Bitter truth by Anand
After waiting an hour in the lobby of TajMansing without response on phone from him, good time was spent on frantic calls to friends to know if DP was known to make you wait. Since it was my 1st meeting with him, it was not abnormal I was told. For all, he must have been checking my antecedents. That worried me because in the initial years of current work, my calling card read ‘special correspondent and Chief liaison’. I liaised with news channels to syndicate news. That card of mine got ‘Linked In’ and was all over the web. Scribes liaise but no body writes it on the business card.
Deciding to wait I moved to the poolside of TajMansing and wandered off to childhood when I 1st heard of Dileep Padgaonkar. It was in 1987, I was offered a summer assignment in the circulation department of The Times Of India. I realized I was among 30 chosen, not by merit but recommendation of a close friend in TOI.
Indian Express readers were shifting owing to it negative reportage. Edits were un-forgiving as India seemed to pass on as an entitlement to Gandhi scion. Our job was to visit all Express buyers along with a copy of Times Of India early in morning with newspaper boys, long with a gift book of Lakshman’s common man. We also gave every prospective reader an invitation to read the Times of India signed by the editor, Dileep Padgaonkar. We were 15-16 and Our supervisor one Mr. Gul informed that editor was the most important person in a newspaper.
We were to report at Kind Circle at 6 am in the morning. Always the 1st along with colleague and friend, Jacob, to be at the meeting point, I fancied reading the edit pages from still warm newspapers. I remember reading DP’s articles. I was proud that our big boss was Dileep Padgaonkar. Gul spoke in hushed voice about Dileep Padgaonkar whenever we were in the Times building.I wanted to meet him.
After two full hours of waiting DP called to ensure if I was still around. He came in his trade mark jeans and a blazer. We spoke of many things in the hour I spent with him. He was categorical that RSS was quiet an efficient organisation of good volunteers. We spoke of Modi and Maharashtra. He was appreciative of Sharad Pawar too.
Dileepji’s writings were never vitriolic. He was classy and had the rare ability to not get cynical. Though I never worked with him, as a reader this man deserved admiration. Wish I knew him more personally. I wanted to be under his tutelage.
Sadly his number will never ever be answered again.
God bless his family.
C Anand Velayudhan is Special correspondent – India for an American Television Channel ‘