid, sage advice. I surely will miss him... and his avid love for cricket!

    You know, he would show up to a Saturday morning meeting at our office with bloodshot eyes every once in a while...because he had spent the entire night before watching India's cricket matches with some of his buddies. And, he would talk about it with a childish twinkle in his eyes. That, I will miss more.

    Rest in peace my friend. We will all miss you.


  25. Though we knew him only for a short while in our neighbourhood,Rusi made an immense impact on us as a great soul with astounding depth. He certainly has left his footprint on the sands of time. May god bless his soul and give strength to children and Renu to overcome this great loss.
    Srinivas and Krishna
    3 Cubberly,Cranbury

  26. Rusi, Renu, Karan & Ria are like family to us. We spent over 5 years together at Satyam and were more like family then colleagues. Rusi was the one who gave me confidence to move from a Govt. job into the private sector. I can never forget his support and guidance. I always admired him as a savy person and always treated him like my elder brother. I have not known anymone who gave parties better then Rusi. While others would be guests I always felt like family. Anitha, myself & kids have been totalled shocked to hear this. Our heartfelt Condolences to Renu, Karan & Ria. Karan is liek my own son, same age etc, and I met him just a while back at Hyderabad airport. I enquired about his Dad & Renu. I pray for God to give him courage and lead life like his father - with zest, intelligence, love, passion and humblness.
    Harbir & Anitha

  27. Rusi's sad demise for a deep shock to me. I thought he was recovering well and will be back on his feet soon. This news has come as a rude shock. Rusi was a man of a great taste. He had passion for good things like. I knew that he had passion for fast cars as and was a wine collector. I always felt that he was extremely intelligent person. Although he was man of few words but his actions spoke more
    powerful than his words.

    Rusi will be remembered by us during our life time.

    - Neil

  28. I will remember Rusi always as a strong and humane Boss, who helped all quietly. To me he was always a man of a few words, kind, very intelligent, with incisive understanding and long term vision. A sense of humour and unmatched zest for life. Seeing him made one believe that everything is possible and so easy to achieve- such was his approach. Someone who could handle anything with admirable ease. Rusi had immense trust in his juniors, that made it easy to achieve what one never thought one was capable of. I worked with him at Satyam, a year before he left for Hexaware, and cherish the time. Feel a very deep sense of loss- though I had connected with him on linked a few months back, didn't have any idea. I will always remember Rusi as a cheerful Boss, who made a difference. Seema Dubey

  29. Rusi was a silent strategist and a very good listener. He never threw his weight around despite being CEO and one was always at ease while interacting with him. While God took him away too early, he leaves behind a legacy which will last a long time.

    Ram Kumar

  30. Remembering Rusi

    When I learnt of Rusi’s tragic and untimely demise a few days back, I was reminded of our years together at Sonata Software, during its formative years. He was a dear friend and a valued colleague, and it was an association which I cherished in subsequent years, when he had moved on (and up) at Satyam, then Hexaware, while I went on a different track.

    Rusi was a man of innate style and immense charm, with a keen eye for aesthetics, in any form and shape. He combined these traits with a sharp intellect, an active curiosity, and a drive to understand and grasp the big picture. For a bunch of mainly techie types, it was an eye opener to appreciate things like fonts, colors, and generally understand the importance of communication in a variety of forms -valuable lessons we learnt from Rusi.

    His achievements and accomplishments blossomed and grew, as he progressed rapidly and with distinction in his professional career. It was amazing to me that he had such a clear vision of what he wanted in life, and went ahead and realized so many goals. He wore his success lightly, was always committed to his old friends, and would go the extra mile if an opportunity to catch up presented itself.

    Rusi, dear friend, it was a pleasure and a privilege to have known you, and this will remain in my heart for ever, as will your impact on so many friends and colleagues.


  31. Got this jolting news on the 20th morning and am devastated. Rusi was a dear friend, mentor and a pillar of strength and resilience in tough times. We go way back almost 2.5 decades during the Sonata and Computer Point days where we shared adjacent rooms at the company guest house. Our morning commute and evening meals were together. There is a lot I owe to Rusi - his sense of humour, the perceptions he shared not just on work matters but on life in general, the clarity of thought & direction were insightful and true. Our careers took us in different directions but we got back together in 1998 at Satyam and have been in close touch ever since. Rusi leaves behind a vacuum that will be hard to fill!! I will deeply miss this true and dear friend! May God Almighty give Renu and the children the courage and strength to tide over this huge & monumental loss.


  32. Rusi's sad demise has been shocking. He was a colleague, a mentor and a friend. A kind man, inspiring, great sense of humor and a visionary. He will be greatly missed. I vividly remember my last round of golf with him. He was full of optimism and hope.

    Rusi, we will dearly miss you. Our deepest condolences to Renu, Karan and Ria.


  33. Rusiji’s demise shocked me. Person like him are very rare. Always smiling and helping. I still can’t believe this. I have no words to express my feelings.

    I miss you Rusiji. My deepest condolences to Renu, Karan, Ria & family members.

  34. Rusiji’s demise shocked me. Person like him are very rare. Always smiling and helping. I still can’t believe this. I have no words to express my feelings.

    I miss you Rusiji. My deepest condolences to Renu, Karan, Ria & family members.

    Rama Singh

  35. I just came across this blog, a week after Rusi passed away. Last week, I got a call from Hexaware, telling me that Rusi was no more. I could not fathom this, as we believed that he would beat the big C. He was always confident and a doer.

    I was his CFO at Hexaware all those years. For us who reported to him, he was a Friend and a Gentleman. He mentored us and helped us grow.

    May his sould rest in peace.

  36. I was stunned to hear of Rusi's passing this morning from my mother. Though I unfortunately lost touch with Rusi several years ago there was a time when we used to be fairly close. I first got to know him as a colleague and at Living Media/India Today back in the mid-1980's when I used to be a reporter with a LM publication called Computers Today. Later we used to keep in touch regularly via phone and e-mail during his years at Satyam and Hexaware. During conversations with mutual friends over the years I would often hold Rusi up as an example of how to be successful in one's career and life. He was a truly class act. I will miss him. God bless his family.

    Jai Vijayan

  37. My heart-felt condolences to Rusi's family.
    Lot of posts from people who have been Rusi's friends, close acquaintances, etc. This is from someone very junior.
    I joined Hexaware as a fresher in 2001. I still remember the day we bunch of freshers were all waiting to get a glimpse of our CEO in Temple Towers facility, Chennai.
    Though I havent interacted with him even once, I have seen him umpteen number of times on various occasions in my 5+ years with Hexaware.
    I wasnt aware of his medical condition and hence this news came as a rude shock !!
    May his soul rest in peace !!
    - Muralidhar Shreedhaaran

  38. Words, they say, are often poor consolers.

    I am shocked beyond belief and words to hear of the sad demise of Rusi. I hope and pray that his noble soul is resting in peace and that God give Mrs. Brij and family the needed courage and support at this painfully excruciating moment in life. I knew he had health challenges but never knew that he had the dreaded disease threatening his life.

    A few words about Rusi now...

    He had the wonderful qualities of a true leader - a compassionate human being, a motivator, one who listens more than he speaks and finally, the one who can chart unexplored waters with confidence and passion.

    Always accessible (anybody can enter the corner office anytime), I found him to be a store room of practical insights and suggestions. On the many occassions that I spoke to him while at Hexaware, I opened up my heart - asked him questions, shared sensitive feed-back and he answered/addressed everyone with aplomb and honesty. Mrs. Brij and Rusi were generous enough to visit our home (that happened to be the last meeting) in Princeton for Dinner when I left Hexaware and he even reached out to me when we moved back to Hyderabad and promised me that he will live in the same colony as I was. Fate obviously had other plans...

    Bhagavadgita says -

    nainam chindanti shastrani nainam dahati pavakah
    na cainam kledayanty apo na sosayati marutah

    Taking refuge under the Gita, I can only say that his Atman is out there guiding his family and friends in the right path.

    PV Narasimham

  39. Samir & Shani BaggaJune 4, 2009 at 11:06 AM

    Rusi was a true international business man from India and big heart. I learnt all about wines , International brands, how to not take pressure and enjoy life from him. Its a great loss to all of us and his family. My eldest daughter is named after his daughter Ria. He was approachable by every one, Always did good things for every one. I spoke to him about 2 months back and regret not meeting him more often

    May god give courage to Renu, Karan & Ria and lets rejoice the life as he did with a smile and full of life

  40. I forgot to mention Rusi' love for Santa & Banta singh joke.

  41. I met him 18 months back and I was stuck at his simplicity and candor. I worked with him for the next 6 months and was always awed by his approachability.

    His style and vision was unmatched. Though words are a poor consoler, May God give courage to his family to withstand this.

  42. Rusi will always live within us through his example of how life needs to be lived. He was a true Karma yogi - for whom success and happiness came through performance of selfless actions.

    His wisdom on matters big and small, his clarity of thought, his capacity to connect at a deep level with all those who he met were incomparable.


    He will be a constant presence and beacon for all those who knew him. I know him for only a few years - I lost out by not knowing him more and sooner..

    May God bless his soul and provide comfort and strength to Renu Karan and Ria - we all know that Rusi's good karma and love for them will forever sustain them.


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  44. Rusi's birthday would have been tomorrow i.e. Nov 17, 2009. We celebrate his birthday thinking about this man's magnanimity.

  45. I just heard about Rusi's demise and profoundly sorrowful.I was among those who had the opportunity to work very closely with him. I can still picture him working in his cabin with old hindi songs playing in the background. May his soul rest in peace. Amen.