Tuesday, July 25, 2006


    A number of times, I have thought of this and refrained from posting it. As I had mailed a close group of friends this was lest it be seen as a sign of an emotional weakness rearing from a casual and jovial demeanor.

    I’d been to SP for a couple of hours last weekend for a rather basic Placom talk and since then I’ve been on a rather different plane altogether. What affected me was probably having seen the juniors’ AKB video and them orienting the batch of 2007. There’s very little, I can compare that feeling of thrill and excitement of being in Second Year at SPJIMR. There’s nothing, absolutely nothing in my life that can ever equal that. And for me, if you’ve never been at SP, you’ve lost out on an education unparalleled, unseen and unfathomable.

    Something about the place is mesmerizing. The languid feel of the place cocktailed with the dichotomy of the hurried sense of being at the Bistro is near inexplicable. I think even a Salman Rushdie, if he were an SP alumni would struggle to capture the intangibles of being at SP. And then there’s something about being from an SP family that only another SP member can relate to. Given the fact that our institute’s been around for less than 23 years there are so few SP alumni around in the industry anyway that only a select counted children of a higher God can relate to Dome – I, Audi, Bistro or a baby named AKB.

    And as I recollect those images again from the video I was given by our juniors, I’m on that plane when logic gives way to emotion, disinclination gives way to camaraderie and fun gives way to sheer nostalgic ecstasy. And while I do keep kicking hard at that air of nostalgia that engulfs me, it is one hell of a ride!

    Simply put, proud, bloody proud to be an SPJIMR thoroughbred! :-)

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

News is that!

    For over a month now, I’ve been an employee of a leading player in the print media landscape in India. Having observed from close quarters, an industry that thrives on news every single minute of the day, here are my top ten reflections from the industry I depend on for my daily bread. (…and butter and jam and the occasional sandwich!)

    1. Being in the newspaper industry isn’t just as glamorous as it seems. It’s just that bit more you never thought of. Suddenly Vir Sanghvi, Mrinal Pandey and Farhad Wadia become your bosses and you also get to flaunt that ‘PRESS’ sticker on your car.

    2. It’s okay not to be entirely committed to it. As long as you are okay fiddling with news you can get away with a lot of things. E.g. the landmark Bombay Times, the trendy HT Style and the challenger in DNA After Hours.

    3. Working for a newspaper is like playing a One Day Series. The catch being you never get to choose whether you want to play a day game or a day and night game. You just play along!

    4. It is the only industry that makes money between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.

    5. It’s the antithesis of the wine industry. You want the newspaper served the moment it’s distilled.

    6. Selling more and more units of papers in this industry is like risking your life every time you have sex with a new woman. It just about feels right but the more you sell, the more you lose on every paper.

    7. This goes without saying but you are unlikely to be considered fit for the editorial team unless you have an unshaven look, can smoke and sport a low waist rugged jeans without a belt.

    8. There are some news that can’t be bought. For everything else there’s a Page 3 in ToI. Actually I'm being kind here ; you could have their editorial space too!

    9. Most days I love my job. The days I don’t, I love flirting with it.

    10. I’m running out of ideas. Help! :-D

    These are the best of times for newspapers because being challenged across media means that the newspapers have to pull up their socks every single day to stay ahead of the net, TV and digital forms of media. These are also the worst of times for that very reason. Either way, two years from today newspapers will never be the same.

    Now, that’s fairly exciting! :-)

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News is that!

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006


    Something’s moved me immensely and it’s a train of unconnected thoughts. I was winding my day at the HT office at Mahim when a non-descript gentleman at the office declared that there had been a blast at Khar Station. While people were just reacting to that, another voice boomed, “Blast at Mahim too. It’s serial!”

    And before we even knew we were rushing upstairs to the Editorial floor. It was on Television. 4 blasts had rocked the western line of local trains ripping through the heart of Mumbai. Anywhere in the world such news would be depressing but watching the events unfold on television monitors on the editorial floor of Mumbai’s HT office was nothing less than spine-chilling. After this, I don’t know when exactly this evening, I felt disconnected from everything else.

    Myself and my colleague walked the distance from Mahim(W) till our Bandra Guest House and in between I spoke to my dad disinterestedly and lost my temper with my colleague on a discussion that on an average day would have been settled in my favor without any recourse to high tempers.

    The events that followed touched me deeply simply because the worst one can feel in life is when he/she is completely helpless in controlling things surrounding him/her. People at office frantically trying to reach their loved ones, the Editor telling a reporter “Find out whether people jumped off or if there was a fire…” and the bubbly girl, with a bag around her shoulders nodding with a smile and walking out (while news of only 4 blasts had poured in) or the sirens of the ambulances on our way back, everything had a forbiddingly grim sense about it.

    It set me thinking a bit about a lot of things and I cannot help but stay perplexed at the motives of those people who engineer such pusillanimous acts. What exactly must be their reaction to all of this? Do they feel vindicated? Or are they plain happy? Are they celebrating their success of giving 198 innocent souls a horrific end to their ordinary lives?

    I went out for a walk at 11 this night and in my more than 2 years of knowing Mumbai; I’d never ambled through a quieter time in this city.

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Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Travelling Mist

    She stood there.
    And he thought to himself, “She’d be one hell of a woman to make out with…”

    She looked familiar but he also knew of this theory he used to console himself with. If you kept staring at a girl, she would seem familiar in no time. For that matter Sameer also knew that if you kept staring at a girl, it would also seem that she’s staring at you. Nevertheless, in this case it was only Sameer who was gaping at the lady.

    He’d nearly finished his daily dose of business news in the Metro. He must’ve been so engrossed in devouring those stock market tips in the paper that he didn’t even notice when and where she got into the train. His was a daily 52 minutes ride from Dwarka Sector 14 to Barakhamba Road and all he did every day travelling in this train was to finish off his newspaper for the day. He quite preferred it that way. Morning would be such a mess with Sarika, both racing with each other to beat the clock to get out for work.

    Both of them had a rather small courtship period before deciding to tie the knot. It’d been less than two years but they sure weren’t bored of each other as yet.
    Marriage seemed to be turning out fine, he was finding out. But right now, one and only one thing caught his attention. And she stood tall and effortlessly stylish.

    Wearing a white top and a pair of blue capris she seemed nothing less than an absolutely sizzling celebrity. Perhaps, a Keira Knightley or a Kirsten Dunst. She was resting her shoulders against the corner of one of those compact compartments. Her tall legs were crossed with her left ankle resting against the shin of her right leg.

    For a moment he was reminded of Jessica , his college sweetheart. She had much shorter hair though. They went around for probably less than a year but it definitely was the most memorable of all his flings. It used to be disturbingly passionate during those nights. Sometimes Jessica wouldn’t even give Sameer a moment to breathe. And as they reached a crescendo she would whisper ever so softly in his ears…
    “Sam, are you happy with me?”
    And often the answer to that question would be only another spell of silence accentuated by another of those frequent lip locks. He could’ve gazed at her for ages and listened to her for eternity.
    What a pity that the light of day had to follow every such night!

    He returned back to the present as the train halted at Rajiv Chowk. Even as he kept staring at this gorgeous masterpiece every five seconds, he could guess she was engaged or committed to someone. Sameer used to study body language as a hobby and he thought she was giving it all away in the way she was talking over her cell. It was a Motorazr. He could see her smile behind the flap of the cell, which would occasionally hide her luscious lips.

    Must be her boyfriend. Maybe they are meeting at CP.

    Sameer had no such luck. Being the Creative Director gave him little choice but to set an example to everyone at his office by being dot on time at 10.

    Today, unusually though, the train wasn’t crowded to the hilt. Yet he’d to really struggle to see her. He was making some serious effort in craning his neck but smiling to himself, he wasn’t quite complaining.

    “Damn, I still can’t see her”, he muttered to himself. If he were in college he would have at least given her his phone number. It never hurt him back then. On the contrary it used to turn out quite well. Now he even had a dashing business card.

    Alas! As expected he alighted at Barakhamba and he couldn’t sight his morning Goddess anywhere. That’s the last I’ve seen of that stunning dame, he sighed. He dumped his token card and was thinking of his fussy client he’d to speak to in ten minutes from now.

    Just then, someone tapped his shoulder. It was a lady. She looked familiar. He saw the Motorazr and he knew it was she.

    Something was even more strikingly familiar. Then it occurred.

    She spoke smilingly, “ Sam, Remember me? "

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Travelling Mist

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