I have an abiding memory of Manmohan Singh. It goes far back to the days when he was not the prime minister, not even the finance minister, when in the early '90s he took transformational steps to open up and liberalise a collapsing Indian economy and got his name etched in the history of global economics.
It was at a child's birthday party in a residential enclave dominated by government officers where my wife and I found ourselves standing next to a genial-looking Sikh in casual shirt and trousers, and his wife.
After the cake was cut, I nudged my wife and told her who the Sikh gentleman was. She - and most other guests - of course, had not recognised him.
He was, I told her, the man just named as the chief economic adviser to the new prime minister, Chandra Shekhar, who had replaced V.P. Singh at the head of a minority government propped up by the Congress in November 1990.
Our hosts introduced the Singhs as their neighbours. True to his character, Manmohan did not socialise much, smiled little, did some perfunctory neighbourly small talk and left.