Sunday, December 26, 2010

1377 : We are neither beasts nor prophets

From one of Arundhati Roy’s speeches at MIT:

“Our inability to live entirely in the present (like most animals do), combined with our inability to see very far into the future, makes us strange in-between creatures, neither beast nor prophet. Our amazing intelligence seems to have outstripped our instinct for survival. We plunder the earth hoping that accumulating material surplus will make up for the profound, unfathomable thing that we have lost.”

Its a fantastic three sentence exercise in precise writing – it neatly sums up the philosophy of conservationists such as EF Schumacher and Hazel Henderson.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

1376 : The missing dimension

I am very perceptive about myself (or so I like to believe), about tiny things in my body and head.

Here is an interesting part of the situation:

1. I have an elephant like memory, especially for things and trivia that interest me.

2. In a memory, I can never ever recall the timbre of the voice. As an example I will tell you the song “Halwa Wala Aa gaya” is from the movie Dance Dance, has Mithun and Mandakini, I can hum the song – but I cannot tell you the name of the singer- because the memory is lacking the aural quality. (Unlike my wife who will hum for 10 seconds, almost as if, she is hearing it play in the background and then throw the answer “Vijay Benedict”..she does this consistently and almost everyone seems to do it too).

3. If you now make me listen to the song – there is a good chance in 10 seconds I shall tell you the name of the singer. I can do this better than most others and even after 30 years of having first listened the song. (Of course, the assumption is, I knew the name of the singer back then as well).

4. Similarly, I can never remember faces in my memory. My wife who I saw 4 days ago is a blurred haze in my head. I can’t visualize my sister’s face at all.

5. If I see my sister 30 years later, she would have grown old, but I would catch her in a wink. I still walk into malls and tell folks –” are you from St. Johns? Is your name Sujoy?” and they almost fall off. My brain seems to have this unbelievable capability to factor in ageing into a memory, while completely lacking basic qualities/dimensions of a memory record.

Weird huh….I guess so. My sis and others think I am joking when I tell them on the phone, “I cannot visualize you”….I swear, I really cannot!!

No wonder, on days like today, I miss folks quite a bit Smile

1375 : 3D Movies, Werner Herzog, insightful comment !!

I was reading Open dated 27th Dec. There is an interview with Werner Herzog. At some point is is asked about the invasion of 3D movies and this is what he has to say.


Q Your last film Cave of Forgotten Dreams was in 3D. Are you excited by the technology? Do you see yourself doing more work in 3D?

A Not really. I have a certain scepticism about 3D. It will not happen, let’s say, like television and black & white, which is completely replaced by colour television. 3D will not take over completely, because in 3D everything that you see is like fireworks, there’s nothing beyond it. There is nothing beyond Avatar. As stunning as the film is, there is no fantasy beyond it. But when you look at a romantic comedy, for example, we as an audience develop a parallel second story, an inner story, which takes place within the audience. Will the two lovers find each other after all the obstacles and dramas? Please destiny, let them unite—so there is a parallel story, which we are developing. And we cannot develop a parallel story in a 3D film. You can’t project beyond the three dimensions, strangely enough. So you can do Avatar in 3D, but you can’t do a romantic comedy in 3D.

Found the conversation imminently insightful.

1374 : Stars vs. Actors

Was reading an old piece by Jerry Pinto. He says

Stars need not be actors. Actors play other people. Stars play themselves.”

I could not put it better Smile

1373 : Anti–God?

A certain Muslim I know and respect a lot, walked upto me and asked me – “did you know that the Verses have hurt us a lot? How come you are not ashamed of idolizing such a book?”

I was sensitive to the pain he was in, because he definitely seemed anguished….I almost wanted to apologize. I asked him very politely, had he read the book? He said no.

I then proceeded to tell him that the Verses to me have been an eye opener about Islam – about its good and bad – about the unabashed violent roots it has, but also about the utopian peace and ideal society that the Prophet so benevolently craved for.

Being a Hindu (on paper) – I have read with equal interest Irawati Karve’s Yuganta which rips apart Mahabharata.

The idea for me is not to malign or to “paint black” but to understand the world as “it is” and not as “we see”.

Knowing the world “as is” is finding your little personal God.

1372 : Greatness?

As I am listening through the “Come September” speeches by Arundhati Roy….it makes me a little introspective.

With the passing of days, I am definitely becoming more aware that mine is a life spent, a plebian existence. What kind of hurts is, I know in my heart that each of us has the capability and the potential to become a(n) Alan Watts, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie or whatever else we aspire to become….and yet, I know that I shall be none of that and more.

Does the lack of fame, money, love impact me?

No…that’s completely missing the point. It’s the inability to kiss my own personal greatness that defeats me.

The water runs dry.

1371 : Come September

I have openly admitted to two things:
1) Being an unbridled  fan of Miss Arundhati Roy (and not for her ideas alone…some of which I might not completely agree with….but for her courage to stick to them, inspite of public glare)
2) Having been panned by left right and center for being a supporter of the ladySmile . Seriously, the amount of hate mail I have got on this topic is not even ridiculous!!

Have been listening to a series of speeches by her in a collection called Come September (from 2002). In this series, the lucidity of her ideas flow….so does the of gab. Her voice and her comfort with herself is so amazing……it shows!!

She does have a tiny speech in that collection called “suspicion of nationalism”….which is eerily prescient of her arrest warrant and sedition charges.

As I often tell people….go beyond the obvious….there is a world we “see”, and there is a world which “is”. We should all hope to catch a glimpse of the world which “is”.

(I add her to the list of people I hope to meet before I die. Mr. Rushdie is the first in the list.)

Friday, December 24, 2010

1370 : Taste the thunder

An addition to my poison list of 1)Chai and 2)my sis’s brilliant mulled wine (I miss her and the bloody wine so much, that it causes a terrible heartache every friday!!) and the 3)……(read on)

Take a fresh red chilli (you will get at supermarkets), not the dried ones. Remove the seeds, grind it in a mixie. Take one freshly squeezed lime. 300 ml Thums Up (no coke and pepsi please!!). Tonic Water (which I love) is another alternative.

3-4 cubes of ice. Stirred, shaken and served.

Ah! smack !!

1369 : The Pardesi movement

I was outside a mall, buying handmade wooden toys. As I stood waiting for my change to be tendered back….a punju family came along (grandfather, two sons and two grandsons).

The grandchildren clamoured for some of the attractive colored toys (which btw,were not expensive at all).

The father pandered to them…and when they finally chose something, he told them in chaste Punju hindi….translated by me “Bachoo, let these toys be….they are so desi. I will get you nice Disney toys from inside the mall”.

We do have a chip on our shoulder Smile

1368: Open your door, Windows is coming

For years I have been a avowed fan of Microsoft and its products….and for most part have been legal (save the initial years, when legal software was difficult to find in India).

I love Windows 7, Hotmail and this is written using their ubiquitous blog writer called “Windows Live Writer”.

In recent years they have got hammered for their lack of innovation and rightly so, I agree.

The point of the post….

Watch out for Windows Mobile. It might just put them straight in the middle of the ring with Android and IOS.

Me ??? When I used a smartphone it was Windows. When I move back to a smartphone…it shall be Windows.

As you can see,  I wear my loyalty on my sleeve.

1367 : Raavan ki jawani

I have been listening to (not watching…I said “listening”)….Sheila Ki Jawani from Tees Maar Khan. Its actually a fairly okayish song…if you can sift away the hype.

But wait, there is something unusual about the music. I don’t know if its my ears, but I thought I was hearing the “ghati” lezhim kind of beats in the background….especially on the percussions. (Is Ghati a slur….excuse me, I am Ghati myself!!)

If that is indeed correct, I must say, thats a very innovative score by Vishal-Shekhar.

Do listen in and confirm.

Meanwhile, this is the kind of music,that Raavan seems to so hungrily devor…raunchy, crass and lascivious Smile

1366: “I belong to the pesky genus” (and hence fart too loud)

I can never understand the section of the species who shall enter a gym and then rudely fight over equipment or music….you know the type that goes “The music in your earphone is too loud…(and then point you to a “silence only” board” , or another example is “those who shall get very personal and peeved, if you turn down the volume of the central music”…. almost saying to you aloud “ if you are rich enough to own your own mp3 player, shove it up your twat (or arse), as for plebeians like us we need our gym music loud and noisy”.

Quite frankly, I simply don’t get the motivation of such folks.

At this point, It will help clarify – that I hit a gym to unwind and decongest my mind – I am not aiming to be the next Arnold “terminator” nor am I in a race to appear anorexia infected. And for those precise reasons, I hate getting into a gym and having a conversation,be it, either small talk or with the stupid instructors….I don’t need help and I don’t seek help Smile

And hence to me, the folks who come in behave so pesky are not irritants, they are ghoulish…my eyes almost scream murder.

I almost end up judging them……Its a sad life, if going to the gym is such a chore for these folks. As if, they have to walk 30 minutes on the treadmill, else their day is incomplete. The gym is an urban temple to help you deal with life, so lets look at it as meditation and personal peace….and not as “250 cals burned”.

Reminds me of one of my fav passages from Ayn Rand’s, We the living.

Do you believe in God, Andrei? No. Neither do I. But that's a favorite question of mine. An upside-down question, you know. What do you mean? Well, if I asked people whether they believed in life, they'd never understand what I meant. It's a bad question. It can mean so much that it really means nothing. So I ask them if they believe in God. And if they say they do—then, I know they don't believe in life. Why? Because, you see, God—whatever anyone chooses to call God—is one's highest conception of the highest possible. And whoever places his highest conception above his own possibility thinks very little of himself and his life. It's a rare gift, you know, to feel reverence for your own life and to want the best, the greatest, the highest possible, here, now, for your very own. To imagine a heaven and then not to dream of it, but to demand it.

Maybe on a similar note, I should ask folks “Do you come into the gym to listen to loud tasteless FM radio blaring out the central system?” instead of asking them their whole philosophy of working out.

One day, not too far away, I shall carry a sledgehammer to the gym Smile

1365 : The pleasure of being a whore !!

I have been listening to a set of bootleg IIT tapes…music composed and executed by IITians, and its beyond “parental advisory”….and yet….its hilarious !!

The little secret of the college years….its all out there now!!

Don’t be deliciously surprised, if the next time you talk to me…and I cuss you in words too delicate to print!!

For a few minutes, felt like a kid again….who said cussing was bad.

1364 : Where is the light (s)twitch?

My favorite 7 year twitch seems to have returned. Ah, the pleasures of being shaken and stirred.

1363 : The myth of the olive branch

My sis was suggesting that olive oil is good for kids. That confirmed what I have always seen in baby stores – an aisle dedicated to olive oil of all brands and types.

Yes…No…not quite.

I decided to read up a bit.

Turns out that in the western world – they recommend olive oil for massaging (more on that later)  and for cooking. Their view is extra virgin oil is good since its healthier than the “commercial” canola cooking oil that they usually use.

Does this apply for us Indians? You get sunflower, karadi, palm, mustard, til, coconut and the (staple) groundnut oil in any supermarket.  Wicked irony?

Okay…lets not beat around. I shall rather share the summary of my readings. The best oil for both kids (and adults too) is:
1. Single (or first) cold pressed oil – any underlying will do – as long as you can bear the basic smell of the ingredient(say til). It helps though to know that coconut oil is good for under-nourished babies, mustard/til oil is great for colder regions (read Minnesota), sunflower is a new staple, and groundnut is the cheaper healthier option.
2. Try also getting it “cold filtered”.
3. Use oil for cooking which is usually no more than 1 year old (and that include the extra virgin olive oil – which in India is imported and is usually already 6-18 months old by the time it reaches us).
4. If you plan to fry/cook for long – use standard oil – because the cold pressed oils wont stand the test of high flames.
5. Lastly, the best fat for kids is homemade ghee. Period.
6. (What I have learnt in the past few months is – fat is the most important thing the baby requires in the mom’s womb and the first 3 years. It’s the one single essential item for the neuron connections. What will especially help if you can give the mother and the kid – DHA for the first 3 years at least). Will make a big difference to how much complexity is baked structurally into the kid’s brains. Neurons feed on DHA (it’s a simplistic view….but conveys the message I hope).

I should thank my sweetie sis, at least her input made me want to understand this space for myself.

Happy blubbering Smile

1362 : The dog that failed

Picture this.

I drive along a military road everyday. A few days ago, at a particular bend, I had to swerve hard to avoid what looked like the carcass of a dead dog.

The next day driving through the road, I saw that the dog was still at the same spot, (on the edge of the road), now swathed in a blanket and being fed milk and biscuits by the villagers.

This continued for the next few days.

Few observations:

1. I wonder why they did not move the dog off the street.
2. Reaffirms my belief that human beings are inherently good. Goodness is innate in all of us. (Though some duffers like me drive through other’s pain….)
3. Did the dog actually eventually survive?

Sometimes the phrase “it’s a dog’s life” can mean so much more.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

1361 : Continued from Yeh Honsla (Dor)

From the previous post

samjhe the haatho main hain zameen,
mutthi jo kholi bas khak hai!

I especially like these two lines, because….

(Finally),  when I did open my close-fisted palms, the ashes I was so desperately clutching onto, hugged the blowing wind and (bloody damn) escaped.

1360 : Yeh Honsla (sad) from Dor –translated to English

rishtey, bharosey, chahat, yakeen,
un sab ka daman ab chak hai,
samjhe the haatho main hain zameen,
mutthi jo kholi bas khak hai!
dil main yeh shore hain kyun..
imaan kamzoor hai kyun...
nazuk yeh door hai kyun..

This is Yeh Honsla from Dor, a Nagesh Kukonoor film – sung by Shaukat Amanaat Ali Khan (the Mitwa singer…).

These are the lyrics of the sad version of this song – lasts less than 2 minutes – but has the power to give me goose pimples – inspite of having heard it a 1000 times already. The voice, the bassy strings (counter-intutive??? but it is)….the lyrics…..If you don’t understand hindi/urdu –heres an excuse to learn the language.

Please hear it.

Translated below to help folks

Liaisons, trust, affection, assurance
The (underlying) fabric (of all of those) has now been horribly shorn,

(I always) believed that the world was within my grasp,
(When I eventually) opened my palm, the vacuous void was revealed

Why is there so much chatter in my mind?
Why is my belief feeble and faltering?
Why is this (connecting) thread so bare (and weak)?

1359 : Mood Enhancer

Have been listening to 4 songs on repeat since morning (with endless cups of poison).

1. A rendition of Raag Megh by Pt. Ajoy Chakravarthy – Ghan chaye gagan adh ghor ghor, sanna-nana chalath pawan zor zor, piya ghar nahi aaye jiya tarase….)

2. Pratham Dhar Dhyan by Ustad Ghulam Mustafa  Khan – an outstanding bhajan from Umraao Jaan – sung, composed and written by Muslims Smile

3. Raag Todi by Kishori Amonkar – a 3 minute rendition of outstanding sharpness – cuts straight into your soul. – Allah ke saamne sabhi jaaye….

4. Raag Marwa by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Allah Mohammed Char Yaar….(damn addictive…almost trance like)

And lo….I am already feeling so much better.

1358 : The struggle to be…

I have been struggling to put my thoughts down. Too much to say, so much to say…and yet, the pen runs out of ink.

Sometimes too much can also be so terrible….

Sunday, December 19, 2010

1357 : Raavan is going senile :-)

He is getting soft and mushy listening to “Halwa –wala aa gaya, aa gaya, aa gaya, halwa-wala aa gaya.”.

I must say such refined taste in music – must come naturally with 10 heads, I dare say.

Friday, December 10, 2010

1356 : Al Pacino’s speech from Any Given Sunday

I have an audio rendition of this. I remember listening to this about 10 months when Raavan seemed a little threatened by the universe. I almost urged Raavan, “come on buddy, we can only win this game inch by inch”…..that’s so bloody true even as of today. All of what this speech says…seems to fit the Raavan(and me!!I am bloody old and have made serious mistakes too!!) context.

I know in my heart that the 10 headed monster shall eventually win against all odds Smile…you know why…. “because he has shown he is willing to die….” , and that’s my one and (only) final all pervasive/encompassing compliment( for him).


From Youtube


Reproduced here for easier reading.

I don't know what to say really. Three minutes till the biggest battle of our professional lives. It all comes down to today. Now either we heal as a team, or we're gonna crumble. Inch by inch, play by play, till we're finished. We're in hell right now, gentlemen. Believe me. And we can stay here, get the shit kicked out of us, or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell. One inch at a time.

Now I can't do it for you. I'm too old. I look around, I see these young faces, and I think... I mean I've made every wrong choice a middle-aged man can make. I pissed away all my money, believe it or not. I chased off anyone who's ever loved me, and lately, I can't even stand the face I see in the mirror. You know when you get old in life, things get taken from you. That's part of life. But you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out life's this game of inches. And so is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small. I mean... one half a step too late or too early and you don't quite make it. One half second too slow too fast, you don't quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when we add up all those inches, that's gonna make the fucking difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying! I'll tell you this - in any fight, its the guy whose willing to die who's gonna win that inch. And I know if I'm going to have any life anymore, it's because I'm still willing to fight and die for that inch. Because that's what living is! The 6 inches in front of your face...

Now I can't make you do it. You've got to look at the guy next to you, look into his eyes. Now I think you're gonna see a guy who will go that inch with you. You're gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team, because he knows when it comes down to it, you're gonna do the same for him.

That's a team, gentlemen. And either we heal, now, as a team, or we will die, as individuals. That's football, guys. That's all it is. Now, what are you going to do?

1355 : The search for a life….

Prashant was telling me about this brilliant quote from Chanakya (the television miniseries)…. (not exact, but something to this effect!!)

“Ek taraf hatya hain…aur doosre oar atma-hatya. Ein dono ke beech mein humko zindagi talaash na hain”

1354 : Lovely quote enters my lexicon

As I re-read “The Verses” for the 3rd time, I am noticing things which I had not noticed until now….like this lovely phrase…. “between the forbidden well and the compulsory ocean….”

I was telling someone the other day, I treat this book almost as if it were my philosophy guide Smile

1353 : IITs to curb suicide

IITs are going to curb suicide by replacing ceiling fans by pedestal fans.

Dear Dean…..I suggest…. one can still kill himself by putting your head into the pedestal fan (a la Slyvia Plath…she used the oven though!!)….why not replace fans with ACs….the only way to then die is to either freeze yourself or electrocute your finger.

These institutions are supposedly our answer to MIT and Virginia Tech…Yawn @!@!

1352 : Raavan’s new song….

Ira Mira Dika….Smile

1351 : Movember

I hate shaving….period. Next November I will participate in

Ah…I am the bearded philanthropist.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

1350 : Whats in a name

Spousey and I were talking yesterday about names – as in, names for humans and pets and all things in between.

A name is essentially an identity. It can either be
1) Aspirational – e.g. Arjun – it’s a great conversation with the kid at the age of 5 – to tell him that he was named Arjun because we thought that focus is important in life and Arjun exemplified it.
2) Emotional – e.g. Salman – Papa always loved Mr. Rushdie, so the name Salman will evoke a strong positive emotion from Papa…and this strong undercurrent will flow into the baby from day 1 – maybe even in the womb.
3) Cool on the tongue – e.g. usually Urdu or German names – the ones which have strong consonants tied to it – everytime you say Mazhar – a part of you has to be invested into it – same is true for Zaara and Kavya (ah the lovely!!).

I cant think of a fourth category…and that’s where I think we as modern races have lost it. We fall back on names which were relevant 300 years ago (and today are just as irrelevant), because we choose it from a language which has stopped evolving.,,,words which we don’t live by and only encounter in google. The fallout is, usually, semantics are so very completely lost, when we end up choosing from Sanskrit or Urdu….unless of course you are from Lucknow.. (or like Prashant you think in that bloody language) …seriously!!

Let me try and explain….

Hijr in Urdu essentially means separation, quite literally….but its never quite used in that sense ….its always used to imply “longing”. Similarly who uses “Smart Alec” today in a positive sense???? Usage in language defines most words in the current context…..and the context changes with time.

English, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil continue to be used and continue to evolve in our own consciousness….but Sanskrit/Urdu are strangely to me “love in a dead language”.

If we choose a name like Sheetal – without understanding what the fuck it means – or maybe by looking it up on google – you have so very completely lost the plot.

A name is more than a name….you become what your name is. Seriously…it’s a self fulfilling plot.

Do a favor!! next time you name your dog…choose a ribald name like Bullet, at least it means something in modern life…than choosing Raju.

Case rests.

1349 : Make a wish foundation, are you listening ?

If there is one thing I want to do before I die (and more importantly before he dies….no actually….I revert…..before I die), is to have a tiny meeting with Mr. Rushdie. I want to ask him what kind of madcap genius can write The SV and what kind of imbecile failure writes Luka and the Fire of Life.

Such a fall from grace….and yet…..The scale of the Verses is impossible to conjure. Its prolific….its pure unadulterated genius.


And if make a wish foundation comes back a qualifying criteria of “do you have leukemia?”, believe me, I shall gladly have that….as long as they can make the above happen Smile


Have been reading the verses again, for the 3rd time !!

Monday, November 29, 2010

1348 : Utsav in the night

Anyone who has heard the song “Man kyon beheka” will tell you that the line “Raat hoti shuru hain aadhi raat ko” is a work of pure genius by Vasant Dev.

Why did I remember this? Raavan gives that line a fresh new perspective Smile

1347 : Why I still like Windows (sic!!)

It took me over 6 hrs to figure how to install Windows 7 64 on my PC. Finally after a full format and dealing with some very unusual errors, the system got working.

Now that its on with Office 2010 (both of them are completely legal)…..I must admit….Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit feels like a lot of fun.

Jim Morrison is dead, long live the Windows Smile

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

1346 : Nirvana

Prashant and I were having such a ball of a laugh the other day. We work at a wormhole where titles matter. Its important that you become MD and then something beyond that (lets say Sr. MD – SMD).

If you become SMD, you have entered the ultimate echelon of fame within the firm’s history.

We were looking at each of these symbolic titles as the 7 steps to Nirvana. The person who finally becomes SMD is out of this. He has achieved everything there is to achieve. He is above and beyond every common man’s realm.

People look at these “achievers” and the symbols with spellbound awe. If you played ludo or snakes and ladders as a kid, then you know what it is to say “chooth gaya” (he is liberated). Becoming a MD/SMD is similar to chooth gaya.

Its almost as if, the person has become an SMD going through endless cycles of karma (birth and rebirth) till he finally got liberation.

BTW, I crave to be an SMD as well someday. Now you partly know why I am deranged Smile

1345 : Frozen in time

A face that sleeps within the palms of your hands. Restful, peaceful and mollycoddled by the warmth of the flesh meets flesh moment. For one brief day, time stood still….while the universe was running around, a tiny world crept out of orbit and slept.

Monday, November 22, 2010

1344 : Seven day twitch :-)

My right  hand has been twitching for the past few days. Its a noticeable twitch – almost like a tremor (the kind you have in Parkinsons). It usually makes its presence felt when I am very tired or when I am very still.

I was joking with my wife that this is the start of a long journey of Parkinsons. She obviously did not appreciate the joke (neither will my sweet sis…waiting to hear her blessings Smile)

But spousey and I were laughing away at the twitch. Its really funny to watch. I have never ever experienced, anything like this before.

On a serious note, my view of MY personal world is quite seriously deranged. To me Parkinson’s, Cancer and the ilk are Life. There is only one eventuality – and that is bloody death – everything else can only be classified as a series of freaky accidents. As long as you are living, you are not dying….and that is reward in itself.

On a more serious note, we all want to travel the world, eat all kinds of cuisine, even fly to the moon – all the time arguing – “its but one life”…..

Why would we not want to experience Cancer, Parkinsons, Bankruptcy…..etc…..Pray, why the slur?  I really don’t get it. Is it not the same “one life”???

One of my favorite expressions at home and office is whatever life is, “its never going to be one happy path”….the only way to live LIFE, you better start assuming that the Path is the happy path.

1343 : A Guide to the Perplexed


Am almost getting done with EF Schumacher’s A guide to the Perplexed. A rarer book by the genius who wrote “Small is beautiful”.

Its 172 pages and is written with an intent to being a guidebook on how to live life. The book is fairly difficult to read, and at times there are quite a few points, which I completely disagree with.

What I found interesting is a chapter devoted to “knowing oneself” and his point being if you don’t experience yourself, you cannot perceive the wisdom of others – almost akin to my point of “personal greatness” – if you don’t have a definition of that, then you might as well live a bumkum life.

And to explain that he says, if you don’t know what sorrow (or anger or unhappiness or happiness or pain) is then you can never quite understand a fellow human being going through that experience. Makes sense.

Overall a good book (though a very difficult read…very dry prose)….though not in the league of Small is Beautiful. Read it to assimilate more of a modern day Buddha.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

1342 : A happy family

There is a reason, why they say, a family that bakes its own bread is a happy family. Its difficult not to feel upbeat with this aroma wafting all over the house, for several hours after the baking.

Loving it.

1341 : Bingo !!Not BreadTalk



This is what I baked today…and I am terribly proud of it. Looks like BreadTalk, tastes like BreadTalk…except that sugar was a bit less.

I hate cooking with measurements, and thats HATE in caps. Hence I had almost 5-8 tries before I got here, but the good part is, I will now always get here. What you learn by intution, remains in your subconcious. A measuring cup can never replace your mind.

I am happy today. Next weekend the quest for the perfect loaf of multi-grain bread with continue, this time with a little more sugar.

1340 : Ravaan is an Eddie Vedder fan

The first cover he shall sing will be Jeremy Smile

King Jeremy the wicked…

Saturday, November 20, 2010

1339 : My worm hole

There are a lot of things that I am still getting used to at my (new) worm hole and a (bigger) lot of things that I might never ever fundamentally agree with.

There is one very remarkable cultural aspect though, it reminds me in a dozen different ways every waking day : to aspire to be the best; to do the best possible with resources; to be conscious its a dog eat dog world – you pause and the guy behind will run over you; to always carry a chip over your shoulder reminding you that you are just as good as you are today….the past is history.

And in this, my worm hole is relentless in its lack of reprieve – to the extent, that at times the pressure can even end up breaking the most resilient shoulders.

For this reason, and for this alone(inspite of the hazaar shortcomings of this place), I don’t know whether I shall ever manage to work at another place ever.  It inspires me to move ahead in life (and not just at my work).

Its a bit like runner’s high…if you know what I mean….you run 10 gruelling kms, torturing your body, but at the end your mind is happy and giggling…..almost, for the same reason, I thoroughly completely love my worm hole….its a bit like a drug, for which I shall happily go through my daily ordeal Smile

(My worm hole is the corporate I work for Smile)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

1338 : Running for life

I have said that multiple times on my blog, but once again….running and driving definitely clean up my mind…they are my urban meditation. I so look forward to my daily drive through the Bangalore traffic.

Interesting, when my mind is preoccupied and pensive, like it was very much through yesterday, it creates a zillion excuses to avoid running. If you somehow fight that(and I rarely do Smile), the run actually cleans up the mind so well.

If it was not for driving and running, I might have been a limp bizkit by now Smile.

1337 : Real world skills

Was telling my wife the other day, if tomorrow say aliens jam our satellites, we shall be screwed. All information highways will stop…and doomsday will happen Smile

What will I do in that case. I will cook….because thats one real world skill that could quite easily be the worlds second oldest profession.

On a serious note….think hard….its essential to constantly measure how much of a real world skill are we acquiring in this artificial and abstracted world.

I can cook, work like a carpenter, paint, do some plumbing, drive cars…..each of them is a real world skill….that might one day save my life.

And I believe in that Smile

Real world skills also ensure that portions of the brain – other than ones which are actively used to deal with abstraction – will continued to be greased… in a real world crisis….a “real world skilled” person will deal better with the emergency.

So much for gyan Smile

1336 : Kids got talent

The standard predilection of making your kid going through 1500 specialised classes everyday exists in Bangalore, just as in any other yuppie city.

You do drama classes, poetry classes, dancing classes, taekondo, gymnastics, swimming, painting….and the list goes on and on.

Meanwhile, I know a kid here, who goes to two classes – Carnatic Vocal and Lawn Tennis.

I think thats neat focus. One keep him healthy, and the other is gym for his mind.

Thats a prescription, that I dont mind copying Smile

1335 : Schools in Bangalore

Before you get ideas, I am not hunting for schools in Bangalore. My last status in the bumkum Facebook was “issueless”, now of course I have “died” on facebook. RIP. Clarification over.

Having said that, this place seems full of some really rocking schools. I keep talking to people and the schools and their infrastructure seem so out of whack when compared to Bombay.

You have huge schools, residential or otherwise, and by Bombay standards, not that terribly expensive. Large integrated playgrounds, fantastic professional day care, schools which allow you to prepare for London Music School…..get the drift.

Agreed, kids here might miss out on the “dog eat dog” approach of a big city…..but why even aspire that for kids. You want kids to “experience” and assimilate.

By the time they hit college, they will be dogging anyways Smile

Definitely its so much more fun being a kid here than in a big city. Just the open spaces, and alternative thought streams should open their mind a bit more.

As of now, knowing very little about this city, I wish, in my next birth, I am born as a Bangalore kid. Thats a good wish coming from an atheist right Smile

1334 : Srilankans might like desi music without the right notes


Well Raavan prefers “Aaj Jane Ki Zid Na Karo” and he prefers my voice to the mellifluous Begum Akhtar.

I cant tell my C from my F, and the octave is usually 3 lower or higher than the original. Looks like neither can Raavan.

Taste in music, usually has to be cultivatedSmile

1333 : Big Moose

Its taken me years to figure out some things and (some of) the “rules” of the world….and meanwhile, all the time, defining/updating a working personal philosophical guidebook for my life. Some of the guidebook entries are topsy turvy and radical (no matter that Shri feels otherwise Smile)…and yet….

There are days on which I am talking to someone and as part of the conversation, (I) subtly mention some part of my “guidebook”, and the other person nods vigorously, (supposedly) agrees with me and then proceeds to tell me “I have had the same approach since I was 12?”…..

At those points I feel dumb…I feel it took me years to arrive here….and I am still not sure I am on the “correct” road….and “you” knew it since 12. It hurts my fragile infantile ego that I am so “dohh”!!

And invariably when I look back and reflect what did he do, that I did not…..the answer is …. “he watched all seasons of KBC and now Big Boss” Smile

(The sceptic in me, harbors a belief that, even if I had mentioned, “This took me years to figure – before every “good beginning” in life, if I ruminate, fantasize and meditate for 2 deep minutes on Pamela’s twin peaks – the “beginning” is a smash success”…..he would adopt a poker face – the intellectual grimace – nod, and then say “I have been doing that since I was 12” Smile

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

1332 : Love and longing in the times of Raavan :-)

Begum Akthar’s Aaj Jaane ki Zid na karo is ringing in my ears

Aaj jaane ki zid na karo
Yunhi pehloo mein baithe raho

Tum hi socho zara, kyun na roke tumhe
Jaan jaati hai jab uth ke jaate ho tum 
Tumko apni qasam jaan-e-jaan
Baat itni meri maan lo

Waqt ki qaid mein zindagi hai magar 
Chand ghadiyan yehi hain jo aazad hain 
Inko khokar mere jaan-e-jaan
Umr bhar na taraste raho

(Fits the raavan scenario perfectly, what say, especially the last para Smile)

1331 : Brand endorsement




I was reading with interest, about our President, Miss Pratibha Patil visiting Puttaparthi on Nov 19th to participate in Satya Sai Baba’s 85th birthday on 23rd Nov (and I am sure she is flying there in official capacity and not on her personal expense account))

Colors surrounding Sai Baba apart, I don’t think I would flinch an eyelid if my own mother were to do this – but as the head of a state, are you really allowed to wear your biases and brands on your sleeve.

Can you for example demonstrate behaviour which almost holds your personal values as that of a lumpen?

I know there are enough states which are avowedly biased say Indonesia (Islam) or Israel or the middle eastern ones. And then there are ones like China and Russia which are atheist nations.

I think in factors like religion which are decidedly extremely polar issues within humans, I prefer for a state (and its head) to be very apersonal(and apolotical) on that issue….almost a la China.

For now, everyone right from our president wishes the baba a happy bday Smile

Sunday, November 14, 2010

1330 : What I am most afraid of….

Continuing from the previous post. Personally, for myself, I have a few set of basic rules for life. I don’t want to be

1. Transactional – where operational items become life. Like I have always “hated” it when people talk to me about “did you eat breakfast?”, “did you have your medicines”, “did you wipe the toilet seat?”. I would rather you talk to me about the  texture of the bread we are eating. Get it…..I would focus on the non-operational part of everyday living.
2. Reductionist – I hate asking “what will happen if?” – e.g. will it matter if my daughter studies at TISB…no, on a planar level that does guarantee anything…but you don’t want to be stuck into that meaningless existential argument. Choose the best chance, option that life offers you….and the best will happen to you.
3. Lumpen – I don’t want my opinions, behaviour to be governed in any way by the lumpen. That does not mean, I fashionably disagree with the lumpen on everything….in fact in most things I am the lumpen. But I choose what I have to choose….I refuse to blow noisy crackers, I refuse to change my name due to numerlogy, or put a black dot on my daughter.

A few more rules exist, but hope you get the drift?

Why should I not want this for my daughter or son as well?

1329 : The hand that rocked the cradle

Shri and I have been discussing how to bring up children. I don’t quite believe in that stupid adage “there is no one right way”, which is almost used as a catch all to justify any of our practices.

With that view in my heart, having been scourging, hunting, sifting through lots of people’s brains for their ideas, books and the wealth of advice that the universe has to offer….all the time choosing carefully, what fits in and appeals to my rationale side and what appears humbug.

Shri and a few others believe there is no merit in necessarily seeking out either an ideal child rearing technique, or even to”target” an end state for the child.

Infact, Shri has written this really well.

There is nothing in that post that I can even remotely disagree, but yet…..

Where I struggle (and debate endlessly within myself) is my own experiences as an adult – seem to suggest that even an iota of focus can make one clearly stand out amongst the lumpen. You could use this focus to lead Naxalbari or become Einstien. Focus is not always routed to things which make you popular, it could make you infamous.

Leading from there…focus seems to be a necessary stepping stone to personal greatness….then why would you not help a little kid get some of that potion.

And the other aspect being discussed is “can you learn by reading”? or something to that effect.

Look….I am what I am.I have read 500 page tomes on Tao, that which essentially cannot and should not be described. If I can read that in hope of learning something, I assume I can read anything. I usually look at my readings as 99.95%pass through. You retain one idea out of a 400 page book, but sometimes that single idea can change the way you look at life.

I can give many examples of that….even in the current context. Like for example, the huge and undeniable role of “insecurity” in the brain development of a kid and an adult too. I could not have figured that insight on my own, unless I had brought up a score of kids already – but now that tiny bit of knowledge lies in my firmament because someone explained it to me in a way that appealed to m rational side…..

Having said that, I really think there is very little I can disagree with on Shri’s post. Meanwhile, I will continue my reading Smile, because I am what I am….

Saturday, November 13, 2010

1328 : “Molester” let go

Was at my cafeteria yesterday, having breakfast and staring blankly at the TimesNow channel. The headlines were screaming - “Molester” let go – this was referring to the SP Rathore and Ruchika case.

Lets get the facts. This guy is accused of doing whatever he did. He has fought a 15 year battle across 4 different courts. If the courts decide to let him walk scot free – is it fair for a media channel to drub him a “molester”.

I think it would have made far more sense for TimesNow to say “Judiciary in India sucks” or something to that effect.

I am not sure, if this is what it means when folks complain of “instant justice” meted out by media.

Reporting facts is long forgotten now it is opinions, hype and jingoism.

1327 : 7 year long pregnancy

In Bangalore mirror yesterday was reading a story. Anil Kumble married a divorcee and they were having a fight for the custody of the daughter from the previous marriage.

Now begins the fun facts, read them carefully.

So his wife’s first marriage happened in 1986. She got divorced 2 years later, and the battle is on for the 15 year old daughter from that marriage. Remember we are in 2010.

So I said, maybe it was 1996 and not 1986. It still does not add up to the 15, even if you assume it is “15 running”.

Only solution to problem, she had a 7 year long pregnancy.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

1326: Who needs enemies

Two of my best buddies murdered me in some form today :-)

One of them said I am bookish and the other said he does not know the point I am (often) trying to make.

Now that I am been flattered in so many certain terms – its time to go back to work, the narcissist in me cant take this anymore.

:-) :-)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

1325 : Out with father was just like me :-)

The real reason I blog…I want my children, my nephews and nieces to read this when they are 20, and go “whoa!! my dad back then, was just like me!!”.

I dont know whether I am going to be around long enough for them to “see” that….at least let them read it and Imagine (like Lennon once did!!)

1324 : Hotmail

Another favourite derisive question, “you still on hotmail??? move to gmail”

Yes, I am. Its an 12 year old id, it works, hotmail has never given me a days problem in my whole life….and best of all, it works fantastic with outlook.

I can’t deal with a email provider who does not offer folders, but instead doles out stars. I like to unclutter my mail box and not star mangle it.

1323 : Gift for someone you love :-)


My spousey gifted me a 40L OTG (no crappy convection microwaves for me!!).  A neat shiny industrial Morphy Richards one.

I have not baked since 1997….but I am getting back at it…and am loving it. (I used to bake extensively back then!!)

Lets the cakes, cookies, bread and biscoot flow :-)

(My bday seems to have gotten pulled in by a couple of months !!)

1322 : Irony

I keep getting asked by “I wore a yellow knicker today <tag>” – Facebook generation on “why do you blog?”.

Maybe because I don’t (yet) wear yellow knickers <tagged>.

1321 : Make a wish without a foundation :-)

My post on giving children a focus, got quite some flak from Sri, my mom and some private messages on my email.

I still fail to see how you can live in a world without an aspiration. I definitely don’t want to tell or coach my daughter on how to do things – but I do want to equip her enough to “find things which you might want to do”…and even to do that I need her to focus on the light.

Like how far back do you take this reductionist stance? Really….thats the question.

If there is one thing I am wary of (in addition to getting transactional) in life, its getting into a reductionist trap.

For the record, I do ideally want my daughter to be equipped to think, to analyse, to correlate….more importantly, I want her to love Uncle Universe and respect it.

And that “wish” is eternal…no matter the ensuing flak from my love(s) :-) and bloody reductionism be very well damned.

1320 : Why I love Windows?

I like to call a spade a spade. I have used Microsoft Windows since it was 2.0 (on a 8Mhz 8088, running 640kb of RAM in 1988 on a CGA screen with DR Dos (digitial research disk operating system) to boot up).

I have used 3.0, 3.1, 95, ME, XP, Enterprise, Vista and now 7. (The only other OS I have used comparably is Linux)

Yesterday, as I moved from a AMD 4200+ dual core on a ASUS motherboard to a I7, quad core on a shiny new Intel Motherboard – my Vista (installed on my old HDD) – hiccuped a bit, but then, most impressively, restarted on its own – and within 5 mins was working again.

No reinstall, no update…no tweaking…it just worked.

Try getting one of your bloody cats (leopard or jaguar or whatever) to do this.

I think, its wise to give credit where due :-)

1319 : Dragon who breathes fire

My room now has a sleeping shiny new I7, quad core, with NVidia accelerator, 4 Gigs and a 600W monster Corsair SMPS….Now the real fun of video/photo editing begins :-)

So looking forward to tame this dragon!!

1318 : White noise

When you are with a little kid (who is fast asleep), quite suddenly “white noise” – a rumbling fan, or a chugging squeaking easy chair – is a necessity rather than an irritant. It gets the kid to “noise cancel” external sound ….and to find a rhythm to match his sleep with.

Funnily, I just realised how helpful it is to have someone who snores like a pig…..:-)) bingo….that seems like a perfect white noise for a day like today.

Thank you :-)

1317 : Grit and grin

(ok…am back at my preachy best :-)

Paradoxically …. (I think) in life you need to almost always accept a circumstance, but not necessarily ever adjust to it….infact, on the contrary, if it is not a favourable circumstance, you should in all probability “fight” it unto death.

The very same equanimity (read paradox) applies irrespective of whether you are dealing with something debilitating like cancer, cirrhosis …. or a kid who refuses to calm down at night……or a boss who has balls of goat dung (confirmation test : does he/she go “Meeeh….maayuh…..Meeeeh…..maayuh….Meeh….maayuh”)

Strangely its this simple “paradox” which might be the secret sauce, which distinguishes “greatness” from “giving up”.

Monday, November 08, 2010

1316 : I wont enter my wormhole from today :-)

Was reading this news item in TOI, Bangalore… “Chavan may skip Obama Meet”….and the subtext read “Miffed at being asked ID proof, nationality and PAN to enter venue”.

I read this and wondered about my wormhole (my workplace :-)). I have worked here for a long enough time, but I need to flash my ID card and rattle out my employee ID at least 10 times daily.

Maybe…the world should be - “Amit may skip the wormhole today”…. “Mifffed at having to flash his ID card”….Only if, my ego was as gargantuan as Mr. Chavan’s”.

1315 : Of twosies and onesies

MiRA and IRA are TWO facets of RAOne.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

1314 : You could be mine :-)

If I had a kid, one of my pieces of advise to her would be – “You are not my child, nor are you our child – you are a child of this big fat gluttonous universe. Don’t limit yourself.”

1313 : Cracker bursting bunnies

I find Diwali irritating. Period. Loud noises, lots of chemical fumes and incessant startles…..

Its my favorite peeve. How do you get your children to be civilised and sensitive to others – when you yourself can be so disrespectful to society.

Don’t get me wrong. Colors are great, lights are energy, sweets are addictive….and of course meet and greet people – all of this seems just about right. seems all right up my alley.

But sound and fumes…..

Usually every year, I drive away out of the city to avoid the messy festival.This year was different….I had to stay put.

Until next year….when my houdini act will kick in again….Happy Diwali !!

1312 : Best book on parenting yet….

I must admit that I have read quite a few books on children – given the sheer number of nieces and nephews that I have to deal with. Child development is indeed fascinating and very personal.

I recently finished a book called “Trees make the best mobiles : Simple ways to raise your child in a complex world” by Jessica Teich and Brandel France de Bravo

I plan to read this book 5 times over. Hands down its the best advice I have ever received on dealing with kids. (Maybe I liked it so much, just because it matches so very closely with my own personal (and often radical) philosophy….)

If I could rate book 12/10…this is one book I would. Highly recommended….


1311 : Rahul and I

I read a recent article on Varun Gandhi with his quote screaming out as the headline title “There is no real comparison between Rahul and I”.

For once we could not agree more :-)

(subtext: He is undertaking a 3 day UP tour and does not want to compared, which he shall invariably be, to Rahul and his 5 year long investment into grassroots UP politics.)

Friday, November 05, 2010

1310 : Aadi’s surname

I now know a few Aadi’s in my scheme of things. I think his parents should have put his second name as Das.

Picture this. Aadi goes to the immigration counter.

Your name?
Full name?
Adidas……. Impossible is nothing.

1309 : Genius vs. prodigy

Someone was mentioning “x is a child genius….he could play the violin since he was 7”….

It did not sound right to me….I think the right word for it is “prodigy”.

Agree with the stickler in me?

1308 : Floppy Discs

I was reading in Bangalore Times that in a recent IT raid, the officials have confiscated all the client data which was present on Floppy Discs.

Was wonderiing, was this a raid that happened a decade ago and go reported now :-)

Monday, November 01, 2010

1307 : Living man…who taught me how to die

I work (or try to contribute) in some miniscule way to cancer care….no real reason…just that my search for meaning lead me there.

I do meet people who are associated and impacted by Leukemia all the time.

I met someone 3 days ago, someone I know and not yet know :-). This guy has gone through a Bone Marrow Transplant 4 years ago. If you understand what that means, good for you….if you dont, well…its about 3 times as difficult as climbing mount Everest.

As I saw him(and his spouse and daughter) laughing, joking about that time and phase of his life…I knew this was something “special”.

As my mom says, human beings have infinite strength…they just don’t know when to call upon that. I looked at this person and smiled…he seemed to exactly know how to call upon that strength.

He had lost a dear friend from a similar ailment this year…gone just like that…!! funtoosh !!

In more senses than one….the lucky one in me….. felt tiny, humbled and wiser !!

If you are not living, you are indeed busy dying (sorry Dylan !!)

1306 : The parent and the art of zenning !!

“Haste is a form of violence”.

Good advice, na!!. I actually think, the best advice I have gotten in recent years.

1305 : I miss this building too !!

RIP Green !!

1304 : The small things of Gods!!

I have not received so much flak in recent times. My post on Arundhati Roy has gotten me on the wrong side of every noveau riche and urban pseud out there.

I have very little defense against an age and time which treats Aamir and Chetan as their heroes.

Me…?? I still stick to the age old romantic leanings within me….Medha Patkar, Sharmila Irom, Arundhati Roy and Satinath Sarangi…I will teach my daughter to respect them !!

All meat no steak !!

1303 : Beginning of a new Ira

Raavan is definitely getting all excited just by the very mention of Ira – he is salivating (and drooling and burping :-)) that he will soon have some nubile young hottie to kidnap. I know someone who is going to start all sweating soon (hearing about this!!).

Vrindavan awaits Ira !!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

1302 : Arundhati Roy

I hear she is being booked for sedition for suggesting that “Kashmir is better off as an independent state.”

I am apolitical, and under-read…so have no views on the Kashmir issue. But I have to say this….

For a Booker Prize winner to give up an easy life of literary plaudits and instead to live a life using your pen to wield a voice for the minority – that in itself is worth a bow. To write like her post-booker works – An ordinary person’s guide to the empire (or something like that), The Algebra of Infinite Injustice….and other scathing pieces. Brilliant is the word!!

I often sit and wonder….what distinguishes me and a million other clutchless souls from someone like Miss Sharmila Irom or Arundhati Roy is a simple thing  - “calling”.

They have found their inner voice – which connects them with the universe at large….the universe’s joys are theirs and the pain and languish of the world around is theirs as well.

In some sense, they own the world…quite literally.

While we simple mortals….all we do is buy our houses, get children into TISB, salivate for the BMW and watch crappy Aamir Khan movies (more on the idiot later).

We never actually understood life, I think….Life is more than a sum of parts…Life is infact a game of figuring out the whole. Miss Roy certainly seems to have found her personal greatness and her larger identity….she knows in her heart she belongs to the universe.

Whereas the frog in me  belongs to 1xx9, Palm Meadows, Bangalore.

1301 : Avirook Sen in Open Magazine (this post is bellyachingly ripralious!!) – How I sued for 2 crores and a SUV …

I am a big fan of  Open. Its one of the coolest media initiatives to come out in recent times. A recent issue had this piece  by Avirook Sen. Its one of the most hilarious belly aching writing I have read in recent times. If I could write like Avirook I would quit and start writing. Seriously, amazing piece.


Original piece at Reproduced below for easier reading.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------My Settlement with NewsX

Television channel NewsX was a high-profile venture with Vir Sanghvi at the helm. But all of a sudden the promoters turned against the journos. Its executive editor was called to the office basement, intimidated, presented with a resignation letter to sign and threatened with a string of charges that belatedly included surfing porn on the office laptop. Then came redemption

BY Avirook Sen

The resignation letter lay where I had pushed it back: in the middle of the table, under the light. (Graphic: KARNO GUHA THAKURTA)

The resignation letter lay where I had pushed it back: in the middle of the table, under the light. (Graphic: KARNO GUHA THAKURTA)

I had seen the scene many times before. In films. A dark basement room, lit by a lamp suspended over a table across which the business of interrogation is conducted. The lamp lights the tabletop and the faces of accusers who lean forward to spit out the questions. When they lean back, they retreat into shadow.

There were five people on one side of the table, their backs toward the entrance. I walked around it to take my place— alone, on the side meant for the accused.

“Tell me,” I said.

Dhruva Doofus, the group human resources chief, lowered his spectacles and said: “Obhirook, we waant separation from ewe.” He pushed a piece of paper toward me as he said this. “Please sign.”

This was a resignation letter, which I took a little time to read—only to gather my thoughts. But it was distractingly full of grammatical errors and clericisms. I smiled inwardly at it, and my initial nervousness had gone.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t sign a piece I haven’t written. Never done that. But I understand your desire to part ways. Why don’t I just call my lawyer, and we’ll go by what my contract says?” Ajay Bhai, the group legal head, who was always dressed in these Gabbar Singh-type shirts, lost his little head almost before I’d finished the sentence.

“He is being difficult!” he said, addressing Doofus, Nagpal The Innumerate (chief beancounter), and two extras.

Then, leaning toward me, he said: “Do you know what we can do to you if you don’t sign?”

Bhai had this ‘shtyle’ of keeping a few buttons of his Gabbar shirt open. This was supposed to signal a threat.

“I don’t really know what you can do. I know my contract says that any dispute between me and the company is to be settled through arbitration. Why don’t we just honour the contract…”

Bhai had another habit. He would re-roll an already rolled sleeve when he felt threatened. “We will drag you to Bombay… for that. You don’t know what you are saying. And we have evidence to file criminal cases against you! You had better seek bail!”

Bhai’s tone had by now got to me. Besides, he was babbling. “Look,” I said, “You can do what you please. Sort that out among yourselves. I’m not signing any resignation letter. Till such time as I hear from you in writing, I remain executive editor of the channel. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to return to my office.”

Bhai, Innumerate, Doofus and the extras were not prepared for this. I later learnt they were asked to get 30 ‘signatures’. Now they were struggling to get their second. The resignation letter lay where I had pushed it back: in the middle of the table, under the light. I left the room.


On the morning of 31 January 2008, reeling under stress and my annual migraine attack, I had made it to office at 8.30 to find Peter Mukerjea taking the edit meeting which I normally held at 8 am. This was odd, but Peter was, after all, Le Boss. He was the one who had brought in the investors so we could build this great, well-funded English news channel on TV, NewsX.

I joined the meeting and listened distractedly to a long discussion on the importance of being able to connect Congress politics with global warming. After a while, Peter graciously asked me to take over, and we moved to more mundane matters.

As the day wore on, I observed Doofus and (the recently elevated) Dufferdil Dutta leaning over a (single) bedspread-sized Excel sheet with what looked like names on it. Exactly what they were doing, I had no idea. But given that Dufferdil was involved, I knew it could be nothing useful.

Indrani and Peter were meeting a procession of employees; my turn would come, I suspected.


After Big Cheese Editor, I was the first employee of NewsX. This was March 2007, and there was no administration in place. So I signed a contract almost identical to Big Cheese’s—bar some significant changes to the numbers, title and job description!

We operated, initially, out of a guest house in Kailash Colony in Delhi, in whose living room the few people on board used to make calls, create Excel sheets (copiously) and conduct job interviews. This was mid-2007.

Two or three times every month, there would be these ‘Indrani’ meetings. Indrani Mukerjea nee Bora, was Peter’s wife, half of the ‘Power-that-was’ at NewsX, but ever keen to increase her stake.

We would unerringly know about the Indrani meetings before the mail was sent around, because a chap called Vynseley Repeater would come in advance. Repeater did not earn his name for nothing. For decades, wherever there was Pete, there was Repeat: a man who began most of his sentences with: “As Peter said…”

It was impossible to keep a straight face at the meetings. Repeater and related organisms did colourful slide shows on ‘Timelines’, charts they spent most of their time creating and then updating. Nagpal The Innumerate did wonderful revenue projections, using a specially leased projector. The presentations always contained graphs, which, in the first few, were gentle upward slopes—challenging treks. In a matter of months, they had transformed into near vertical faces— features seen only at the bravest heights of rock climbing.

According to Nagpal The Innumerate’s numbers, NewsX was going to be so profitable in about 18 months (or something even more absurd) that everyone in the room, especially Indrani, would make millions. She would nod and smile beatifically, the way levitating sadhvis do when they like what they have seen—or foreseen. Repeater would sum up with his ‘hand on his heart’: “Indrani, this means we’re through in two years!” On this one, I have to hand it to Repeater: he was absolutely right.

Then there were these (mainly exploratory) ‘business trips’ abroad. I would be on some of them, towed along by venture capital and vague suggestions that if we are to be the best, we must at least see the best.

In London, a week was spent visiting various news channel studios. These visits followed a set pattern. We would troop in, occasionally slightly late, be given a guided tour of facilities by someone of commendable patience, and perhaps watch a bulletin in progress.

We would always conclude with a look up at the crowded ceiling of a professional newsroom: the cameras, lights, rails, beams and wires that make the studio look bigger and the anchor look better. This “Eyyyyes... up!” was not a military drill, but Indrani was always the first to look up, and Repeater would follow her immediately, giving it the appearance of one.

She would then ask one of the deep questions of news broadcasting:

“What is duh height?”

“Twenty-nine feet, if I’m not wrong,” our guide would say. (Or something like that—the number isn’t relevant.)

“Hmmmm. (Beatific smile mentioned earlier). I tthot so...”

Months later, as our own studio in Noida was being built near a crossing named after purveyors of paan masala, I heard the question on a number of occasions. No Indrani visit was ever complete without a pensive upward gaze and a “What is duh height?” By this time, of course, the only way I could conceal my laughter was to look down.

Then there were the expats. Apparently, no startup TV station can get anywhere without FDI, or foreign direct involvement. But how/where Thakur (and Thakurain) had enlisted such a ‘Hijron kaa fauj’, I have absolutely no idea. There were guys who landed in India without bothering to find out whether they needed a visa. (Dubey at immigration put them on the next flight back, once Indrani sorted the business class tickets; they were then recalled, business class, after visa formalities were completed.) There were people who landed in Bombay, when they were to attend a meeting in Delhi, and checked themselves into the Oberoi. In general, the expats treated the whole thing as the Palace on Wheels of gravy trains.

The Innumerate once asked me to sort out a largish attempted fraud involving one of them and the UK-India double taxation treaty. ‘Locally engaged’ colleagues told me about the actual price of ‘imported’ camera equipment. And one 1,300-pound-a-week spot boy whom I part supervised (thank God), accused a senior Indian colleague of overcharging him approximately Rs 9 for a delivered dosa. This spot boy (this is what he did before being hired at NewsX) had taken the trouble to re-check the listed price of the dosa after insisting on reimbursing my colleague for his share of a collectively bought lunch. This was the first time he had done research on a story in the time that he had spent with us. However, he had failed to add Vat (about Rs 9) before making the allegation, and was compelled to retract when the dosa outlet gave independent confirmation.

The one man who stood above and apart from all of this was my friend Nick Pollard. Nick was head of Sky News for 10 years. Which meant dealing with Emperor Murdoch. Need I say more?

Drawing on his decades in top-flight news television, Nick would put out these incredibly lucid ‘Pollard Papers’ on how to go about building the channel. Sadly, Big Cheese and I were probably his only readers.

He was also a Liverpool man (rabid to a fault about his team), and favoured plain speech, once calling the inferences of an expensive survey riding on the ‘Palace on Wheels’ “preposterous” during its formal presentation. Trouble was, there was just one Nick.


Back up in my room, I made some calls. Big Cheese said, “You’ve read your contract, just stick to it.” I spoke to Kailash, who was clearing his locker, supervised, and told him what had just happened to me. He wouldn’t stop crying.

Meanwhile, the penny had dropped in the basement. Bhai and gang made their way hurriedly up to where I sat. Bhai accosted me as I was telling Repeater the story of the last half hour.

He addressed Repeater, rather than me: “No further engagement with this man! Take all identity papers and any company property that is with him. Right now! The car. Take the car, that is company property. Remove him from the premises and put up a notice saying he is not to be allowed in, ever!” Man, Bhai was on a roll.

A crucial member of Bhai’s gang wasn’t among the basement lot and now scrambled to join the action. Pradeep Proto-bhai was an assistant of Ajai Bhai, but sported a different look. A stocky man with a crewcut, he had had a cordless mobile phone earpiece surgically attached to his left earlobe. This ornament caused him to give the impression that he was a borderline case who constantly talked to himself. If you conversed with him face-to-face, this notion wasn’t entirely dispelled. He had earned a law degree somewhere, but generally made it clear that his core strengths were mainly in the realm of embedded telecom and the quasi legal.

Led by Proto-bhai, a grinning pack of hyenas (and some confused security guards who had just that morning maaroed the customary salaam) now invaded my cabin to reclaim ‘company property’ and get me to leave.

This was happening in the main newsroom, and the polite-to-a-fault Rajesh Sundaram was around. Rajesh and I had worked together for a very short time, but long enough to figure out two things: that he worked insanely hard, and that there was this other, very different, volatile Rajesh about whom I had only heard.

Rajesh barged into my room, pushing through the pack tugging at my laptop and clothes. A free-for-all was about to ensue. I called for peace. Said all property would be returned, and that I would leave the moment I was given a sack letter. Till then, I was not budging.

Protobhai, defeated, eventually went and got one printed and signed it himself. He probably consulted Bhai and Repeater, but ‘thinking things through’ wasn’t a strong suit with any of these fellows. The letter said nothing about why I’d been fired. Just that I had.

My colleague Narendra Nag was off that day, but he lived close by, and someone had called him about the mess in the newsroom. He arrived in no time, and threw his laptop on Repeater’s sofa. “Here. I believe we are being sacked…” he said, giggling. Repeater, who was in the process of chopping up my company credit card said, “Why just believe? You are being sacked.” He was laughing.

I went down to the studio floor just afterwards to say goodbye to my friends. Repeater and gang followed, arranging themselves in a phalanx behind me. Some colleagues wept, others were stunned. They hadn’t seen anything of the kind before.

Doofus was among those in the phalanx. His goodbye was: “Obhirook. Please, hain, don’t mind. Naathing paarsonal.” (The next day, he summoned an employee in his department to ask why she had wept the previous evening. I thought he got a brilliant response: “Sir, I will cry even when you leave also. When are you leaving?”)

Rajesh, Nag and I left the building. The two of them without even the comfort of a sack letter to cling on to.


I did not know that trouble had started until well after it did. The First Information Report in my head has Indrani pacing up and down the newsroom, calling someone (a middle-level Delhi Policeman), and telling him, through gritted teeth, that the retribution she has in mind will “Make dem regret duh day dey were born”. This was 10 January, about a fortnight before Big Cheese left.

I soon learnt that this had to do with a ‘media’ blogger called ‘K’, well known for slander. This fellow had put out stories and encouraged comments, all anonymous of course, saying things that had caused our madam grievous harm. The posts had less to do with NewsX than with the troubles at the INX Group’s flagship company 9X.

Something that ‘anonymous’ said on 9 January had particularly angered Indrani. A Pakistani drag artist who was given a show on 9X purely because fully made up he closely resembled Indrani, was now going to be dropped, anonymous had gathered.

I have no time for anonymous bloggers. I think they are the same people who send anonymous letters.

I spoke to Indrani briefly after she was done with her phone call. Peter was hovering somewhere closeby. I told them what I knew from experience: that you will sometimes get slandered on the internet by people who you don’t know/don’t care about. That is the nature of the beast. The worst thing to do is to react, by, say, posting some kind of rebuttal or launching an investigation that the blogger might find out about. In a perverse way, this is only treated as one thing in a medium where content is king: more content.

What I did not tell them in any detail is the fact that I had been personally attacked by this ‘K’ on several occasions. And that I knew him. Fairly well, actually.

Several years ago, a friend/colleague mailed me a post about yours truly on K’s blog. Regular journalists like me look for a byline, some form of attribution, or at least a suggestion that someone is taking responsibility for the words posted. There was none.

These were words that just floated around cyberspace and didn’t seem to have a mothership. I cannot say I wasn’t upset. But I was also curious. I read the whole blog over, and within a few minutes, I had some answers.

Of course I knew this ‘K’. He had worked with us at Hindustan Times. In the business section, as a trainee reporter. He would bring me copy that he hoped would make the front page. It did, occasionally, after a rewrite and one recurring spelling correction. K didn’t know how to spell the word ‘definitely’.

“Kushan,” I would say, “when will you give me some copy that doesn’t have a ‘definately’ in it?”

On reading his blog, I figured that my attempts to improve his general level of literacy had definately not worked. Definately was all over the place, like fingerprints.

I have not met Kushan Mitra in many years, but I’m told he still fits, just about, under hominids; a Homo pompous perspiris. I remember him as a somewhat frustrated beta specimen with a thyroid problem. I also remember he had a capacity for gossip (intake/output) that would shame weathered Mah Jong masters (or is that mistresses?). But most of all, he had a misplaced sense of entitlement, and, by extension, immunity. This came from the fact that his dad was a prominent journalist and later Member of Parliament.

Chandan Mitra is also someone I know. He is an acquaintance, rather than a friend, but I have invariably enjoyed his company whenever we have met. I have no political views, so his publicly held ones don’t matter to me. In fact, I have often been entertained listening to him defend them in hostile conditions. This he does with humour and scholarship.

On occasion, when I was at HT, Chandan had even praised my work to friends and colleagues. The few times we spoke, he never once mentioned his son. Kushan, on the other hand, could slip information about his lineage into a conversation about water polo, and usually did.

When I thought I had Sherlocked K’s identity, I went excitedly to my colleague and told him I had it figured. He looked at me with surprise and disgust: “The guy boasts about it wherever he goes. You didn’t know?” Everybody knew.

The smartest thing I did, though, was not post an angry rejoinder on his site. Neither did I make any effort to stop him. I turned away. For who would I sue or pursue? Google? And was it worth it? I advised Indrani to do the same.


At about 5.00 am the next morning, I got a text message from Indrani. It said that she couldn’t sleep—because somebody pretending to be a friend had ‘betrayed’ her, and that she knew who it was. I wondered why such a message should come to me. And why at that hour.

I happened to be awake. Work started at 8 am in those days, and in Noida, an hour-and-a-half’s drive from where I live. I replied saying she should get some sleep. She messaged back instantly. (These text messages were part of this writer’s legal notice to the channel). A rambling, threatening text on a trident of themes: friendship, betrayal and revenge. This was odd, I thought.

At office that morning, I mentioned the message to Repeater. He told me he had received an identical message. When Big Cheese came in, I showed him the text—and he showed me his phone. Same message. Finally, Repeater told me, Peter had got it too! (Repeater did tell the truth on the odd occasion; I checked with Peter.)

So, what was this about now? I was, as I understood it, part of a quartet of suspects, all of whom the accuser knew well, including one who was her husband. One of us was supposedly posting slanderous material on young Mr Mitra’s blog.

The whole gig was becoming surreal.

It went downhill very quickly after this. The Mukerjeas began giving interviews/ planting stories in the press about Big Cheese ‘parting ways’ with NewsX. The place was in ferment. On 14 January, a strange set of ‘news clips’ arrived in the inboxes of senior managers. This was sent out by someone in CMCG India, a company hired by the Mukerjeas to take care of public relations and strategic communication for the group. Their main task, it seemed to me, was to mail these fairly harmless daily roundups of items that everyone had probably read anyway, for internal consumption.

But that morning’s clips were different:

‘Final match for IPL media rights today’, The Economic Times, 14 January

‘Big Cheese Editor falls out with INX?’, DNA, 14 January

‘Yash Raj Films to launch new TV channel’, The Asian Age, 13 January

These headlines were followed by a few links to media websites that also had versions of story number 2. Nick, a little baffled, asked me why a company that was trying to stop the spread of “rumours” would circulate them internally. I said I didn’t know.

A flurry of emails flew back and forth. A concerned investor asked Peter to sort the matter out ‘INTERNALLY!’ (in an otherwise all lower-case email). He also asked the Mukerjeas to consider issuing a joint statement with Big Cheese that would stop all the speculation. Peter’s reply: ‘Relax.’

In about a week’s time, around the third week of January 2008, Big Cheese had made up his mind to leave. He arrived at an amicable settlement. On 29 January, INX issued a ‘parting ways’ press release.

A day later, the entire staff was summoned for a meeting: a formal announcement by Peter on changes and the way forward. Peter began by saying that Big Cheese remained a friend, but then, shifted from clipped English to the heartland trader’s lingo. The parting came, he said, because “Bijness ij bijness”.

The play took a bizarre turn right after this. Indrani grabbed the mike from Peter before he could finish, and gave us a masterly lesson in man management.

“I just wanted to say dis. Over duh last few monts, I have received many anonymous e-mails from people letting me know how things were being mismanaged in dis place. Now we have taken action. I want to thank all dose brave people, who kept me informed. Many of dem anonymously, because dey were afraid of consequences… Let us give deeze bravehearts a big hand!”

I was standing in the first row, facing Indrani, and bit my hand to prevent a laughilepsy attack. Those in the bemused gathering whom she was making eye-contact with obliged her with tentative patter.


Within 36 hours of this, on 31 January, I was sitting in front of Peter and Indrani in Big Cheese’s former office. They asked me what my plans were. Was I going to leave them in the cold? What if Big Cheese made me an offer in the near future?

I don’t really know what they were thinking, or what kind of idiot they thought they were talking to. Just that morning, they had held a series of meetings (without my participation) where they clearly said that I was out, as was anyone seen as loyal to Big Cheese/me. Those in the meetings had let me know the moment they came out. The long Excel sheet that was being prepared in the conference room adjacent my office by Doofus and Dufferdil had the names.

I took the day to read my contract carefully for the first time.

In between, Repeater had made covert contact. He dragged me down to the basement: “Avi... Big Cheese is out. You need to step up to the plate, Avi. We all know you can run this thing. Just let them know you want to… Hand on my heart, leave the rest to me.”

My meeting with the Mukerjeas ended with my saying I left the next steps to them. And that my loyalty to the channel was fairly obvious from the way I had helped build the team and hold it together through a fortnight of turmoil. (“Will we launch at all? Should we look for jobs?”)

Peter said he would need 24 hours to “digest that”. After which we would talk again. Then they were off.

At about five, I received a call from The Innumerate asking if I was free to meet him at 7 that evening: “Some pending budget issues…”

I was to interview someone at 7pm, so I asked him if we could do it right then. His cabin was just two doors from mine. He said “No, no, no, friend!” Okay, I said, let’s say 6 in the evening then. He readily agreed. “Friend, I will call you.”

At just past 6 pm, I got an unexpected, distraught visitor. Kailash Menon, a promising young man we had hired for our auto show. He was weeping.

“Why have they done this to me?” Kailash sobbed, waving a letter at me.

I said: “Calm down man. Who’s done what to you?”

“They made me sign a resignation letter. You had said my work was good…”

“Who made you sign…?”

The phone rang. It was Innumerate. “Avirook, can you come to the basement for our meeting?”

I told Kailash to wait till I was back.


Chhuttan Yadav has been our driver for several years now. At times, he is infuriating: getting fined, getting lost, getting in the ‘cash’ lane when we have a drive-through tag. But my fondness for him matches his intense loyalty to our family.

So when some of Proto-bhai’s underlings (micro-bhais) went down to the parking lot and demanded the keys of the new SUV the company had given me, he told them to buzz off. He had tried to call me, but there were too many micro-bhais, apparently.

Poor Chhuttan, who had no idea what was going on three floors above, had the keys snatched away from him—and received a couple across the face for his brief resistance. He told me later that the blows didn’t matter.

He was more worried about the car—a blue Ford Endeavour, which he loved dearly—and how he would explain a car-jacking from the office parking lot.

I cared about the blows, though. It just wasn’t fair.


On the morning after, I sat on our terrace wondering what to do. My sister-in-law Anjolie, a lawyer (though her thing is disputes between countries), put me in touch with Rajshekhar Rao, whom she knew from law school.

Raj heard me out and said the first step was to send a legal notice. The ‘non-speaking’ sack letter and my contract made for a reasonable case.

Meanwhile, friends had fixed a meeting with the then Information & Broadcasting Minister PR Dasmunshi. NewsX was preparing to go on air, so it had regular dealings with the Ministry. The minister was shocked when he heard about events of the previous night, and he seemed to know a lot more about some aspects of NewsX than we did.

That evening, Indrani, who claimed she only “heard” about the newsroom fracas, wrote me an apology on email. I spoke to Raj the moment I got the mail, thinking it was an admission of wrongdoing. He just said: “They are being advised well.”

But events were moving fast on 1 February. No sooner had I got the mail from Indrani, than there was a statement of condemnation from the I&B minister, chastising the promoters of NewsX, on the wires. The mainstream media, which had followed Big Cheese’s last days at the channel quite keenly, had a new story.

The man handling the press at INX Media, NewsX’s mother company, was a chap called Pavan Chamcha, whose principal job was to plant pictures of Indrani in the media and ensure she was described as the company’s founder. He was foolish enough to engage ‘K’, posting stories that suggested a conspiracy against the Mukerjeas. One of these stories concerned a former colleague of Peter who was also launching a new entertainment channel.

Chamcha called this respected TV pro a “sandwich seller”, publishing his illiterate rants in the blogosphere from a cyber cafe close to the 9X office in Bombay. Then, he would come back and send out gloating emails to senior management that provided hyperlinks to his work.

The management realised what a mess a mail-trail might cause were it to fall in the wrong hands, and had it wiped out. But this was done a few forwards-to-Gmail too late. Chamcha’s work was of irresistible daftness, and just begged to be passed around.

Under formal orders, Chamcha went to work on my reputation, putting out a press statement late in the evening saying that speculation about Mr Sen’s sacking needed to end. He was fired because he was using the company laptop to view pornography.

This was a full day after a sacking letter that said nothing, an apology, and more than 24 hours in possession of a laptop which should have been sealed as evidence the moment I handed it over. The oddest thing was, I received another apology, this time from Peter, after Chamcha put out his statement. What were they thinking?

Nevertheless, I was hit really hard. The next day’s papers carried the statement—without a comment from me. At home, I could explain, but would the other soccer dads I’d meet at my son’s school have read…?

I spoke to Raj. “They’ve gone mad,” he said. “This is great.”


My suddenly-former colleagues kept in regular touch. The office had been turned into a fortress, they said. Security guards paced up and down the newsroom, cameras and microphones were installed everywhere. The editing bays had been shut off, as they were now being used to review CCTV footage of the day of my firing. In the hope that something incriminating, like a puff in a non-smoking area, might turn up? Full blown paranoia had taken over NewsX.

It was time for my legal notice to go out. Raj said he would seek senior lawyer Siddarth Luthra’s advice, at least partly because Siddharth was well versed in media matters.

Siddharth was short and sharp when we met at his Defence Colony office in early February 2008. He said he’d advise Raj on the case.

He then turned to Rajesh, who just happened to have come along (we were all jobless), and said: “What can I do for you Mr Sundaram?”

Rajesh said, softly: “Nothing. I… just got a letter from them saying that they had accepted my resignation.”

“But you didn’t resign!”


Siddharth turned away and called a clerk in. He was done with us. He then began dictating a legal notice on Rajesh’s behalf. It said that it was clear from the acceptance letter NewsX had sent Rajesh that they had forged his resignation letter. (Rajesh hadn’t written one.) It advised them to return the forgery. Should they fail to do this, and try to destroy or deface the forgery, they would be committing a number of serious crimes.

When Ajai Bhai received this notice a few days later, he sent Raj a one word message: ‘Googly’.

He then went into overdrive to settle Rajesh’s matter. (It was eventually settled, though it took its time.)


A month had passed since I’d demanded damages—stubbornly insisting that the car be included as part of any settlement, much to Raj’s amusement. Nothing much had happened apart from counter notices, copies of which were deliberately sent to my parents’ home in Calcutta.

Bhai and Raj met a couple of times, and exchanged telephone calls. Bhai was desperate to clean up the mess that he had created. So there was a series of absurd offers that he conveyed at various stages. ‘We’ll give him three months’ pay’. ‘Okay 6, and that’s final’. ‘Look, this is more than we’ve ever given anyone, but as a special case, we’ll pay him a year’s salary’. And the best one of them all: ‘We’ll pay him for as long as it takes for him to find another job’!

Raj would come back to me with these offers knowing full well what I was going to say. Eventually, Bhai got frustrated and asked him: “What does this guy want, a year’s pay is a lot of money. Doesn’t he need it?” Raj didn’t answer the question directly. He told Bhai: “We’re dealing with a Bangali who just requires cigarettes and occasionally fish curry. That, he’s managing…” (I told Raj this was incorrect. My thing is pork, not fish.)

I met Big Cheese. He said: “Just hang in there. They will have to pay you…”

In his expert dealings, Raj communicated two things to Bhai: that we were serious about taking this as far as we could; and that while they had a large business to run, we had only one agenda—which was to make them pay. Bhai could expect more googlies.

So Raj slipped in the doosra. He told Bhai about Chamcha’s ‘sandwich-seller’ email, for instance, and I think Bhai was vigorously re-rolling his sleeves for the next half hour.

The promises to resolve the matter became a little more sincere after this, but he said the amount in question needed board clearance.

Early one morning in March, when Raj and I were just about done waiting, and ready to take matters to the next level, he found an email sent by Bhai the previous night. It said INX was willing to pay Rs 2 crore. Cash flow problems, however, would mean that the money would come in four equal monthly instalments.

I don’t know if there was a connection, but Bhai developed a large blood clot fairly soon after he hit ‘send’ and had to be hospitalised. By 15 June, he had recovered enough to sit across a table from me once again. Nagpal The Innumerate was there as well, so was Proto-bhai, and a couple of micro-bhais.

We were at the guest house where we’d begun. “Friend, please sign this,” said Innumerate, politely. It was a receipt for the first tranche, a cheque which I inspected for grammatical errors. It was signed ‘I Bora’, Indrani’s maiden name.

I asked about the car. One of the micro-bhais said it was downstairs, and had just been serviced, “insurance, pollution complete” and held out the key. I wouldn’t take it.

He was a little puzzled by this. As we walked down, I smiled and told him: “Give it to the man who you took it from.” Chhuttan Yadav was waiting next to the car, beaming.

By 15 September, my business with NewsX was settled, the last cheque handed over. It was time to go off ‘Looking For America’. I left a week later, spending time doing some research. While reading about the civil rights movement, I found this quote:

‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice’—Martin Luther King Jr.


The channel’s slide that began with Big Cheese’s departure continued after mine. Almost every member of the senior editorial team left within a matter of weeks, as did a whole bunch of talented youngsters. We would call ourselves ‘XNews’. No serious journalists would join, and the channel floundered. In January 2009, while travelling in the US, I heard it had been sold. I wish to clarify that I have cordial relations with the new management, which has begun turning things around, and I wish the channel the very best