Sunday, August 10,
A slice of journalist’s life
Saint of the Indian Crossroads and Other Vignettes
by R.K. Raju. Shipra Publications, New Delhi. Pages 123. Rs 225.
some it is a passion, for some a jumble of deadlines and for some
others a mere cut-and-a-paste job for adding a few bucks to their
take-home salary. But for Raju, journalism is a way of life, full of
challenges, twists and turns.
A veteran of The
Statesman, he has all the skills for turning an ordinary of life
into an extraordinary story, keeping in tact the truth, denouncing
what is called "yellow journalism." As a reporter he is
always on the move, tasting and testing all that is described as
news. And at the end of it there are quaint memories of the past,
with a unique freshness and timelessness.
The book under review
presents a slice of Raju’s journalistic life. And as one goes
through it one finds two Rajus. One who is impish, sensitive to his
surroundings, fine-tuned to the feelings of others, and the other—the
journalist. Forever inquisitive, observing, happy to learn and
absorb new ideas, confident, at peace with himself, one with the
people but still detached enough to be impartial.
His subjects vary from
the saintly Mother Teresa to the agnostic Jawahar Lal Nehru, from
the polished writer Ruskin Bond to the rustic film star Shivaji
Ganeshan. Be it the crowed streets of Delhi, an isolated village in
the jungle or the ever-dangerous airstrip of Leh, his bag is replete
with incisive and mind-boggling stories. Take for instance, the
story of Mr and Mrs Robert, an American couple, of East Nizammudin,
New Delhi, who have an unusual but a treasured possession—Sundari—a
"friendly" leopard. Then we have a study revealing a
whopping 50 per cent drop in wife-beating cases in Israel during the
Football World Cup. Men finding solace in a football game! Sounds
amusing. Isn’t? And what about women? Well, they owe a great
"debt of gratitude to the World Cup."