Title :JS & The Times of my life.
Subtitle: a worm's eye view of indian journalism
Author : Jug Suraiya
Publisher : Tranquebar
"I never wanted to be a journalist" are the first lines in the second chapter of this book.Those lines are correctly placed in the second chapter because by the time you read the first, you are sure that all that he could have done was become a writer.Apart from being part of JS and TOI ,Jug has been the co-creator of the comic strip Duniya ke neta,several books short stories and editorial page articles.
"Soda normally comes in bottles or tins.Soda by the kilo was a new one on Bunny and me.But may be they ordered things differently in Vasant Kunj.After all ,Sushmita Sen lived there.Maybe famous beauty queens liked their soda in Kilos."Witty, satirical and hilarious is what I had expected from the creator of the Dubyaman and I promise you i still have a faint smile while a pen down a review.It his unique style of serving the even serious matters with a tinge of humor and it is this style which had made me an ardent reader of the weekly Juggle-Bandhi.Personally i find many of his articles youth centered probably from the experiences of the js.Here are a few interesting ones which you would like to read:Horny India ,The Filigree on the tapestry of silence, Kolkata adda, Generation Rap,The poverty of porn,
Set against the backdrop of two iconic publications-the JS and The Times of India it is the story of a Kolkata lad kicked out of English Honours to the associate editor of TOI .From writing articles for a JS-The magzine that thinks young to TOI not only does the demography change(Kolkata to Delhi) but also a transformation of India as a whole.Probably the one thing which did not change was the that the author still does not use a computer.In one of the chapter he talks about Maruti-800- a status symbol,considering the fact that the last one manufactured was in May-2011 , it accentuates the fact that we have come a long way.
In this somewhat chronological journey the author narrates his story taking up contemporary issues as per the time line.It takes you through the shift of the Indian Journalism and also the intricacies of a writing job.He writes about Lindsay,Desmond ,Mr.Dua,Kaziranga,Devanand ,Mother Teresa,Belchi massacre,Sonagachi,India -Pak relatons and many other things.The short travelogue on Tibet was very intriguing and loved every piece of it.Reading this, I could appreciate why Jug is the first Asian to have won the Grand Prize for Travel Writing awarded by the Pacific Area Travel Assocaition.
Jug is an honest writer and he discusses the role of media towards the society.In this honest portrayal one does not always makes friends.He mentions how few of his articles has pissed off Jaylalitha,Amitabh Bacchan,Vikram Seth and many more. Characterized by humor at the most unforeseen place and figurative speech at times he has manged to present pressing issues like India-Pak relations with a pinch of salt.But at times it is very direct and terse.I really likes his serious take on secularism in the chapter named,"Paddy,Ajit jokes and waterless in VK." To quote few favorite lines from the book,"Voices that remind me that we are all children of a common soil,stray how or where we may? Brindle wagged her tail in Kutchi and Bengali,neglectfully misplaced by me years ago,now rediscovered.And let Bal Thackerey and others of his stripe make of that what they will."