A WhatsApp message interrupted my train of thought just before noon today while mulling an appropriate title for a forthcoming AWANI conference.
“Ajak, ko dengar tak, boss Aji meninggal pagi tadi” – such cryptic messages, incomprehensible to anyone not within the intimate circle of acquaintances are sometimes taken in jest and dismissed as a friendly attempt at leg pulling.
I scrambled my brains trying to fathom if this was yet another prank we sometimes inflict on each other but surely; no way would anyone in our group; would treat the demise of `boss Aji’ with such frivolity.
Ajak is how I am addressed in the group. The other name mentioned – `boss Aji’; who was the husband of the originator of the WhatsApp message; was none other than Datuk Izham Yusoff, Managing Director of Kedah-based property developer Bina Darul Aman Sdn Bhd.
My lungs was just about to burst with an exhalation of huge regret; for just yesterday; Monday at 2pm, the events team from AWANI were literally one door knock away from his office at Level 13A, Menara Glo Damansara.
Sharkawi, Amelia, Rodney and I were holed up in a meeting room with BDB Sales and Marketing boss Anneta, running through our presentation for the forthcoming SLIC 2018 – our inaugural conference on innovation slated to be held in May.
Although Izham himself was not in the meeting room, his presence loomed large because everyone on the BDB team, including Corporate Communications head Sajahan Waheed made constant interjections before the meeting that perhaps I would like to say `Hi’ to his boss – Datuk Izham.
I too somehow felt a strange urge to meet up with the man but unfortunately; while he was in the vicinity of the building, was nowhere to be found within the confines of the BDB office.
After the meeting; I walked to his office to see if he had returned, and also peeped at the office pantry. Since he was nowhere to be found, the AWANI team left, saying our goodbyes; conveying our intention that perhaps we would get together with Datuk Izham in future.
Alas, man proposes, Allah disposes.
Allahyarham is widely known for his pursuit of healthy living and exercise. In casual sessions and interviews over the course of my work as a business journalist prior to my current stint at AWANI, Izham revealed that he used to park his car at KLCC in the mornings after sending his wife to work, after which he would put on his joggings shoes to run the 6.8 km to his office at Percetakan Malaysia Berhad in Jalan Chan Sow Lin where he was its CEO.
Since that stint, I lost track of Izham since I was no longer on the business beat- only bumping into him at a café in the Zam Zam tower in Makkah when we both performed the haj back in 2014.
For a man dedicated to his morning jog, it comes as no surprised that initial news coming in was that Izham passed away during his morning run today.
How I wished I had looked harder and waited longer to have met him yesterday.
Farewell my friend Izham. Innallillahiwainnailaihirojioon.