Encyclopaedia Britannica executive Vineet Whig jumped off the 19th floor of a multi-storey building in Gurgaon on Sunday because he “could see no other way out”. A day later, friends and well-wishers of the sprightly 47-year-old were still no closer to understanding why a man so full of life would ever give up on it.
Many took to the social media on Monday to pay tribute to Whig, whom they described as humorous, large-hearted and fun-loving. Blog posts followed by photographs described how they would miss a friend who was as sensitive as he was funny, and loved nature – especially mountains – like none other.
“Rest in peace, my friend. I have known Vineet Whig for more than 30 years. He inspired me to take up photography. His humour and zest for life will be a joy forever. Vineet’s philosophy and understanding of human nature were enriching, and his love for mountains was infectious,” wrote Nilabh Nagar, a friend on Facebook.
“Thank you, Vineet, for everything. Thank you to his friends for capturing him at his best. You will be etched in our soul forever,” he added, signing off the blog post with six photographs of Whig visiting various countries.
To Whig, life meant more than just being the chief operating officer of a company – even if it was the Encyclopaedia Britannica. He was an avid photographer with a passion for wildlife and music, and a compulsive blogger till 2014. Photos taken by him during visits to Japan, Netherland, Singapore and Switzerland were published in the National Geographic Traveler magazine.
“I came, I saw, I wept a while, then I slept a while,” read a post from his blog ‘Vineet on Earth’, as shared by another friend – Biswanath Bhattacharya – on the social media.
A note written by the top executive, who is survived by his wife and three children, explicitly stated that nobody else was to be blamed for his suicide. “I am unable to cope. ... Yes, I am a coward. I should have faced life,” NDTV quoted the suicide note as saying.
Pattabhi Raman, another friend, seemed to have a more philosophical take on the incident. “Sad and tragic! Shows that material success doesn’t lead to inner peace and happiness! RIP!” Raman posted.
Whig’s neighbours at his DLF Belvedere Park apartment complex in Gurgaon’s Cyber City area remembered him as a quiet person who usually kept to himself. “He usually came down for morning and evening walks alone, and never talked to anyone in the condominium. We came to know about the incident that morning,” said a resident on the condition of anonymity.
Sweepers found Whig’s body in a ventilation shaft when they went to clean it around 9 am on Sunday.