A surreal Saturday: Of sweethearts and broken hearts

It was a surreal Saturday, seven days ago. I woke up all excited to celebrate the wedding of a colleague from my old company, Sports247.

Although Aravind Ganesan had a short stint at the sports portal in 2012, we stayed in touch via WhatsApp.

However, the last time we met was one Deepavali several years ago, way before Covid-19 came into our lives. It was so long ago that I cannot even remember the year!

So, I was pleasantly surprised on Jan 10, to receive an invitation to Aravind’s big day. I immediately confirmed that the home minister and I would be attending.

Last Saturday, just as we were ironing our outfits, we received a phone call that broke our hearts.

A friend, Marc Lourdes, tragically lost his life in an accident.

We were closer to his wife, Darshini Kandasamy, who was part of my ‘makan-makan gang’, but Marc was always a welcome presence.

We even attended their wedding reception 10 years ago.

I remember going to their home for dinner and games before Marc and Darshini moved to Singapore, where he was editor-in-chief of Yahoo! Southeast Asia until 2016.

We joked about the carrom game we had and vowed a rematch. Sadly, that will not happen now.

The last time we met was late last year, at their home.

Although the home minister had not seen Marc for ages, she said she felt very welcomed when he greeted us.

He and I, of course, bantered a lot about football. He jokingly did not want to allow me into their home, as I was wearing a Jurgen Klopp t-shirt.

Marc was a loyal Manchester United supporter, but Darshini, being a Liverpool fan, had the final say.

My colleague, Haresh Deol, wrote a moving tribute to Marc on Sunday, but I would like to share two stories that showed what a giving, loving and remarkable man he was.

The first is from Fabian Mark Peter, who owes his sports journalism career to Marc.

“In 2012, I met Marc’s colleague from Yahoo! Philippines at a media camp.

“I asked him if there were any job opportunities. He told me he would pass my details to Marc and asked me to drop him an email,” recalled Fabian.

“When I contacted Marc, he told me there was no vacancy in the Yahoo! Malaysia office, but said that he would pass my resume around. Not long after, I received a call from Sports247 and got my first job in journalism.

“Marc did not know me from Adam, yet he went out of his way to help. That was the kind of guy he was. I still have the emails from him.”

A year later, Fabian finally met Marc – at my daughter’s birthday party.

“I thanked him for his help, but he just shrugged, and said that he was just happy to have been able to be of assistance,” said Fabian.

Another former Sports247 colleague, Prem Kumar Subramanian, had worked alongside Marc at Yahoo! Malaysia.

“He was a genuinely nice guy. He would go out of his way to help anyone. I broke down when I heard of his passing,” said Prem.

“Everyone he knew would likely have had a personal moment with him. Everyone he knew must have felt like he was their best friend.

“We kept in touch after he left for Yahoo! Singapore. When he came back to sort out some things, we had dinner. I told him I was joining Malay Mail.

“He immediately smiled, congratulated me, and said that I would get the opportunity to work with his good old friend, Haresh.

“That was Marc. Even though he was going places and was soon to join CNN, he never had any qualms about dishing out praises.

“He kept in touch and always initiated our most recent conversations. He was a great guy.”

Marc was cremated on Wednesday, but his memory will live on. To Darshini, stay strong.

As for Aravind and his lovely bride Lavanya, we wish you all the best in your new life.

THREE MILLION CASES TOMORROW

Malaysia will reach three million Covid-19 cases tomorrow after a spike in new infections due to the Omicron variant.

We had 101,347 infections in the past seven days, taking the total to 2,996,361.

On the recovery front, 41,663 patients received the all-clear this week, making it 2,841,271 who have beaten the coronavirus.

We had 88 deaths in the past week, meaning 32,099 people have lost their lives to the coronavirus.

Worldwide, we have 408.5 million cases and 5.8 million fatalities.

GLORY, GLORY, MARC

We end this week’s Diary with a song close to Marc’s heart.

Until next week, stay safe.

https://youtu.be/UyEct2ocXOQ