‘Every day is like a marathon; when you run 42 km, you have to pace it’

PT Jyothi Datta | Updated on May 11, 2018

Himanshu Roy, in August 2014   -  BusinessLine

Top cop’s suicide turns the spotlight on the need for support systems to cope with high-stress situations

For anyone who has seen former Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad chief Himanshu Roy, the image that stays in mind is his large presence, beefy biceps and unmistakable top-cop moustache.

But having interacted with him on his fitness mantra for the first issue of Pulse, the memory of Roy is his firm, yet gentle voice. A man who was able to juggle the pressures of heading a high-stress job of investigating crime and terrorism with his fitness schedule of listening to classical music alongside his gym routine.

BusinessLine’s photographer Paul Noronha recalls being called at about 6 am to a gym in South Mumbai for a photo shoot with Roy. As the cop went about his exercise routine, he was flexible enough to make sure the photographer got the frames he needed.

So how does a man whose day ends late at night and begins at 5 am manage to keep it together? “I consciously pace my day. Every day is like a marathon, where you run 42 kilometers, you have to pace it,” he told Pulse.

“I listen to classical music for about half an hour. I am at the gym by about 6.30, and I continue to listen to classical music over my headphones. Exercise relieves stress and I do it to the strains of Hindustani music, so the exercise is like poetry in motion. It is like Sadhana or devotion for me. I train four days in a week, as rest is equally important,” he said.

Roy was in the headlines often for investigating and cracking high-profile cases. “Work keeps me completely engaged,” he said, adding however that it was important to keep negativity out, “as they say, you are a product of your thoughts.”

“I am careful about my diet and make sure not to contaminate body and mind. So I make it a point not to think thoughts that are toxic or negative.” Smoke and alcohol had no place in his life, “and that's not about right and wrong,” he adds, without being judgemental. The late nights left Roy with just enough time to eat and sleep, he had said. His meals were generally large and Indian, though the evening snacks were low on carbohydrates and sugar and fried foods were out completely, even as lean meats and vegetables were in. “End of day, I get about four/five hours quality sleep,” he had said, communicating an ease in handling multiple things by devoting quality time to each. Which is why many Mumbaikars are shocked on hearing that Roy is no more. The top cop took his life on Friday.

Reports suggest that Roy was dealing with cancer and was depressed because of the severe pain — a tragic turn of events that will put the spotlight on mental health and the support that is desperately needed to swim through turbulent times.

But for those who knew Roy in any small way, they will be mourning the loss of an officer, a gentleman, an animal lover and a man for whom exercise was his “Sadhana”.

Published on May 11, 2018

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