Follow up on a fellow hack

  • Khushwant Singh
  • |
  • Updated: Nov 04, 2011 11:03 IST

In his recently published autobiography, Vinod Mehta describes himself as a 'Lucknow Boy'. If I followed his example, I would describe myself as 'Dilli ka Chhokra'.

We met up in Bombay. I was with The Illustrated Weekly of India, he the editor of Debonair. He did his best to raise its circulation by filling its pages with soft and hard porn.

In his book on Bombay, he included a chapter on me entitled 'Fucking, Cheese, and Wine: The Philosophy of Khushwant Singh'. There was no justification for his doing so. I did very little of the first, had no liking for Indian cheeses, and could not afford foreign wines (Grover and Sula were not then in the market). About the same time, we were sacked from our jobs and moved to Delhi.

Vinod later evolved a formula for the success of a weekly journal. The last page would be a travelogue written by established writers and himself. Letters to the editor were to be selected on the basis of how much they rubbished the contents of the magazine.

Ajith Pillai punctured the bloated reputation of celebrities. Sheela Reddy did a competent job researching and writing on issues that erupted in the country and also handled the books page. Outlook's circulation shot up rapidly. Though it did not overtake India Today, it came to be the most readable weekly of India.

 

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