The Indian fashion industry is in a state of shock. Waking up to news of ace fashion designer Rohit Bal, 42, suffering a massive heart attack on Tuesday, get-well wishes started pouring in for Bal, popularly known as Gudda. Many, however, were also left wondering if this was a warning bell for those leading a highly stressed lifestyle.
“Everyone is waiting to go and meet Gudda,” says fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee, adding, “Ours is an unkind industry, with no recovery time. There’s fierce competitiveness. It’s not as glamorous as it looks. The best medicine is to detach yourself from it all.”
Bal’s friends reveal he had recently quit drinking and was “starting to get his act together”. Some are also linking his stress to a “big surprise project” that he was working on, also the reason behind his decision to not participate in the upcoming Fashion Week in Delhi. “Gudda was planning something really big and messaged all of us about it . I’m sure he was stressed,” says designer Rahul Jain. Gudda was also a regular in the late-night party circuit, which, as per designer Mandira Wirk, is a given in their line. “You can’t avoid parties. It helps in networking,” she says.
“It’s a wake-up call for us to take our health seriously,” says designer Anjana Bhargav. Adds designer Reynu Taandon, “We have to showcase at so many international forums, it’s like taking an exam everyday. The stress is too much. I’m sure he’ll surmount this.” Designer Varun Bahl advises work-health balance for all and says, “There are deadlines and pressure in this profession, but it’s up to you to draw the line. You can’t be too greedy.” “Gudda is an icon. Let’s not speculate on his health and wish him a speedy recovery,” says Sunil Sethi, President FDCI.