Thursday, January 26, 2012

Anything for you, Baby!

(Divya announced a Tell a Tale contest in her site. She gave the starting lines of a story. The readers were asked to complete the story. I was hesitant to participate; scared to take the challenge. Got some encouragement from her. The result is....)

Starting lines given by Divya:

“Coffeeee!! Teaa!!”
“Coffeeee!! Teaa!!”
The vendor called out as he passed the coupe.
The baby fell on its knee trying to walk across to his mother.
The mother ran to pick up the child and is busy placating him.
Ravishing young lady sat across him checking her flock of hair in the mirror of her mini clutch bag.
The chatter from the group of young boys engrossed in a card game relayed from above.
The train had halted at Varnasi for 15 mins. He hadn’t moved or uttered a word from the time he got on.
The newspaper covered Sanjay’s face; his eyes peered through his bi-focal spectacles and his hair rested neatly combed sideways.
A pencil in his hand was losing his grip

This is how it proceeds...

15 more minutes for the train to start!

Sanjay was getting restless. The tea vendor winked at him as he passed the coupe. That was a signal- arrangements for his escape have been done. Sanjay dropped the pencil to indicate that he had done his job well.

His job?

He had placed his suitcase containing RDX beneath his seat and chained it. A small remote control device was waiting patiently in his pant pocket.

Once the train starts, he would disembark coolly and press the remote.

How else would Sanjay’s group teach a lesson to the opposition party? Just for winning the elections in UP, it had promised reservation for minorities. The party had to be taught a lesson.

What better place to teach the lesson than Varanasi!

10 more minutes!

Archana was looking into the mirror of her mini clutch bag and applying lipstick. ‘Beautiful! Dashing!’ She complimented herself.

But then reality sunk in.

‘Why are you doing this Archu? You’re going to die in the next half an hour. What’s the need for make up? Do you want tomorrow’s newspapers to describe you as ‘beautiful young lady’ while reporting your death?’

Tears rolled down her eyes.

‘Why did you do this to me, Rohan?’

After two years’ of relationship, Rohan ditched her to marry a girl of his parents’ choice. Reason? She was an orphan and that was not acceptable to his orthodox parents. She was pleading with his parents in the morning. Rohan remained a mute spectator. He did not utter a word in her support.

She felt something breaking inside her. Spineless, selfish Rohan! She walked out of his house. On the way to the railway station, she bought rat poison.
She had a good job; she was financially independent. But there was no desire to live.  

Why should she live? After the train starts she would go to the toilet and consume the rat poison. To be sure that no one tries to save her life she would jump out of the running train.

5 more minutes.

The three teenagers who were playing cards in the upper berth got down. They were college dropouts and members of a naxal group which operated from interior UP. While two of them walked towards the toilet, Puneet, the team leader stayed back.

Enough of fun.  Enough of trying to be casual. He was fuming. The UP government had arrested Ranjan, his leader the previous week .  Puneet was given the responsibility to secure Ranjan’s release.

After the train starts they would close all the doors and the pathways to the adjacent compartments. They would stop the train about 10 kms away from 
Varanasi. They had machine guns with them.  They would hold the passengers as hostages and start the negotiation with the government for the release of Ranjan.

With elections round the corner, the government would not dare to reject their demand.

4 more minutes. 

Sanjay  felt a soft hand touching his feet. He bent down to see the baby. He smiled and took it in his arms. He looked around for the baby’s mother. She was not to be seen. She was there a couple of minutes earlier.

Where did she go? 

He was getting restless.

3 more minutes.

He had to act. What to do with the baby?

“ha..ha…ha…..” The baby was playing with his moustache.

Innocent laughing face of the child! He forgot himself, his mission for a minute. Would his son Ajay be of the age of this baby? When did he see Ajay last? 3 months back? Would he be laughing like this baby? He felt some pain in stomach.

The baby pissed on his shirt.

He looked at Puneet who took the baby from his arm. Sanjay wiped his shirt with his kerchief.

2 more minutes.

When Puneet looked around for the child’s mother, he noticed a letter sticking out of the baby’s shirt pocket.

He looked at Archana who took the letter out and started reading aloud.

‘He is my baby. His father, my lover has deserted me. I have neither the will nor the resources to bring him up. I am ending my life. Whoever gets this letter, please take care of my son. Payal’

The baby circled his neck with his hands and kissed on his left cheek.

One more minute.

Vendors were getting out. Last minutes passengers were boarding.

‘If I take the passengers into hostage, I will take this baby also. Will it stand the prolonged negotiations with the government? Is Ranjan’s release worth it?’ thought Puneet.

‘If I blow up the train, will this baby also not die? If someone is irresponsible and reserves some seats for minorities, why should this baby die? Is it worth?’ doubted Sanjay.

‘I was wondering why I should live. I have found the reason. I do not want this child to be an orphan like me. I’ll bring him up,’ decided Archana.

All the three looked at one another.

They sat down in their respective seats.

The train started, so also a new chapter in their lives.

My Tags:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Bosses


Standing in the balcony of Harpreet’s house, we watched the Jet Airways aircraft rising in the sky and celebrated the same with the clinking of our glasses.

We? My colleagues Harpreet, Atul, Arvind and I. We were senior employees- General Managers and Vice Presidents! We were working in a pharmaceutical company in Ahmedabad.

Celebration? Yes. My boss, the MD of the company was leaving for US for 15 days. We were celebrating the same. Since he was going to be away for 15 days, we had organized the party on a grand scale and it continued till 1 o’clock in the night. 
Celebrations for shorter periods of absence were done on a more humble scale. For example when he went out for a meeting for a couple of hours, we used to celebrate in the lassi ka dukkan off CG Road. His day trip to Mumbai warranted a lunch at Restaurant Mirch Masala.

Was boss’s absence such a big deal?

Yes, it was. Consider the following.

“Hariharan, we need to go to Ankleshwar factory tomorrow. I’ll send the car to your house at 2.”

“Sure sir. I will go home for lunch at 1 and will wait for your car there.”

“I meant 2 in the morning (!!!). We will reach Ankleshwar at 6, when the first shift starts.”

When the car came to pick me up at the auspicious time of 2 in the morning, I saw Ramparasad and Nagarajan in the back seat. I was heading the Bulk Drug business of the Company. Ramprasad was in charge of production at Ankleshwar plant and Nagarajan was the Research Head. We smiled at our fate and went to boss’s house to pick him up.

Once in the car, my boss started discussing the plan for scaling up a new molecule. I had to take minutes of the meeting- in the car at 2.30 in the night!

“Choksi, why are the margins of oncology products so low compared to the budget?” That was my boss questioning the Head of Finance during a monthly performance review meeting. The meeting was at the Dholka Factory which was 25 kms away from Ahmedabad.

“I have a product-wise analysis. Unfortunately the file is in Corporate Office, Ahmedabad.”

“Then go and get it.” It was 9 o’ clock in the night. We were all hoping that the meeting would end in the next half an hour and we would be leaving for home. We had been reviewing the performance of the previous month since 8 in the morning.
At 9 in the night, my boss was telling Choksi to go all the way to Ahmedabad to bring a file!

Did the absence of such boss for 15 days not call for celebration?

He was not an odd boss out. Consider my earlier boss.

“What is this Hariharan? How could you do this?” My boss at the multinational pharmaceutical company in Bombay (It was called so those days) was looking at me in utter disbelief.

I had joined the company just a month earlier. It was the first week of July. You must be knowing how it rains in June-July in Bombay.

What was my crime?

I was wearing a brown shirt, blue pant, red tie and a chappal! ( I just needed a white rimmed sun glass to be a Govinda in a David Dhawan movie!) 

“It has been raining for a week now….all my clothes are wet….only these were dry….wearing leather shoe in a rainy day…..” I was not able to talk coherently.

“You go back home, change and come,” was the curt reply of my boss.

Going back? I lived in Dombivili and my office was in Ballard Estate. For those who do not know Mumbai, it is a distance of 60 kms.

“If I go back, I may not be able to return before evening sir.”

“Then don’t come back.”

We were standing in the Administration hall where 15-20 of my colleagues were staring at us, listening to our conversation.

Till then I had never felt so low in life.

One more of my bosses.

“Sir, I am getting married on Jul 3. Sunday. Please do come.” I extended the invitation to my boss who was the General Manager of Madras Region of a private sector bank.

My boss had a quick glance at the invitation and said,” Fine. Fine. But remember. You are resuming duty on Tuesday. We have a Board Meeting on Wednesday and we have 9 credit proposals.”

That was the response when I extended my marriage invitation.

None of my colleagues attended my marriage. Reason? They were called to office on Sunday to prepare for the Board Meeting.

Of course I have a boss now who is quite considerate. When I was working in Ahmedabad, I was desperately looking for another job. (What else would I do with a boss like him?) I applied to a Tanaznian Company. The MD and HR Director flew down to Bombay to interview the candidates. I was also called for the interview.

The day prior to the interview, my boss told me he would like to discuss the 3 year plan of Bulk Drug business with me the next day.

‘My God! How do I go to Bombay for the interview?’ I did not want to miss the interview. I called the MD of the Tanzanian Company who would be conducting my interview and informed him of my problem. He was cool. He told me to discuss the 3 year plan with my boss and catch the evening flight to Bombay. He would meet me at 8 in the night at Little Italy Restaurant, Juhu Tara Road, Bombay.

I attended the 3 year plan review. As usual the meeting continued well beyond office hours. When I came out of the meeting it was 8.30 in the night. I missed my flight. I called the interviewer and apologized. He said he was leaving India the next morning and would meet me anytime if only I could somehow make it.

My colleague told me that there was an Air India flight which came from Muscat to Ahmedabad at 9.30 in the night and left for Bombay at 10.30. I could go to the Airport and buy the ticket.

I landed at Bombay airport at 11.30 in the night. The HR Director of the Tanzanian Company had come to the Airport to receive me. He drove me to Little Italy Restaurant.

The MD interviewed me at 1 in the night! He was satisfied with me. He and the HR Director took me to their hotel. The HR Director printed my appointment letter in the Business Centre of the Hotel and the MD signed it at 3.30 in the morning!

They took a cab to International Airport and I took one to Domestic Airport.

It is 11 years now since I joined the Company- longest stint in my career. Through that one incident, one gesture my current boss has bought my loyalty forever.

PS: The tougher bosses were of course good paymasters- good pay rise ever year, furnished accommodation, luxury car, etc., though my friends called the same ‘Insult Allowance’.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Yeh mera bas ki baat nahi hi!

A few years back we went to Satyam theatre. It was a Saturday evening. We wanted to see Ramana, a Tamil movie. We could not get the tickets. Also tickets for almost all the other shows had been sold out. Only ‘Die another day’ was available.

English movie. I hesitated. I do not understand the accent of the English actors nor do my family.

“It’s a James Bond movie….full of action….no problem, if you don’t understand their English….” The guy at the counter was selling multi-million dollar James Bond movie to me!

Having come all the way to the theatre, we did not want to go back home. We bought the tickets.

Half an hour into the movie, Eshwar my younger son asked the most embarrassing question. “Appa…who is the goodie? And who is the baddie in the movie?”

That was the question I was struggling to find answer for. There was an English guy. There were a couple of Koren guys. I decided that since it was an English movie, the white must be the hero, the goodie. But then he was captured and tortured. ‘No, he cannot be the goodie.’

How about their looks? Conventional wisdom was that goodie generally looked smart and baddie looked horrible. But everyone looked smart in the movie.

Tamil movies in the olden days made this task easier. The baddie (Manohar, Nambiar, etc) will be wearing a lungi, will sport a thick moustache, a black mole on the cheek, unkempt curly hair. In the later day movies, though the baddies started looking smarter, there were some actors earmarked for villain roles- Satyaraj, Prakash Raj. Still later when villains like Satyaraj graduated to goodie roles and proved a baddie in the box office, it became difficult to identify goodies and baddies in Tamil movies unless one knew the language.

Sameer Kakkar, my Punjabi friend gave me an easy solution when I started watching Hindi movies. “The oldest guy will be the goodie, the hero…..say Sharukh Khan, Aamir Khan…”

Good formula. When I applied the formula to Tamil movies, it worked very well. “Kamal Hassan…Rajinikanth….Vijaykanth….”

I did not have any such formula for English movies. So I smartly avoided the problem and said to my son “Shshsh….you should not talk in the movie hall….will disturb others….”

After a few minutes, when everyone in the theatre laughed for a scene, Krishna, my elder son asked why they were laughing. Someone must have said something humorous! I changed seats with my wife to avoid questions from Krishna!

My sons regarded me as an ‘all knower’. I did not want to lose the image.

I started watching English movies with English subtitles- in HBO, Sony Pix, Star Movies. I motivated myself that if I watched more and more movies with subtitles, I would, over a period of time, start understanding English movies without subtitles.

But the subtitles moved very fast. Many times while reading the subtitle, I would miss the action on the screen. My wife would bring coffee. But I could not take, for I would lose the subtitle while sipping the coffee. After watching a movie, I would feel tired as if I had given a tough mathematics exam.

I would have seen 20-30 films like this, but I was nowhere close to understanding a movie without the help of subtitles.

Then I decided to watch English movies and later corroborate the same by watching the Tamil version of the movie. But when I heard Tom Cruise and Arnold Schwarzenegger saying “Enna machi….”, “Dei….mokkai podathe..”, I decided to drop the idea.

By this time my sons had understood that I was no longer the ‘all knower’. They sympathized with me. Krishna suggested that many of the English movies are made from English novels. So if read the novel first, it would be easier for me to understand the movie later. He suggested ‘The Da vinci Code’ for me. It took me one month to read and understand the book. When I watched the movie, I understood the same. But it was like preparing for CA final examination- one month preparation for one movie! I could not afford that.

Watching English movies…..lag ta hi, yeh mera bas ki baatnahi hai!

PS: Recently I read a post by Deepak Karthik on the pursuitof Happyness. He quotes dialogues from the movie! Boss, tell me the secret!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Quota for....

This caste or that group; this religion or that community. We have been hearing for years now. Recently the Congress party promised reservation for minorities while campaigning in UP.  Mid last year Jayalalithaa government in Tamilnadu ordered the continuation of 69% reservation without excluding creamylayer.  Earlier Andhra government’s decision to provide for reservation for minorities had been challenged in the court.

I know that this issue is sensitive. Opinion is sharply divided. You argue for it- you are a progressive, secularist. You argue against it- you are a high caste, ‘merit monger’. Each side is so intransigent that it does not want to listen to the other; it does not want to see the facts. Consequently the quality of debate has deteriorated to just pointless rhetoric.

Any debate on reservation revolves around two aspects viz. a) the historical facts which compelled the introduction of quotas and b) the legal, constitutional provisions and intentions of the framers of the constitution.

There is a broad agreement on historical facts- certain groups/ classes were oppressed, were denied opportunities for many decades;  these groups cannot compete with the privileged groups; these groups need to be equipped, trained to face competition; till that time they need to be given preferential treatment.

But the acrimonious debate is over the constitutional provisions. Listening to these arguments, I wonder whether there is any balanced, unbiased and objective opinion on this issue. There are castes and religions which are beneficiaries of the quota system. Then there are castes and groups which are left out but are hopeful of inclusion at a later installment. Finally there are those who have no hope of reaping any benefits from reservation. Each of these groups views the constitutional provisions and court judgments through the prism of convenience.

Not to be left out, jurists, journalists and sociologists jump into the fray and advance by far the most ludicrous theories- to exhibit their intellectual superiority, they read too much into the provisions, see far beyond the obvious.

As a consequence, the commoners who listen to the debates and who read columns in newspapers get confused.

If after all the above, I give my opinion on the issue, I am sure it will add one more dimension to your confusion. Hence let me suggest the following. Let me give a set of simple questions. Google and find answers to them. Avoid TV debates till you find answers.

  • What do articles 15, 16, 46 and 335 of the constitution provide? (All the 4 articles together will not be more than 200 words.) 
  • What are the classes/ groups entitled to reservations under the constitution? What is the difference between castes and classes? 
  • Which educational institutions are required to provide reservations- Govt. run or Govt. aided or Govt. recognized? 
  • While there is reservation in appointments, is there reservation in promotions? 
  • If the reserved seats are not filled in a year, what happens to the unfilled positions? 
  • Who were Champakam Durairajan, M R Balaji, K C Vasantha Kumar, Indra Sawhney and Ashok Kumar Thakur and how did they influence reservations? 
  • What is Schedule IX to the constitution and how is it used in connection with reservations?

Believe me. You will reach objective conclusion.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Journalist Chapter-3

Vidya woke up early the next morning and got ready. She called up Senthil, the channel’s senior cameraman in Chennai and asked him to be ready for travel.

She was pacing up and down the hall when Anand was getting ready to leave for the hospital. Looking at her restlessness, he felt pity.

He had already explained to her that politicians would be starting their day very late. Further it was election time. Durai would have concluded his campaign very late the previous night. He would not be meeting his personal assistant before 11 am. She had no option but to wait.

Anand said he would call the PA after 11 and let her know of Durai’s decision.

11 am. Anand called her and said that Durai had not yet met the PA.

Uma was going to Spencers to buy provisions. Whether Vidya would like to go with her? Vidya declined.

12 noon. Durai was meeting alliance partners and discussing the election strategy. PA could not disturb him.

Uma returned. Dhobi came in to collect the clothes.

1.30 pm. Durai was having lunch with his father, mother and sister. Again 
PA should not disturb him.

Gautham Shah, editor-in-chief of her channel called to find out the progress, if any.

2.30 pm. Durai was leaving for the Election Commission office to lodge a complaint against the malpractices of TDK.
Anand returned from hospital for lunch. All three of them had lunch.

4.00 pm. Rathinam and Durai were holding a press meet.

Senthil called her to find out when they would be travelling.
Anand slept for half an hour. He left for the hospital at 5.30 pm.

6.00 pm. Durai was leaving for addressing a public meeting in Saidapet.

Vidya was losing hope. Possibility of failure again loomed large in front of her. The whole evening would go in public meeting. ‘What kind of PA he is! He is not able to meet his boss even once since morning. Is he going to get her the permission?’

Senthil called her again.

Her cell phone rang at 9.00 pm. It was not Anand’s number. She was not in a mood to talk to anyone else. She did not pick up.

It rang again. She did not pick up.

Again…She was irritated. She picked up. “Hello…” She barked.

“Hello….This is Durai Rathinam. Is it Vidya?”

Vidya and Senthil took the first flight to Trichy the next morning. When Durai called her the previous night at 9 o’clock, he more than made up for the wait. His PA had told him in the afternoon that she would like to accompany him during the campaign. Other politicians in the state were reluctant to take her with them. When his PA reminded him a couple of times in the evening, Durai asked him to get her number from Anand so that he could talk to her directly.

Durai was seated in the first row in Business Class along with Manimaran, the Trichy MLA.

The flight landed at Trichy at 7 am.  There were about 1,000 party workers outside the airport to welcome him.

Go back to Chapter 2          Read all chapters          Take me to Chapter 4 

(The above is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.)                    

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Journalist Chapter-2

Elections to the Tamilnadu State Assembly had been announced. Vidya flew down to Chennai in the last week of March, 2011 to cover the campaign trail of senior politicians.

However TN politicians were a different lot compared to the Delhi ones- members of opposing parties do not see eye to eye; participating in TV debates is simply not done.

Every party in Tamilnadu had its own TV channel which showered undiluted praise on its leaders. When their own channels could reach the people in rural areas in Tamil with positive news about them, why would they want a journalist from a national TV sitting on their neck throughout the day and asking uncomfortable questions?  Also most of the leaders were not comfortable with English. So her request to cover their campaign was turned down by virtually all parties and all leaders.

India Times’ Chennai reporter tried through all his contacts, but could not manage to get permission for Vidya to accompany any politician worth the name in his campaign trip. Her other contacts in Chennai’s journalistic circles were also not of much use.  

She had always stunned the media with unbelievable interviews. When other reporters were satisfied with Musharraf and Zardari, she surprised the Indian media with an interview with General Kayani. She was the first reporter from India to interview the late Colonel Gaddafi. She had interviewed Prabhakaran a few days prior to his death! And here in TN, she is unable to get any politician.

“Egoistic idiots!” Vidya was pouring out her frustration to Uma, her childhood friend.

Vidya and Uma studied together in Mumbai. After graduation when Vidya went to US to pursue journalism, Uma married Dr. Anand and settled in Chennai. Anand was the head of nephrology department in Apollo Hospital.

They were sitting in the balcony of Uma’s R.A. Puram flat facing Greenways Road and having their evening tea. Across the road were the bungalows of Ministers of the ruling TDK-Tamizh Desiya Kazhagam  (Tamil National Party). Elections on April 13 would decide whether they would continue to occupy those government quarters or they would have to vacate.

Anand was sipping his tea and listening to Vidya’s grouse for the past half an hour. She was planning to return to Mumbai the next day as her trip had flopped. Her first and major failure in the past 5 years and she could not stand that!

“Vidya…wait…wait…I think I can help. One of my patients is a personal assistant to Durai Rathinam. He has been with Durai for the past 15 years and is really close to him…I can try through him…” Anand volunteered, though tentatively.

Her face lit up. Durai was the youth wing leader of the UTK- Uyarum Tamizhar Kazhagam (Rising Tamils’ Party) - the main opposition party. His father Rathinam was the President. Durai was being viewed as the future face of UTK. With a management degree from Harvard and engineering degree from IIT, people of Tamilnadu felt that he would be the best to lead the State in future.

UTK had brought all the opposition parties together and forged a strong electoral alliance. Durai was credited with forging that strong alliance. Most of the pre-election surveys had predicted that the UTK led alliance would sweep the polls, capturing 170-180 seats out of the total 234.
There were serious allegations of corruption and land grabbing against the ruling TDK’s leader and Chief Minister Ponnusamy, his family members and cabinet colleagues and the popular perception was that the party would face a rout.

It was not that UTK was a clean party. They faced corruption allegations five years back and lost the 2006 elections. In Tamilnadu politics recent corruption is more unpardonable than old corruption!

“Wow…that would be great…” Vidya was ecstatic.

She made Anand call his patient immediately. After some persuasion, the guy said he would talk to Durai and let them know the result the next day.

A night of restless wait...

Go back to Chapter 1                    Read all Chapters                            Take me Chapter 3                                  

 (This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Journalist Chapter-1

“I need some more time….,” said a hesitant Vidya. The infinite rehearsals that she had been having over the past 2 days did not come to her rescue. Nervously she looked at his face.

She could see a flicker of disappointment swiftly passing through Durai Rathinam’s face. A trained politician that Durai was, he suppressed his disappointment in no time and regained his calm. He took a sip from the glass of water, before answering.

“I understand…Take your time. We can meet again…if you think it will help you take a decision….”

It was 9 o’clock on a Saturday night. They were sitting in an open air restaurant in ECR, Chennai. The restaurant had ensured absolute privacy for them. There was no one else in the pool side but the two of them.

After all, Durai was the Finance and Power Minister of Tamil Nadu and the son of the Chief Minister. Everyone was expecting that the CM would soon pass on the mantle to Durai. The restaurant would not like to lose a chance to please him, even if it meant foregoing the week end crowd.

Vidya rose abruptly from her seat indicating her desire to leave. A cool and composed Durai caught her by her hand and gently pushed her back to her seat.

“O..ho…Vidhu…we can finish the dessert and leave. It’s not that some coalition talks have failed and one party is walking out in protest…” He was smiling as if nothing had happened. She cursed herself. He was right. Why did she get up?

She viewed him from the corner of her eyes while tasting the ice cream. He must be around forty; 14-15 years elder to her; tall, dark, well built. For a change he was in T Shirt and jeans which showed him much younger. But for the thinning hair, one would easily put his age at 30.

After the dessert, he led her to the car. A pilot car was leading them and another one was following - the bare minimum security without which the DGP would not allow him to travel. He was driving the car himself. He started talking about his job, its pressures, and his party, frequently asking her views on certain issues. He was normal. She was not.

Durai had proposed to her two days earlier. She was supposed to give an answer that night. Everyone back home was waiting anxiously to hear her decision. Kaveri, her mother wanted her to reject the proposal outright while Chidhambaram, her father had left the decision to her. Younger sister Archana advised her to listen to her heart- a typical Hindi serial kind of advice. Uma, her friend was the vociferous of all; she had been advising Vidya for the past two days to say ‘no’.

Vidya has not been able to decide.

Vidya is a popular anchor in the Mumbai based national news channel, India Times TV. She was very good in academics and Chidambaram had given her the best education. When she wanted to do journalism, he sent her to the Graduate School of Journalism, Berkeley. After passing out from there, she joined the channel as a reporter in 2006. She worked her way up. At 26, she is one of the most watched anchors of electronic media. Her prime time debate, ‘My take’ is a TRP topper. Millions watched the programme to know her take on various issues plaguing the nation.

And here she is, unable to decide on the most important question of her life!

Read all chapters                                                                                       go to Chapter 2

(The above is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012



My first novel! A few followers of my blog enquired why I had not been writing for a while. The answer is: I have been working on this novel for the past one month.

When I searched the net for Indian blogs devoted to novels, I did not find many. May be, a blog is not an appropriate medium for publishing novels.  Nevertheless I decided to experiment. I intend to publish this novel through my blog. The novel runs into 60 chapters of 600-700 words each. I plan to publish one chapter every alternate day.

Politics and media are the two fields that attract me. The novel obviously revolves around these two spheres.

Vidya is a young, popular anchor in an English News Channel. She falls in love with Durai Rathinam, the son of the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu and a 
minister in Tamilnadu’s cabinet.

Durai is 40+, married and has a son who is 14 years old.

How does Durai’s wife react to their love story? Do Durai’s parents agree to his marriage? What about Vidya’s parents? Do they agree? Does Vidya succeed in marrying him?

When Vidya notices instances of massive corruption in the Tamilnadu Government, is she able to investigate and report the same? Is any pressure brought on her? Does she succumb to the pressure?

Does this marriage compromise her position, her independence as a journalist?

Rahul Jain, a fellow anchor leaves the Channel and becomes the Editor-in-Chief of a rival channel. Rahul’s progress thereafter is phenomenal. Is Vidya able to take Rahul’s growth in the right spirit? Does the competition with Rahul influence some of her decisions?

As always my wife went through the first few chapters and encouraged me to write further.

Now I am looking for your views, comments and support.

See all Chapters                                                                                Take me to Chapter 1