Sankar Narayan – a former face of advertising in Oman – passes away

by | Apr 24, 2023 | 0 comments

“Former boss, mentor, guru and elder brother…” Words fail Deepak Nair when he tries to define his relation with his former boss, Sankar Narayan Panicker, 70, who passed away in Thiruvanthapuram on April 21.

Anish Mathew, who was Sankar’s friend, is unable to believe that the rich, vibrant laughter emanating from the latter will no longer be heard.
Lawrence Pinto, another colleague and friend, who has known Sankar for the last 40-plus years, is also at a loss of words as he tries to grapple with the fact that his ‘gung-ho’ friend and former colleague is no more. 

As Sankar’s former colleagues and friends try to come to terms with his loss, they openly admit that they were reeling with sadness knowing that they were not going to see the ever-smiling face of Sankar again.

Face of advertising in Oman
Sankar was the face of advertising in Oman for a span of three decades, where he not only made a mark in his challenging field, but also lifelong friends and contacts and a forever impact in their lives.

‘Can do’ spirit
Smartly dressed, confident, suave, cheerful and with a ‘can do’ spirit, he embodied not just the spirit of the times then, but also the true essence of an advertising professional.

Accomplished media professional
“I shared a very warm and personal equation with him. I got acquainted with him first in 1991 and worked with him for the first 4.5 years of my career in Muscat from 1992 to 1996. He was an accomplished media marketing professional who was also a great communicator and conversationalist,” Deepak, Ceo, Interactive Digital Media Technologies LLC, recalled.

Friendship blossomed
“I met Sankar in Muscat during 1980-’81. He was with Akbar Oman, one of the two English language weeklies then (the other was Times of Oman). We met more frequently when he moved to Khaleej Times (KT) in1982. During my stint with KT from 1988 to 1997, we became colleagues and our friendship blossomed,” Lawrence Pinto, former Oman correspondent, KT, recalled.
Lawrence, who was also the editor of Oman Economic Review (OER) and founder editor of Sharjah and Emirates Today, UAE Today and Retail ME, noted how he and Sankar joined hands in Sharjah and Emirates Today in the United Arab Emirates.  “Sankar left KT in 2000 and moved to the UAE. He wanted to start a publishing outfit there and called me to join him. I was in India at that time. I responded to his invitation and joined him in the UAE in February 2001.
Sankar had tied up with Pinnacle Advertising, an existing set up, based in Sharjah.
“The first publishing we brought out was Sharjah and Emirates Today, a monthly ready reckoner for visitors/tourists.
“Our second publication was Bankers’ Digest, a bi-monthly on banking and finance. The set up was renamed when a Dubai Media City licence was obtained. Sharjah and Emirates Today was renamed the UAE Today and became a lifestyle magazine. But, the Bankers’ Digest continued.

I parted ways with the set up in March 2004, but Sankar and my friendship continued. We remained friends throughout,” Lawrence noted.

Memorable laughter
“I knew Sankar from our PG (*) days. We stayed in the same hostel in Fergusen College campus for two years. 

“After a decade, we met each other in Oman and from then on, we were thick friends,” said Anish Mathew, a senior manager in marketing and projects, with many years of experience in Oman, India and North America.
Anish recalls the infectious and sonorous nature of Sankar’s laughter. “There is nothing more memorable than the sound of Sankar’s laughter. He was always full of life – may his soul rest in peace.”

Facebook post
Deepak who went on Facebook, to express his sadness at Sankar’s passing away, said sadly: “Words don’t come easy when I talk about my late ‘brother’. I was always in touch with him.”
Deepak last exchanged Vishu greetings with Sankar on the occasion of Vishu on April 15.  “ I used to keep in touch regularly with him on WhatsApp and also meet him whenever I went to Kerala on vacation. I last met him in September 2022. I never thought that this would be my last meeting with him and my last contact with him was when we exchanged Vishu greetings, recently, Deepak said wistfully.


In his Facebook post, Deepak also recalled how Sankar’s life changed drastically when a terrible tragedy occurred in the latter’s life — a beloved young family member was cruelly plucked out of his and his family’s lives. 

Sankar had a 22-year stint in Muscat, and after that, about 14 years in Dubai. He finally settled down in Thiruvananthapuram, in Kerala. Sankar’s daughter, Lekshmi Sankar, is settled in Canada, since the past 4 months. However his wife, Baby, has been battling illness for couple of years now, Deepak said, adding that Sankar was quite concerned with that.

Miss my boss

“Sankar had a very wide circle of friends and he was always there to help someone in need. I am going to miss my boss. But I will cherish the fond memories. Rest in peace my brother!” Deepak concluded.

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