The panelists on the show were author and columnist Shobhaa De (her book, Superstar India released yesterday), the ad man with the mouth Alyque Padamsee, editor Screen Bhavna Somayaa, journalist and blogger Sonia Faleiro and yours truly. The fun bit was that I was the second choice for the show and a reluctant one since our channel does not believe in promoting in-house people. Was the debate worth it and did it really reach any conclusions? I will leave you to make those conclusions once you see the show (and if I am able to put up a video link for you). I am not too sure of how much of what I’ve said will be kept on air since I was one of the least known of the panelists. But what I can tell you is that I quite enjoyed finally meeting Shobhaa and Alyque, the latter since I have quoted him a few times in features I have done over the years and Shobhaa because… Aha. An anecdote.
First year of college – was studying journalism at the illustrious (or so I thought!) Lady Shri Ram College for Women – and one of the first writing assignments our class of 22 was given was to pen our thoughts on the man of our dreams. Most members of my class had fumed at the topic, after all this was the generation of female liberation, this was the college which apparently bred feminists in every corner of its red bricked walls and here we were being asked to write about our dream man. As if women only thought about men, horror, shudder. I don’t remember what the other chicks wrote, but my piece was titled, ‘My knight in a shining BMW’. That definitely was not my dream man but it sure was a fun way to heckle the righteous.
The class scoffed and the visiting faculty – despite three books out on How To Be A Journalist, was not too well known in the media circles – declared that I was going to be “the next Shobhaa De.” I had died laughing imagining my father’s reaction to that one: On discovering that I was reading Jackie Collins and De, Dad had threatened to disown me and had summarily banned both authors at home. And now this, my professor declaring I was on the road to doing a De! I happily narrated the day’s happenings at home and as predicted, dad was disappointed that I showed promise of the doubtful kind.
Anyway, that was in 1998 and 10 years hence, it was rather funny to be sitting on a panel with Shobhaa De on the eve of the launch of her 15th book. Actually, it was weird. I don’t consider it any “achievement” – given that my being called for these shows is more because I am willing to shoot my mouth off than any ‘talent’ or because they think I have anything important to say, also because I know how panelists are chosen for shows! – but just that, sometimes, real life can be rather strange. So now I am wondering… Who else did I read clandestinely and my dad banned me?
(Smirk, shakes head, goes to get ready to step out for a media night with Partner and colleague in neighbourhood pub).