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My uncle, Gerson da Cunha

January 22, 2022 13:17 IST
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Adman Rahul da Cunha fondly remembers his uncle, who passed into the ages on January 7.

Gerson da Cunha

Illustration: Dominic Xavier/

The multi-talented Gerson da Cunha, 92, passed away in Mumbai earlier this month.

He was an advertising professional, a journalist, an actor and a social worker who worked with UNICEF as well. Many recall his sterling work in Mumbai after riots devastated the city in 1993.

His nephew Rahul da Cunha -- son of Gerson's younger brother Sylvester, the creator of the famous Amul girl -- is also an adman, theatre director, playwright, photographer and avid traveller.

He shares glimpses their relationship with A Ganesh Nadar/


My dad Sylvester and Gerson were very close. They were one year apart in age.

They lost their father in 1941 when they were 12 and 11 years old respectively. This made them closer.

Their careers ran parallel, both in theatre and in advertising.

Both were both committed to bettering the lives of people.

Dad worked with the World Bank and Gerson with UNICEF.

Later in life, whenever they met, they would converse in Portuguese.

Gerson's greatest influence on me was the art of multi-professions. Most importantly, he taught me how vital listening is and how to be fully focused when another person is talking.

I actually met him quite often during the pandemic, just him, my aunt Uma (Gerson's wife) and me. They were very personal meetings and conversations.

We talked a lot about my childhood. About the five months I spent with him and my aunt when they hosted me in New York in 1987. About the many plays we saw together.

We talked about my dad, his younger brother, and we talked about my mom who he was very close to.

I would say I really got to know him well from March 2020 to December 2021.

My greatest memories about Gerson -- which I will cherish all my life -- are the five months I spent with him in New York from October 1987 to February 1988. He was very indulgent -- treating me to many plays, films and the opera.

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