In Memory of Rauf Ahmed

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Earlier this month, I lost my uncle – my bhua’s husband, Rauf Ahmed. Though he was her second husband after she was widowed at a very young age, he adopted her two daughters both in name and in life, and was an exemplary father. He was also an uncle of whom I was personally very fond. It was an inter-faith marriage and you can imagine the furore that fact caused back in the 1980s, but his gentle personality eventually won the heart of everyone in the family. As one of the most well-known and senior film journalists in Bollywood, he had been the Editor of renowned magazines like Filmfare and Movie. This made him the most glamorous person in our lives, and our connection to the film industry. My bond with him became stronger in later years when I was the only person in the family to follow his footsteps into journalism. On the occasion of his memorial service, where we celebrated his life, I read out this piece on behalf of our family in the August company of film stars like Poonam Dhillon and Zeenat Aman who were his friends and colleagues. Now I’m reproducing it here to pay ode to this wonderful man – my Rauf Uncle.

In memory of Rauf Ahmed


Hi, I’m Noor, Rauf Uncle’s (or Phupha, as I called him when I was younger), niece by relation and his friend by choice. His daughter Namrata asked me to represent the family on the dais today, finding herself unable to speak for the well of emotion she feels every time his name is mentioned. But honestly, even if she hadn’t asked me to speak, I would’ve gladly volunteered to share my thoughts on this wonderful human being who left a lasting impression on all of us present.

My father, Hardeep tells me that Rauf Uncle entered our lives sometime in the 1980s, when my aunt, Jasmeet Bhua, who was dealing with the death of her first husband in a car accident, moved to Bombay for a fresh lease on life. She landed a job with Movie magazine, of which Rauf Uncle was the Editor and a soft, respectful and rare sort of love blossomed between these two, some might say troubled, souls. Even now a rarity, 35+ years ago, this inter-faith match was considered absurd and impossible, especially by my traditional and staunch Sikh grandparents. Here I’ll quote my father who narrates, “There was trepidation from my side, and consternation and perhaps opposition from my parents and most of the family. Yet, Rauf and Jasmeet had a quiet court wedding in January ’86. Your mother and I visited them in Bombay soon after the wedding and perhaps broke the thaw when Cookie and I gave glowing feedback of Rauf as a person. His gentle, caring and soft personality soon won over our parents, and he eventually became a welcomed and well-loved son-in-law for our entire family and friends circle.” In fact, later my grandmother, Dadiji, even told Jasmeet Bhua that marrying Rauf was the best decision she made…

This quick change of heart is certainly a testament to Rauf Uncle’s gentle, kind, patient and soft-spoken nature. One should see the outpour of grief on social media that his death provoked, for proof of his lasting legacy. Industry stalwarts remember him as the gentlest of souls and the kindest of hearts. The overall sentiment seems to be that Rauf Uncle was truly ‘special’, cut from a cloth they don’t make anymore.

Just take it from his wife and most of all his daughter, for whom he played the role of best friend, mentor, guide and nurturer right till the end… To quote Namrata, “What do I say about Paa? Nothing I say can really explain what our relationship was…

He was a pure energy of love and kindness.. And that’s what I learnt from him.. He is easily the gentlest and softest human being I know…

He brought me up with absolute unconditional love, freedom and sensitivity… There was a point in time when he was my mother, father, and best friend… I truly believe I am who I am because of who he was… in fact, is and will always be!!”

Anyone who knew Rauf Uncle would attest to his being a firm friend, a generous mentor, a raconteur par excellence, an articulate gentleman and a person blessed with a sharp intelligence and a creative soul. His straightforward and engaging style of writing had the ability to pull the reader in from the word go, a style that as a young journalist myself, I readily draw inspiration from and attempt to emulate. Rauf Uncle was also known for his wonderful storytelling skills. I remember being regaled with his insightful tales and often hilarious retellings late into the night, every time we vacationed together, which I’m happy to say was quite frequently in my growing years. These family holidays in themselves were repositories of amazing memories. Whether it was precious cargo erroneously discarded in the hills of Uttarakhand or our large group collectively running after a train at midnight at the border of Singapore and Malaysia, Rauf Uncle was an essential part of many family memories. In fact, his ability to make light of difficult situations often brought the much-needed levity to help us ride the seemingly tough situation. Here I’ll quote my mother, Cookie, whom he shared a special bond with, to summarise this sentiment, “The endless conversations with him and the fun stories he had to share will always remain close to my heart.”

In his personal life too, his ability to hold his head high despite adversity, stood him in good stead, as he weathered many challenges both personally and professionally. He overcame it all with silent integrity and a winning smile borne of the innate belief in the goodness of humanity as a whole.

Family memories

Today, as we are all gathered here to celebrate his life, I will end with some beautiful lines he wrote as a testimonial for me, just before falling into the depths of his illness. Lines that move me to this day and will stay with me for the rest of my life. And so, in the words of Rauf Phupha, “Noor is one of my favourite nieces. Besides being beautiful she is so many other things…An LL.M from London, was a practicing lawyer when she ran into a brilliant (besides being handsome and dashing) young Sardar and decided to take a break. After a quick marriage and a leisurely 18-month honeymoon across the world, Noora (as we love calling her) is back into action full-steam…somewhat controlled by a live-wire little brat! When she introduced him to us he was in a tiny Tee proclaiming, “Here Comes Trouble!!!”. But Noor was characteristically well-prepared…she is currently writing on people and events in and around the Capital…quite brilliantly… Time for professionals to watch out!!! All the best Noora!”

May this heartfelt connection we all have with Rauf Uncle continue even as he now dwells in the spiritual plane.


This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla in collaboration with Mads’ Cookhouse.


*This is not a sponsored post.

**Copyright in pictures and content belongs to and cannot be republished or repurposed without express permission of the author. As I am a copyright lawyer by profession, infringement of any kind will invite strict legal action.


  1. May his soul rest in peace. Rauf Uncle was bigger than life, as it seems. I feel his testimonial for you is the best thing he could have left for you. If love is true, then nothing can come between. So glad he was there in all of your lives.

  2. This is really an emotional note which I can strongly feel. I am feeling blessed that I could read such a content by you. Your bond with him through journalism really reminded me of my grandpa whose footprints too I followed in the world of literature and I too remind him in my memory and words sometimes.

  3. Your Uncle seemed like a mighty fine man to have around and your posts bring out his best and humane side. May he Rest In Peace.
    PS: He reminds me of Tiger Pataudi look-wise.

  4. What a beautiful eulogy Noor💖… and I am sorry for your loss.
    Some people touch our lives in a way that is beyond the regular. I am sure your uncle touched the lives of many people by just being the nice person that he was.

  5. The post just shows what a gem of a person he was right from being a husband to a father and then accepting the people around and trying to win their trust. Definitely he has won himself a well deserved place up there.

    1. This is such a lovely tribute to your Rauf Uncle, Noor. So sorry for your loss. Reading the post, one can understand your bond with him and the love and respect everyone had for him. It is indeed this that all of us must aim to earn in our lifetime and not money and awards. To be remembered with genuine fondness even after your gone speaks volumes about the kind of person you were in your lifetime.

  6. First of all, my condolences to you and your family. Know that he’s happy seeing you make this article about him and about your great relationship with him.

  7. Sorry for your loss Noor. You have penned a beautiful post In his memory. Gentlemen like your uncle are rare. I have come to realize that folks who can make others laugh while under pressure are deeply human and true leaders. May his soul rest in peace

  8. Noor there are very few people in our life who actually make a long lasting presence in our heart and we remember them even when they are far away from us in the galaxy of stars. After reading this blog beautifully penned by you for your late Phufaji gave me the feel that he was not just a talented gentle man but a person with a golden heart who knew how to find the real diamond from heaps of stones… Yes the diamond is you. I can feel the charishma of his character by the way you narrated he won the hearts of the people in your family out of all odds. Blessed are your cousin sisters to have a father like him and for you a uncle like him. I am sure he is smiling from the sky looking at you the talented, gorgeous and successful Noor

  9. i have grown up reading the Filmfare and though I don’t know your uncle, the glowing tribute from you and others is a testimony to the wonderful person he was and the legacy he left behind. And what a beautiful tribute you have offered; your uncle must be smiling from up there as he watched and heard you deliver. Prayers for your uncle’s soul and strength for your family to tide over this difficult time.

  10. What a beautiful tribute. To lose an inspiration and motivator is a huge loss, but your tribute keeps all those setiments alive. May the memories of love always keep you spirited.

  11. Sorry for your loss, Noor. Goodbyes are always so difficult. Such a heartfelt tribute. He seems to be an amazing person and so proud to see you continuing his legacy.

  12. Such a beautiful ode to a beautiful soul! May your uncle’s (we call bhua’s husband as fua) soul rest in peace. Your bhua was indeed very lucky to have found love and happiness in him.

  13. This is an amazing speech, celebrating the life of one whom you loved and cherished. I am extremely sorry for your loss, but you are lucky to have been a part of his life. I remember reading the film magazines and his byline. Its so good to see you writing everywhere. I wish I knew how to pitch and where to pitch.

  14. Knowing a personality like him from such close quarters is such a thrill and a great learning experience! I’ve seen his interviews and read about him. People always had the best things to tell about him. Sorry for your loss, and such a beautiful ode this was, Noor! He would be proud.

  15. I am following all fimfare but really don’t know about your Uncle Rauf Ahmad. Hearty tribute by you. The way you portrait him it seems inspiration to every one. You are very lucky to have such Uncle.
    I am really sorry for your loss. May his soul rest in peace.

  16. Sorry to hear this Noor, big hugs! What a well written eulogy and he seems to have lived a very full life. I wish I had met him, he seems like a real force of nature

  17. I’m sorry for your loss. It’s heartwarming to hear about your uncle’s love and devotion to his family and his impact on the film industry as a senior journalist. It’s also inspiring to hear that you followed in his footsteps in journalism. I hope that your memories of him bring you comfort during this difficult time.

  18. So sorry for your loss. I have heard of Rauf Ahmed but I didn’t know he was your uncle. It is lovely to know more about him through your heartfelt tribute. May his soul rest in peace.

  19. May his soul rest in peace. After reading this post, I found he was a great personality and an amazing person for sure. Your tribute to him via this post is such a great way to remember him Noor. I wish if I could meet him earlier.

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