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An authority in the media circles, Vinod Mehta, journalist and Editor of Outlook magazine, presents his life through a candid and scandalous account in his autobiography, Lucknow Boy: A Memoir. The book contains several interesting accounts, starting from incidents in his younger days to his interactions with celebrities from different spheres like business, politics, the An authority in the media circles, Vinod Mehta, journalist and Editor of Outlook magazine, presents his life through a candid and scandalous account in his autobiography, Lucknow Boy: A Memoir. The book contains several interesting accounts, starting from incidents in his younger days to his interactions with celebrities from different spheres like business, politics, the entertainment industry and the media. It has several interesting anecdotes and crisp word sketches of celebrities like Shobha De, Sonia Gandhi and Salman Rushdie. The story starts in the city of Lucknow, where Mehta grew up with his family members, who were refugees from Pakistan. The book provides an interesting account of his time in Britain, when Mehta’s journalistic interests were fueled by English newspapers like The New Statesman, The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph. It then charts his return to Bombay, and his stint as the editor of Debonair, an Indian version of Playboy. Mehta also explains his early efforts in establishing The Sunday Observer and Outlook, while slowly turning into one of the most influential personalities in journalistic circles. Thanks to his decades of experience in the journalistic field, his autobiography holds a treasure chest of interesting instances that add spice to the book. He also shares his valuable insights and experience, providing tips for aspiring editors and journalists. About Vinod Mehta Vinod Mehta is best known for being the Editor-in-chief of Outlook Magazine, a position that he maintained till the end of January 2012. He now serves as an advisor to the publication. Mehta has written some other books, and they include: Meena Kumari Mr Editor, How Close Are You to The PM? Bombay: A Private View The Sanjay Story Vinod Mehta’s style of writing is informal and very direct, true to his journalistic roots. In this book, his style is anecdotal and irreverent. Vinod Mehta’s wife, Sumita Paul, is also a journalist. She has worked for The Sunday Times and The Pioneer.


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An authority in the media circles, Vinod Mehta, journalist and Editor of Outlook magazine, presents his life through a candid and scandalous account in his autobiography, Lucknow Boy: A Memoir. The book contains several interesting accounts, starting from incidents in his younger days to his interactions with celebrities from different spheres like business, politics, the An authority in the media circles, Vinod Mehta, journalist and Editor of Outlook magazine, presents his life through a candid and scandalous account in his autobiography, Lucknow Boy: A Memoir. The book contains several interesting accounts, starting from incidents in his younger days to his interactions with celebrities from different spheres like business, politics, the entertainment industry and the media. It has several interesting anecdotes and crisp word sketches of celebrities like Shobha De, Sonia Gandhi and Salman Rushdie. The story starts in the city of Lucknow, where Mehta grew up with his family members, who were refugees from Pakistan. The book provides an interesting account of his time in Britain, when Mehta’s journalistic interests were fueled by English newspapers like The New Statesman, The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph. It then charts his return to Bombay, and his stint as the editor of Debonair, an Indian version of Playboy. Mehta also explains his early efforts in establishing The Sunday Observer and Outlook, while slowly turning into one of the most influential personalities in journalistic circles. Thanks to his decades of experience in the journalistic field, his autobiography holds a treasure chest of interesting instances that add spice to the book. He also shares his valuable insights and experience, providing tips for aspiring editors and journalists. About Vinod Mehta Vinod Mehta is best known for being the Editor-in-chief of Outlook Magazine, a position that he maintained till the end of January 2012. He now serves as an advisor to the publication. Mehta has written some other books, and they include: Meena Kumari Mr Editor, How Close Are You to The PM? Bombay: A Private View The Sanjay Story Vinod Mehta’s style of writing is informal and very direct, true to his journalistic roots. In this book, his style is anecdotal and irreverent. Vinod Mehta’s wife, Sumita Paul, is also a journalist. She has worked for The Sunday Times and The Pioneer.

30 review for Lucknow Boy: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shruti Buddhavarapu

    If reading books was a sexual act, this book, at its best is fingering. Mostly, it's a peck on your cheek from the author, who's always got one eye trained on the mirror behind you, checking out himself. Still, for the anecdotes, irreverence and never letting it stutter, three stars. If reading books was a sexual act, this book, at its best is fingering. Mostly, it's a peck on your cheek from the author, who's always got one eye trained on the mirror behind you, checking out himself. Still, for the anecdotes, irreverence and never letting it stutter, three stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Abhishek

    A rollicking, rip-roaring, "masala" book that is full of anecdotes, gossip, experience insight. Karl Marx, Brian Lara, Ratan Tata, Protima Bedi and the story of her nude pictures, Vajpayee, Sanjiv Kumar's erectile dysfunction and so much more come alive in this autobiography narrated in an irreverent, candid way. The book begins with a wonderful exposition of the Lucknow of those times - a charming, old-fashioned city where the currency was food, friendship and the ability to spin a good yarn - A rollicking, rip-roaring, "masala" book that is full of anecdotes, gossip, experience insight. Karl Marx, Brian Lara, Ratan Tata, Protima Bedi and the story of her nude pictures, Vajpayee, Sanjiv Kumar's erectile dysfunction and so much more come alive in this autobiography narrated in an irreverent, candid way. The book begins with a wonderful exposition of the Lucknow of those times - a charming, old-fashioned city where the currency was food, friendship and the ability to spin a good yarn - something Mehta Saab has picked up very well. It is also an ode to his and the nation's secularism, a living breathing secularism he picked up from his experience rather than from any book. The tale shifts to London for a few years as Mehta has a lot to absorb, learn and explore. His idealism is shattered as he realises how little he knows. William Blake, Graham Green, The John Profumo affair, Mini Skirts all feature here. His return to India begins with Bombay with the centrepiece, of course, being the editor and revivor of Debonair. He then sets up 2-3 newspapers before becoming the editor of Outlook. The story then moves ahead at the speed of sound with events unfolding one after another and the concomitant gossip, anecdotes, insights - Pokhran, Nira Raadia, Modi, Gujarat Riots .... Overall, this was a super fun read! There is a sequel to this book as well which is much shorter and acts as a companion piece.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Monica Mittal

    I came across this name 2 years back but got my hands on the book only recently. It was a superb read. Generally auto-biographies are tend to be boring( this is a personal view so bear with it ) but this one keeps you glued to your seat. One of its kind that doesn't glorifies the person himself/herself but talks much more; about the times he has been through; an insight of the people he has met; about how the media runs and gets influenced by politicians and other big guns. It is a like a revisio I came across this name 2 years back but got my hands on the book only recently. It was a superb read. Generally auto-biographies are tend to be boring( this is a personal view so bear with it ) but this one keeps you glued to your seat. One of its kind that doesn't glorifies the person himself/herself but talks much more; about the times he has been through; an insight of the people he has met; about how the media runs and gets influenced by politicians and other big guns. It is a like a revision of whats going on in India for last 30 years ( do read it just in case you missed reading newspapers all this while :P ). Fun to read, author's witty and sarcastic tone makes it even more interesting. Some people have the ability to make a boring scene look interesting too and also handle the criticism well. So if you haven't met anyone with both these talent, meet Vinod Mehta through his awesome memoir, Lucknow boy.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Munis

    Vinod Mehta is a real dude !!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sumirti Singaravel

    I have a long relationship with the magazine Outlook, only next to the daily The Hindu without which - as the cliche goes, quite rightly - that no middle class educated Tamilian begin his day. I was introduced to the magazine by a friend from my school when I wanted to know updates on the recently published books (he guaranteed that the reviews in Outlook were nothing short of 'fantastic'). Also, he told me that it is the best magazine to carry the most eye-catchy photographs, which we can use i I have a long relationship with the magazine Outlook, only next to the daily The Hindu without which - as the cliche goes, quite rightly - that no middle class educated Tamilian begin his day. I was introduced to the magazine by a friend from my school when I wanted to know updates on the recently published books (he guaranteed that the reviews in Outlook were nothing short of 'fantastic'). Also, he told me that it is the best magazine to carry the most eye-catchy photographs, which we can use in our school projects (so simple were our needs, then). This was in the year 2004, I remember. Fast forward to 2016, I still read Outlook, not on every week but quite regularly. In my school days, I read the magazine with awe ('they use a lot of new words, you know', I remember telling my friend). I still read them, but not with the awe. If I have to name Indian magazines which I now enjoy reading much, Outlook may not be in the top five slots (I like Caravan, Fountain INk more). Yet, what hooks me to this weekly magazine is the bewitching Letters To The Editor Column. Perhaps, this is the only Indian Magazine where the letters published are not stale, dodgy, full of heavy praise, and appears like a letter written by the editor to himself. All the letters published by Outlook are irreverent, succinct, AK47 compressed in words, direct, pointed, hurting, multidimensional, and most of the times, close to the truth. Yours Truly has herself got published with seven letters in Outlook, and in none of it I praised the magazine or its editor or the reporter. Herein comes the role of Vinod Mehta, Editor of Outlook. To me Vinod Mehta belonged to few of the dying clan of Journalists and Editors who do not toe the lines made by those in power. He respected each of his reader more than those who paid his salary. He even answered some of the letters of the readers, although not directly, but in his regular column titled 'Delhi Diary'. When he died last year, I really felt heavy at heart. This autobiography of Vinod Mehta confirms the image I had of him, only with much greater details and a roaring humour sense. Like he always remained, the book flows with mischief, irreverence, equal-opportunity offence thrown at each and everyone, and complete honesty. His sketch of the years he spent in his hometown, Lucknow, is so vivid that any Indian reader would definitely grow a wanderlust to visit the city at least once. More, it makes one realize that the multiculturalism and Secularism is a part of all Indian towns and cities which cannot be stripped or isolated away. His days spent in Britain and how it affected his growth is effortlessly rendered with brutal honesty, and it reiterates the importance of self-education. I never know before that he edited the nude magazine Debanoir, although it didn't come so much as a shock given his natural dispositions and character. The days of Pioneer were the only pages where I felt that Mehta got little emotional but understandable given the tough days he met with the owner and the eventual unemployment (He resigned from four publications in one-decade time span). The book grows with lively anecdotes and even lovely portrayal of the much unknown sides of politicians, writers, bureaucrats, editors, ambassadors, and almost everyone (Mehta spares no one). He offends equally the writers William Dalrymple and Ramachandra Guha; Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Samir Jain; Amitabh Bhachan and Shobha De. In Mehta's books, any near perfect man is a myth, which if insisted to be true would propel him to search for a gun. Yet, there is one person who would remain as his Achilles heal, the Congress party leader, Sonia Gandhi. It was Outlook, perhaps the only magazine in 2014, to run two cover stories on Rahul Gandhi, Congress Party's Prime Ministerial Candidate, praising his achievements and his nature (During the general elections 2014, I came across a website which said that it enlists all of Rahul Gandhi achievements reached by him, until then. When I clicked it open, it went blank). To call Vinod Mehta as Congress Chamcha would be an understatement. The man who broke all idols revered Sonia Gandhi and his family (he even have a separate chapter for Sonia in this book too. No prize for guesses on what he would have written there). Ideally, appraising the book for a review and for our coveted stars in Goodreads, it should fetch not more than four stars. Yet, I have added another one because of the following reasons: 1. George Orwell: For a book which ends with the word 'Editor', it begins with a quote by Orwell. And, throughout the book, Mehta talks about Orwell as if he is talking about a lover (Orwell is my favorite writers. Touche). 2. For The chapter titled 'Sweeper's Wisdom': What are those ideas Mehta offer to a budding Journo? What should a Journalist prepare himself for a fulfilling career? Is this devil's trade all worth the risk and struggle? What makes a Journo great? Can a Journo be a friend with politicans? Should they carry a resignation letter always in their pockets? Mehta has beautiful, realistic and caring answers for each of the question. He is kind enough to add this separate chapter in his autobio. 3. His dog 'Editor' Vinod Mehta belongs to that category of Indians (the increasingly becoming a minority category) who came up to the top all by their sheer effort and by choosing a path where their heart lies. He was one of those great men who was motivated not by awards, fame, or money but by the boistorous joy and adventure a job would throw. Men like Mehta are not-so-easily-spotted, and relatively less celebrated. As a reader one can call Vinod Mehta as anything they want; a chumcha, pseudo secular, biased etc (many of which he did gladly publish in his 'Letters' columns). But, he was one of those men who kept up their charm till the end; wrote their own retirement with grace; was brave and bold enough to stand to his convictions; and most importantly never lived as a hypocrite (at least in their profession). Such humans, my dear, are rare, few and worth remembering.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tanaya Pandey (thekitabiyatri)

    A very readable book. I picked it up after reading many a reviews. I have not really been an Outlook reader and so was not very aware of Vinod Mehta and his style of journalism. This book got me hooked from page 1. The good thing about the book is that it is a very easy read. it's not full of jargon and Vinod Mehta doesn't come across as self righteous and self appreciative, at least not overtly. The initial years he recounts about Lucknow, family and his student days are quiet interesting and f A very readable book. I picked it up after reading many a reviews. I have not really been an Outlook reader and so was not very aware of Vinod Mehta and his style of journalism. This book got me hooked from page 1. The good thing about the book is that it is a very easy read. it's not full of jargon and Vinod Mehta doesn't come across as self righteous and self appreciative, at least not overtly. The initial years he recounts about Lucknow, family and his student days are quiet interesting and fun to read. once he starts working, i think the book skews more towards opening many a secrets about people he has interacted with professionally. Then it starts sounding like a gossip column, nonetheless quiet informative. halfway through i felt, it was not a memoir anymore as there was nothing much personal other than professional events and professional encounters that he narrates. He moves from Mumbai to Delhi from His Debonair days to Pioneer and Outlook. He seems more human or maybe on second thoughts, he is a very good journalist who knows exactly how to get people to accept his point of view without hating him. While the book has lots of anecdotes to offer, the one thing that kept gnawing me, particularly when i was reading his time with Outlook days was his anti BJP and pro congress stand. While he justifies it by saying that even though people call him Sonia sucker, as a journalist you can't hate every politician. That's in order to stay sane. Hence Sonia Gandhi and Congress are his obvious choice. Where i think its a biased layout is when all his anecdotes and stories throughout his Outlook and Delhi experience are pretty much about the NDA government. Considering he is a dinosaur in the Journalism business and has seen decades of politically upheaval, he chooses to comment only on the the few initial years of the Nehru government and straight out to the NDA government. That to me is a little short cited for a memoir of a journalist. Also the entire account about the Income Tax raids on Raheja, his proprietor for Outlook is a bit too good to be true. Raheja being an owner of such a big business empire seems to be pure as honey and seems to have absolutely no illegal income. Which to me seems a little far fetched for a business house that size. so my final verdict by the time i finished the book was take this man with a pinch of salt. He obviously does not tell all the truth and chooses which one to. But whatever little he does tell is worth reading as it does give you some perspective about people and events.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sajith Kumar

    Building a newspaper or magazine up from scratch is a tedious job. Apparently, people don't relish such a prospect. Matters became very complicated in the post-liberalization era when India's publishing industry opened up to serious money coming from abroad. It is nothing short of a miracle that a single man was able to create not one, but four publications by the dint of hard work and the intuition on which way the wind is blowing. On account of the establishment of journals such as Indian Post Building a newspaper or magazine up from scratch is a tedious job. Apparently, people don't relish such a prospect. Matters became very complicated in the post-liberalization era when India's publishing industry opened up to serious money coming from abroad. It is nothing short of a miracle that a single man was able to create not one, but four publications by the dint of hard work and the intuition on which way the wind is blowing. On account of the establishment of journals such as Indian Post, Independent, Pioneer and Outlook, Vinod Mehta is sometimes hailed as the ultimate launch man of Indian publishing. His experience in taking these illustrious publications from the drawing board to the street stall is unrivaled. Vinod Mehta was an Indian journalist, editor and political commentator. He is the author of several books and this one is an autobiography of his eventful life as an editor in journals of national repute. Quite unusual for a man who pioneered mainstream media, Mehta began his life as editor of the men's magazine Debonair. He always found something that should be removed to attract attention whether in the magazine or its portrayed models. The periodical which had begun with male seminude pictures had closed down after just six months. Mehta infused new life into it by sporting serious articles interspersed with half-clad models. Known for his boldness in exposure with the pen – no pun intended – he lives up to his name by mentioning a shocking episode during the Emergency. The dreaded Information and Broadcasting minister V C Shukla wanted a meeting with him along with the next issue’s centre spread pictures in design stage. At the end of the interview the minister appropriated the most revealing photograph for himself (p.89) The author's USP is his fearlessness in writing about the idiosyncrasies of political leaders and business tycoons. He had a tenuous relationship with the latter on account of them being the proprietors of the publishing houses. He was not averse to take risks. When Sunday observer was first published in 1981, it was the first time in India that a publication came out only on Sundays which combined the good features of a newspaper and a magazine. Mehta’s most controversial episode might have been the naming of the Maharashtra leader Y B Chavan as the CIA mole in Indira Gandhi's cabinet in the 1970s. The mayhem let loose by the revelation forced the management of The Independent to eject Mehta and it published an apology. However, the author discloses in this memoir that after further consultations with Seymour Hersh, he has come to know reliably that Morarji Desai was the mole who worked for the CIA by accepting $20,000 per year through his son Kanti Desai. The unrepentant declaration that it was not Chavan but Desai is galling and sheds light at the casual disregard of the journalist in making and marring the careers of respectable people. This is evidenced by an incident when the author was working for the Pioneer. Its proprietor, Lalit Mohan Thapar, was a friend of the politician Sharad Pawar and the author had no compunction to plant a story projecting Pawar as a possible candidate to be the next prime minister. In the same magazine itself, Mehta suspended a provoking interview with the army chief S F Rodriguez from publishing in which the veteran soldier had labeled the entire political class as bandicoots. It seems that Vinod Mehta had a strong inclination to side with the Congress Party and he feels no shame in flaunting it. In fact, he advises novices to the profession that it is just about okay. In his inimitable style, he professes that neutrality of journalists is a pompous myth. The Nira Radia tapes, which find mention in the book, narrates the unholy nexus between politicians, journalists and wheeler dealers. Barkha Dath and Vir Sanghvi were the journalists who got caught in the tape. Mehta describes about his attacks against Vajpayee as prime minister and Narendra Modi as the chief minister of Gujarat. When the frivolous tirades became unbearable, Vajpayee ordered an income tax raid on the proprietor and the attacks dramatically stopped as if at the flick of a switch. Being a person from Lucknow, memories of his dear hometown lend the book its title. The author shares a glimpse of life in that city immediately after independence. The upper crest had a carefree life in which humour occupied a central place in the scheme of things. Those who didn't laugh and make others laugh were considered dangerous people. But the old world charm of Oudh’s social life was soon folding back against the flow of migrants coming from Pakistan. The Lucknow aristocracy was in clear retreat, selling their heritage as the refugees gobbled up businesses with their superior ability to persevere and adapt to changing conditions. However Metha realizes that shedding tears for the gun-flogging and chandelier-hawking rajas and nawabs was like shedding tears for the extinction of dinosaurs. However, all was not well even by the author’s narrative. The Hindu-Muslim divide crept even into the sphere of sports such as Table Tennis. In the 50s and 60s Lucknow, the table tennis scene was highly communalized. Clubs were organized on the basis of religion. The Bengali club, Firangi Mahal club, Sanyal club and others were fierce rivals mainly due to communal hostility. The author’s mastery over the language is impeccable and should be a source of envy to any editor. This book is a treasure trove of delectable idioms, words and phrases. It is a must-read for all aspiring journalists and language professionals. Mehta was an ardent representative of India’s elite, and so his professional support to Arundhati Roy and the Maoists who protested eviction of tribals for the commencement of mining operations is a bit labored. This Anglophone journalist whose telephone number was in the contact list of the most powerful people in the country and who feeds Italian cheese to his pet dog wants the readers to be convinced of his earnest desire to protect the rights of the tribals. The author has been candid – perhaps a bit more so – in portraying even the most intimate moments of his life. On the negative side, he seems to get carried away by praise as seen in the verbatim reproduction of the praise heaped by peers on the success of his publishing ventures. The book is highly recommended.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Pranshumaan

    I will be honest, before I read the book, all I thought of Vinod Mehta was confined to that talking head in the habit of launching drunk diatribes on debate panels of cacophonous news channels. Safe to say, my perception is now more refined and I have developed minor respect for the man. Lucknow Boy is easily one of the better biographies written by an Indian. Contrary to the usual embellishments and last word-itis that this genre falls into, the work exhibits rare honesty and self awareness. Meh I will be honest, before I read the book, all I thought of Vinod Mehta was confined to that talking head in the habit of launching drunk diatribes on debate panels of cacophonous news channels. Safe to say, my perception is now more refined and I have developed minor respect for the man. Lucknow Boy is easily one of the better biographies written by an Indian. Contrary to the usual embellishments and last word-itis that this genre falls into, the work exhibits rare honesty and self awareness. Mehta starts with his days of growing up in Lucknow, mostly spent skirt chasing and in other usual teenage shenanigans. (Unlike other stories from the era, partition is not a big image in his memory, which is a relief. I am a little tired of Indian writers and artists of the independence era basing their whole existence and body of work on post partition trauma. While I understand it, I am just overdosed on it.) He seems to have acquired his sense of humour and flair for punchy story telling here. This is followed by an extended 8 year sojourn in England where he gets a chance to form his world view and fathers a daughter. Although not much comes out of his plans of acquiring an engineering degree. It is a treat to read how he discovered that his heroes had clay feet and shockingly, nobody was perfect. His short descriptions of Maugham and Orwell are highly nuanced. The loss of innocence is narrated marvellously and in a contrast from the title, the Lucknow boy all but disappears by chapter two. The middle of the story takes place across Mumbai, Lucknow and Delhi with Mehta's rise as the irreverent and swashbuckling editor. From editing smut, he goes on to build from scratch: a daily, a weekly and a news magazine over less than 5 years. Throw in a couple of book projects as well. No mean accomplishment for a lad from lucknow with a surname of no great renown. The start up days read so smooth, makes me wonder what talents like him could have accomplished in a more open economy. Along the way are peppered several hilarious encounters with poets, politicians, his many bosses and employees, several of whom we know today in varying contexts, and random Lucknowi and North England riff raff. Mehta's disregard for money matters assumes significance today when media is completely transactional in nature. However the overhang of advertisers pulling out over editorial decisions is a regular theme. It is no wonder social media killed traditional media, the control over distribution is paramount in an ad driven business. Many of the biggest news items in the last two decades were broken by Outlook, Mehta's magazine, and the book deals generously with their backstories. The wheeling dealings are given ample space. Although Mehta has a clear political leaning, he owns up to it and never pretends to be monkey balancing. It does take some contrarian courage to oppose Pokharan and call Maoists 'Gandhians with Guns' in your publication, I suppose. The penultimate chapter is an exercise in education for budding journalists and writers. I could not get much out of it as a reader. He probably intended on passing on some of his wisdom to his tribe, but it's mostly lost on casuals like me. The concluding chapter is made up of short portraits of some people who the author thought deserved more print space than he could allocate in the main narration. Fair to say, he does not pull his punches. Few Indian journalists today have the breadth of experience that Vinod Mehta had in post independence India, and it shows. The book is unputdownable. He must have died a relaxed man, having known that no reader would ever think of him as something the Lucknow Boy considered the ultimate insult - a bore. Farewell Mr. Mehta!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nandgopal

    Spoiler Alert..!!! I must confess that I was fairly ignorant of Vinod Mehta's lofty reputation and formidable resume when I started reading Lucknow Boy: A memoir. The last two books that I had read before this were both celebrated works of 20th century literature:- Primo Levi’s gut-wrenching account of his ordeal at Auschwitz in ‘If this is a man’ and Mario Llosa’s masterful evocation of Dominican life under dictator Rafael “The Goat” Trujillo’s iron grip in ‘The Feast of the Goat’. It was time t Spoiler Alert..!!! I must confess that I was fairly ignorant of Vinod Mehta's lofty reputation and formidable resume when I started reading Lucknow Boy: A memoir. The last two books that I had read before this were both celebrated works of 20th century literature:- Primo Levi’s gut-wrenching account of his ordeal at Auschwitz in ‘If this is a man’ and Mario Llosa’s masterful evocation of Dominican life under dictator Rafael “The Goat” Trujillo’s iron grip in ‘The Feast of the Goat’. It was time to find myself something ‘light’ to read for a change. I had read glowing tributes to Mehta’s new memoir strewn across cyberspace and had decided to check it out. A cursory reading of the synopsis on the inner front cover of the book settled it; this was going to be my next read. The clincher was the 5th line; he was editor of Debonair back in the 60s! The first two chapters are devoted to his halcyon bachelor days in Lucknow (and later London) chasing women and creating mischief. It’s a charming phase written breezily but it betrays no clues to his eventual turn towards his final calling- Journalism (Maybe the progression from chasing women to editing debonair could be called a logical leap but that’s about it!). It does however afford glimpses into the philosophy of the man. He talks of how his ‘pseudo-secular’ leanings where shaped by the remarkably secular Lucknow and the knowledge he gained while in London. Describing Lucknow of the 60s he says ‘We asked some fundamental questions with respect to an individual. Was he a bore or was he funny? Could he spin a decent yarn and keep us entertained?’ This is the underlying motif of his memoir and his life in general. The attempt is to humor us and keep us entertained. An attempt that succeeds spectacularly as the story unfolds. Mehta realizes very early on that the book could not be structured as a run-of-the-mill autobiography if he wants to hold readers’ attention for long. So you would not find the rambling ancestral history or sermons on personal morals or philosophy that is the staple of many a memoir. Instead you get a ring-side view of the India story through the 60s to the present complete with remarkable anecdotes about the tumultuous events and eccentric personalities that have shaped it. Who better to tell it than the man who has been chasing that story his entire lifetime? The fact that he had a personal equation with many of the characters on his pages (from Salman Rushdie to Shobha De to Sonia Gandhi) gives his writing further credibility. For someone like me, who was not around when most of these events took place, it made for riveting reading. More than anything else, the book provides a gossipy, almost voyeuristic, peek into the heady world of politicians, journalists and other newsmakers. And it is done with the same humility, candour and irreverence that have been the hallmark of Mehta’s editorial career. True to style, he spares no detail and euphemizes no criticism when talking about the high and the mighty. Thus, you get not-so-flattering portraits of stalwarts from Arun Shourie to Dileep Padgaonkar to even AB Vajpayee. And he is equally unflinching in turning the spotlight on himself. He thus takes the blame for the infamous ‘CIA mole in Indira Gandhi’s cabinet’ story that eventually cost him his job at the Independent. (That Morarji Desai was the actual mole was indeed a shocking revelation for me although it was apparently an open secret among the older generation). The latter half chronicles his Outlook days and here I was on more familiar ground having been witness to many of the episodes described from the cricket match-fixing scandal to the Radia tapes controversy and the 2G scam. Consequently, I was not always in agreement with some of his views here. My much-too-critical eye found an ever-so-slight ideological leaning towards the Congress and a soft spot for Sonia Gandhi in particular. Not that he is beholden to balance and fairness here. After all, this is his memoir and not a news report. He ends with some advice for budding journalists (it jarred slightly when compared to the remarkably non-judgmental narrative tone of the rest of the book) and a lovely chapter about the influential people in his life (which includes his dog, Editor!). The book’s biggest strength is its irreverence and tinges of humor throughout. Only once, when talking of the daughter that he had to abandon in London, do you see a hint of melancholy. Here is hoping that that daughter reads this memoir and finds Vinod Mehta. The book deserves it. More importantly, the man deserves it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Vibina Venugopal

    I'm always reluctant to buy autobiography mostly because of being overly timeline oriented, and being self indulging(well that is what a autobiography is supposed to be) but most often they go over the line, but this one was like reading a fiction on the run...My last post on "The museum of innocence" Pamuk's romance with the city reminded me about this book where Mehta describes his fond memories about the people of Lucknow while he was young.. Outlook is the only magazine (i'm not too proud ab I'm always reluctant to buy autobiography mostly because of being overly timeline oriented, and being self indulging(well that is what a autobiography is supposed to be) but most often they go over the line, but this one was like reading a fiction on the run...My last post on "The museum of innocence" Pamuk's romance with the city reminded me about this book where Mehta describes his fond memories about the people of Lucknow while he was young.. Outlook is the only magazine (i'm not too proud about it) where I pay attention to the editorial note even though I'm not a loyal reader of it..So it isn't surprising when I readily picked his memoir isn't... As a kid Mehta was an average kid with all his limitations (though good in sports) in terms of thoughts and education (third class in B.A)brought up in a modest middle class society during 60's Lucknow with high value.He had wonderful gang of friends in school who stuck for life..According to him life in Lucknow had lot of shades to it for instance “In Lucknow at that time, you could be a liar, crook, bigot, miser, ugly, lower caste - that was okay. What you couldn't be was a bore. When we wanted to damn somebody, call him the worst possible name, we would say, ‘bore hai’"... It was London that let him shape his life with his various assorted odd jobs and friendship with men and women later to be more in number.. Self taught and hardworking, reading in depth about authors and political developments in Britain laid a strong foundation to his rich experiences and vantage that we get to see today...His confession of fathering a child and refusing to stay by his girlfriend when she refused for abortion made me wish that someday he get to meet his daughter...First part of the book with his childhood and life abroad is very interesting and fun.. Getting back to India, his efforts of self publishing a book (which he is not proud of ) "Bombay a private view" , then a biography about Sanjay Gandhi The Sanjay story,and Meenakumari became controversial...His first job was as an editor in debonair (Indian playboy version) where he managed to get published some sensible articles in spite of the magazine that it carried , where he had to write under different pseudonym still maintaining the center page of the magazine of nude girls.. But during emergency he was asked to make it decent and this is how he described the model in the center spread "The breasts were covered with an ugly, dense dupatta. The Emergency had taken its toll on our naked women".. But as he moves on to become the most sacked editor from The Sunday Observer-Independent-Indian post-Pioneer and finally to The outlook (where he currently serves as an adviser after he resigned from the the post of editor for 17 years)the book misses the personal element (may be he was completely into work)becoming largely professional with lots of insight about the well known name which is thoroughly entertaining...His statement of being a gossip monger aptly fits in..Throughout his career he has witnessed many famous rows and hosted some like that between Willaim Dalrymple and Ramachandra Guha most famously Between V.S Naipaul (Mehta's good friend) and Salman Rushidi are amusingly good read..The best part are the work behind the scene of making and working with some of the sensational scoop that stirred the entire nation from cricket match fixing to revelations of Niira Radia's tape, 2G spectrum, Moraji Desai's other side, , Narasimha Rao's writing skill certainly makes the reader smile..There are not just success stories but also some blunders like Y.B Chawan and exit poll result predictions being always wrong etc etc... The Chapter "Sweepers Wisdom" is a rich read where he offers his piece of mind to the young Journalist.. Throughout the book I felt an anti BJP spirit running all wide and strong and a slight lean towards Congress, especially Sonia Gandhi,he tries to justify it with the statement that a journalist cannot hate every politician..His sense of humour is all through the book even through the candid moments when he gets sacked and his rift with the proprietor helping the book stay tuned into life...His naming his pet dog editor is one among the situation where he makes self mockery with deep meaning... All in all the book has every element to keep you reading and had it not been for this memoir I wouldn't have known the outstanding life of Vinod Mehta...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gopal Vijayaraghavan

    Here is the story of “the inadequately educated Lucknow Boy with no formal training in a mass communication institute” taking the might of a well established fortnightly ‘India Today’ and succeeding. There are enough incidents in the life of Vinod Mehta which would have formed the part of the script for a successful Hindi film. The first 150 pages of the autobiography of Vinod Mehta are interesting and fast paced. Vinod Mehta is able to hold the attention of his reader when he writes about his Here is the story of “the inadequately educated Lucknow Boy with no formal training in a mass communication institute” taking the might of a well established fortnightly ‘India Today’ and succeeding. There are enough incidents in the life of Vinod Mehta which would have formed the part of the script for a successful Hindi film. The first 150 pages of the autobiography of Vinod Mehta are interesting and fast paced. Vinod Mehta is able to hold the attention of his reader when he writes about his early life in Lucknow and London and his stint as the editor of Debonair, Sunday Observer, Pioneer and the advent of Outlook. Paradoxically publicity for the first issue of Outlook is given by those fascists. (When these right wing fanatics will learn and stop giving free publicity by their idiotic acts of protesting anything found offensive to them only the Hindu Gods will know). And for the uninitiated , some basic lessons about Marx, secularism, etc. are thrown in. Alas disappointment awaits the reader(if he happens to be a regular reader of Outlook or is well versed in contemporary affairs)as the latter part of the book meanders into the period of his editorship of ‘Outlook’. There is nothing new or not known except the occasional gossips. It is as if he wants to justify the editorial stand of Outlook. The self confessed pseudo secularist dwells much on the fall and fall of BJP(remember this book was published in 2011) and rushes through the period of mega scams of the Congress . To be fair to Vinod Mehta, he is conscious of the limitations of his profession and admits that the so called neutrality of the journalists is a myth. And there is a closing chapter wherein he gives sermons to the budding journalists. When he mentions about the goalposts laid by George Orwell for writers one wonders whether they are applied for some of the articles which appear in Outlook. His adulation for Goddess Sonia Gandhi, who sacrificed power to become more powerful without being responsible, is narrated in the last part of book. One knows such blind devotion is well rewarded by conferment of Padma Shri. He does not hide his dislike for BJP leaders particularly Modi. One of the most celebrated journalists of the country fails to bring any value addition or capture the interest of the reader in the latter part of the book. It is also naive on his part to claim that to make a permanent enemy of Madam Sonia one must have a history, or even a single instance of betraying or badmouthing her husband. Mehta conveniently forgets that the great grand oldman of Tamil Nadu politics, who had a history of badmouthing not only Gandhi(Original) but Nehru Ganhdis, was allowed to get ATM ministries in the Government for his partymen only because of his friendship with Madam. Mr. Mehta as a journalist check your facts before writing - Ever heard of Justice Jain Commission findings?

  12. 4 out of 5

    NSampath Kumar

    Vinod Mehta hasn't written his memoir to tell you what a great person Vinod Mehta is. And therein lies his greatness. Told with amazing candour, startling simplicity and incredible wit, Mr Mehta takes you on a marvellous zeppelin-ride through his life - and you stare wide-eyed at his hugely eventful journey, right from his formative years at Debonair (which we used to hide within the pages of our world atlas during our own salad days)to his present prestigious role at Outlook. Lucknow Boy, people Vinod Mehta hasn't written his memoir to tell you what a great person Vinod Mehta is. And therein lies his greatness. Told with amazing candour, startling simplicity and incredible wit, Mr Mehta takes you on a marvellous zeppelin-ride through his life - and you stare wide-eyed at his hugely eventful journey, right from his formative years at Debonair (which we used to hide within the pages of our world atlas during our own salad days)to his present prestigious role at Outlook. Lucknow Boy, peopled with men and women who've left indelible imprints (whether beneficial or detrimental is a separate argument altogether)in the time-sands of India makes for a riveting read. I finished it in just two sittings, thanks to the fact that it reads more like an unputdownable piece of engaging fiction than a prosaic autobiography. Mr Mehta talks of an eclectic mix of people without sounding malicious even about those he doesn't fancy too much. This is responsible writing at its best; it gives us an overview of our system, its politics, businesses, perils, pressures etc, even as he delineates his own moral highs and emotional lows without sounding cynical. Circumspect, balanced, neutral - and tremendously soul-elevating, if you prefer a shorter take on it. Don't miss this one. If there is just one non-fiction book you read this year, it ought to be Lucknow Boy.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Harsimran Khural

    Lucknow boy is a short and informative take on India's political landscape for the past 40 odd years. It mainly captures the kind of news that makes it into news magazines, considering it is the autobiography of a newspaper and newsmagazine editor. The personal life of Vinod Mehta is also quite interesting, particularly his time in Lucknow and London. Overall the book is engaging enough to be not left halfway. There are many tidbits regarding some famous personalities that I wasn't aware of, and Lucknow boy is a short and informative take on India's political landscape for the past 40 odd years. It mainly captures the kind of news that makes it into news magazines, considering it is the autobiography of a newspaper and newsmagazine editor. The personal life of Vinod Mehta is also quite interesting, particularly his time in Lucknow and London. Overall the book is engaging enough to be not left halfway. There are many tidbits regarding some famous personalities that I wasn't aware of, and that get lost in magazine pages and gossip columns after these people fade away from the limelight. It also captures the struggles that an editor faces going against the powers that be, and the delicate balance that is to be maintained between ideals of journalism and survival of your print.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anshuman Lenka

    Nice book throws light into the glitz and almost opaque life of Indian journalists.Mr.Mehta's life as described is nothing sort of that of a roller coaster ride. Do read it for the gossip involved ..;)..very very juicy ..indeed Nice book throws light into the glitz and almost opaque life of Indian journalists.Mr.Mehta's life as described is nothing sort of that of a roller coaster ride. Do read it for the gossip involved ..;)..very very juicy ..indeed

  15. 5 out of 5

    Anurag Jain

    Shouldn't have ended so soon. lot of voids in between. still perhaps one of the best autobiographies out there, mainly due to richness in content and the delicate humor and arrogance of the dude ! Shouldn't have ended so soon. lot of voids in between. still perhaps one of the best autobiographies out there, mainly due to richness in content and the delicate humor and arrogance of the dude !

  16. 4 out of 5

    Abhinav

    Irreverent, insightful and immensely readable. Strongly recommended.

  17. 5 out of 5

    A Man Called Ove

    3.5/5 In the past couple of years, I have started given ratings in fractions (0.5). But, for this book, I was not able to make up my mind about the official rating of goodreads. Should it be 3* as it contained a lot of gossip or should it be 4* as the memoirs of a sensible editor who built a few newspapers/magazines and did good reporting ? But since I am in no mood to pick up another one by this author, I rated it 3*. This book came into my notice because a journalist friend reviewed it in an FB 3.5/5 In the past couple of years, I have started given ratings in fractions (0.5). But, for this book, I was not able to make up my mind about the official rating of goodreads. Should it be 3* as it contained a lot of gossip or should it be 4* as the memoirs of a sensible editor who built a few newspapers/magazines and did good reporting ? But since I am in no mood to pick up another one by this author, I rated it 3*. This book came into my notice because a journalist friend reviewed it in an FB group. A few days later, Vinod Mehta was found drinking while on a TV news debate and I ignored it. But later, admiration expressed for him by reporters who worked under him made me pick it up. This book reminded me of Salman Rushdie's Midnight Children (the half I managed to read :). It was irreverent, gossipy in tone yet you felt there was a method to the madness. His childhood and career were well-detailed and was surprised to know the no. of newspapers and magazines he started from scratch and then had to leave because of his integrity. And he was not the filmy, naive, call it a spade-a-spade guy. This was despite the fact that he was tactical. While some scoops which were done by his publications, particularly Outlook are in detail, I wished the Radia Tapes affair would have been covered in more detail. Also, a no. of major events were missing. Also absent is any political theory or ideology or commentary on some of the major events that happened in his times. Also, while I had read of it in a no. of books/articles, reading about the massive income tax raids on Outlook for criticising Vajpayee's PMO reminded me that there are no saints in politics. A good read, but perhaps those associated with the profession will enjoy it much better.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ashish Chandarana

    Lucknow Boy by Vinod Mehta... Personally, I’m fiction lover and seldom touch a memoir even if it is written by Dostoevsky, let alone by someone whose only contribution towards literature has been to write biographies of two of the most eminent personas of 70s India. But after following him on endless debates during and post Anna “movement”, I was intrigued to learn India of old from a media person’s perspective. And I was not disappointed! In fact, I was in for a treat. It’s a rarity nowadays to Lucknow Boy by Vinod Mehta... Personally, I’m fiction lover and seldom touch a memoir even if it is written by Dostoevsky, let alone by someone whose only contribution towards literature has been to write biographies of two of the most eminent personas of 70s India. But after following him on endless debates during and post Anna “movement”, I was intrigued to learn India of old from a media person’s perspective. And I was not disappointed! In fact, I was in for a treat. It’s a rarity nowadays to find someone living a public life and be this open to criticism and even highlighting that criticism with aplomb and utmost modesty is not heard of. Those benign shenanigans during school, those sporting Eve teasing during college and the promiscuity during his U.K. sojourn is mesmerising. You can feel his editorial penmanship when he recounts his interactions with some of the most prominent personalities of India and world and his lucidity is unparalleled. Die hard pseudo secular yet one of the major contributor of some of the biggest scams during UPA I & II regime shows his honesty towards the profession he just stumbled upon. According to journalist fraternity, he is considered as one of the most quotable editor India has ever produced. Even Arnab Goswami called him an Editor he never had in his touching eulogy. It would be blasphemous to put this memoir next to My Experiments With Truth but I would certainly put this along The Glass Castle. A must read if not for aforementioned details then for those subtle anecdotes and those seething remarks he received at times deservedly from his antagonists and the way he presented them with candour.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Somya

    Vinod Mehta was the Editor of Outlook in his very last assignment. His memoir describes his life in Indian Journalism and Politics over a span of 30 to 40 years. You learn what it was like to run a Newspaper or a Business in India of the 70s and 80s. Fascinating to read that Vijaypat Singhania of Raymond Group put it in writing to Vinod Mehta that he should not write anything about Rajiv Gandhi, Amitabh Bachchan, Satish Sharma, Lalit Suri, Dhirubhai Ambani, V.P. Singh, Murli Deora, Sharad Pawar Vinod Mehta was the Editor of Outlook in his very last assignment. His memoir describes his life in Indian Journalism and Politics over a span of 30 to 40 years. You learn what it was like to run a Newspaper or a Business in India of the 70s and 80s. Fascinating to read that Vijaypat Singhania of Raymond Group put it in writing to Vinod Mehta that he should not write anything about Rajiv Gandhi, Amitabh Bachchan, Satish Sharma, Lalit Suri, Dhirubhai Ambani, V.P. Singh, Murli Deora, Sharad Pawar in 'Indian Post' because these individuals could have seriously jeopardized their business interests. Vinod Mehta agrees that he admires Vijaypat for sharing the appalling reality of India in the 1980s instead of the usual bullshit. Then at some point, D H Ambani tried to buy a Newspaper and the journalists working for that paper put it out that they would not 'go' with the newspaper. It is another matter that in contemporary India, his older son owns a plethora of News Channels. Have times changed for better? I found his own life story a bit tedious at the beginning but otherwise this is an interesting read. It also provides another source with which to cross reference other memoirs/books by journalists, biographers, business leaders etc. and learn something about the Indian politicians.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nitin Sood

    Lucknow boy, an unassuming title and a little known book. But a cursory read through one of the pages was enough to hook me up and pick it off the shelf. It is a walk through the history of India and of the last 50 years, but wait, the writing and personal anecdotes are what lift it off. Vinod's writing is sprightly and fun and punctured with anecdotal tales that have the small town charm. The story is made relatable by his wit and more so by his downright humility and openness. His stories of Lu Lucknow boy, an unassuming title and a little known book. But a cursory read through one of the pages was enough to hook me up and pick it off the shelf. It is a walk through the history of India and of the last 50 years, but wait, the writing and personal anecdotes are what lift it off. Vinod's writing is sprightly and fun and punctured with anecdotal tales that have the small town charm. The story is made relatable by his wit and more so by his downright humility and openness. His stories of Lucknow and a witty narrative of other characters keeps the smile going as you flick through the pages. The portrayal is real and of a dreary wide eyed boy, always on the hunt for girls, all too relatable. The story evolves with his stint in UK and then his journalistic journey back in India and packs some seriousness. But his climb through the corporate rung and his many open failures are a good read and a useful learning. In the end, it becomes more sombre with expose's of many politicians and the hand in glove relationship between journalists and politicians. Overall, a spectacular read, not to be missed.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Meesum

    The starting chapter details Lucknow after independence (1947). Being from Lucknow myself it was quiet hard to imagine how much the culture has changed. Due to this book, I finally understood why my father, despite my protests, still doesn't ask for payment receipts at shops. Anyways, the stories were to the point, written in an engaging manner. It has a lot of gossip about politicians, writers, and journalists. I lost interest in between due to too many details about politics and journalists (so The starting chapter details Lucknow after independence (1947). Being from Lucknow myself it was quiet hard to imagine how much the culture has changed. Due to this book, I finally understood why my father, despite my protests, still doesn't ask for payment receipts at shops. Anyways, the stories were to the point, written in an engaging manner. It has a lot of gossip about politicians, writers, and journalists. I lost interest in between due to too many details about politics and journalists (something which I don't keep track of). It may be useful to aspiring journalists and budding writers. In one of the chapters he lists some of the hard learned lessons in the field of journalism. This is quiet interesting imho as the author's views were not shaped by any formal journalism training. Overall it was a nice read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Swapnil Tembe

    An intriguing account of the most sacked Editor in the history of Indian journalism. Presents an honest depiction of how the Print media houses and governments dealt with each other in the 80s, 90s and thereafter. Indirectly you get a chronological account of how print media has evolved over the decades. The debates of freedom of press and cross-media ownership are well interwoven in his story. But there comes a point where the author loses track of the theme. It becomes more a political comment An intriguing account of the most sacked Editor in the history of Indian journalism. Presents an honest depiction of how the Print media houses and governments dealt with each other in the 80s, 90s and thereafter. Indirectly you get a chronological account of how print media has evolved over the decades. The debates of freedom of press and cross-media ownership are well interwoven in his story. But there comes a point where the author loses track of the theme. It becomes more a political commentary than a memoir. Towards the end, one chapter deals with great insight on role of an editor, can prove to be useful for aspiring journalists. Overall it's pretty average a read, editors are not writers, not good ones perhaps.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ron Jack

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I'm rating this 5 out of 5 because it stands for what a memoir should be in my mind : strongly opinionated, largely transparent and not playing safe to manage reputation. It definitely would have ruffled some feathers. I enjoyed viewing events in Indian history through Mr Mehta's eyes, such as nda government coming to power, the equation with Sonia Gandhi, and equations with other literary figures such as VS Naipaul and Salman Rushdie (amongst others). Made for a page turning read where you step I'm rating this 5 out of 5 because it stands for what a memoir should be in my mind : strongly opinionated, largely transparent and not playing safe to manage reputation. It definitely would have ruffled some feathers. I enjoyed viewing events in Indian history through Mr Mehta's eyes, such as nda government coming to power, the equation with Sonia Gandhi, and equations with other literary figures such as VS Naipaul and Salman Rushdie (amongst others). Made for a page turning read where you step into the shoes of the author and understand what he did when he did it. Will recommend it for perspective and a point of view, that one may choose for eventually agree with or not.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Akanksha

    Had read this biography by former Outlook editor, Late Vinod Mehta, sometime in 2012. His journey from Lucknow to newsrooms in Delhi is inspiring, not to forget his habit of locking horns with the proprietors making him come up with this tagline: 'here lies the most sacked editor in India'. From dabbling with salacious content during his initial days at Debonair magazine to taking calls for some of the most crucial political stories of the day i.e. Ranjan Bhattacharya-Brajesh Mishra hallowed PMO Had read this biography by former Outlook editor, Late Vinod Mehta, sometime in 2012. His journey from Lucknow to newsrooms in Delhi is inspiring, not to forget his habit of locking horns with the proprietors making him come up with this tagline: 'here lies the most sacked editor in India'. From dabbling with salacious content during his initial days at Debonair magazine to taking calls for some of the most crucial political stories of the day i.e. Ranjan Bhattacharya-Brajesh Mishra hallowed PMO under Vajpayee (2001) & Nira Radia tapes (2011), Vinod Mehta did stand the test of time making him as one of the most respected and affable editors.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Abdul

    I came to know about Vinod Mehta after he passed away and I was introduced to his particularly acerbic but sarcastic style of writing that won me over. I have read dozens of biographies by people from South Asia but this one remains the best that I've read because Mehta was clear, personal and disarming in his writing style. He didn't shy away from controversy and stood by his principles. I read his second book (Editor Unplugged) first and then read this one. I found it to be equally thrilling. I came to know about Vinod Mehta after he passed away and I was introduced to his particularly acerbic but sarcastic style of writing that won me over. I have read dozens of biographies by people from South Asia but this one remains the best that I've read because Mehta was clear, personal and disarming in his writing style. He didn't shy away from controversy and stood by his principles. I read his second book (Editor Unplugged) first and then read this one. I found it to be equally thrilling. What a man, what a life!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Siddharrth Jain

    Am I the only one here who didn't like this read. Yes I repeat, did not, like the read. Strangely enough, the book is highly rated and well reviewed. Mehta, a well acclaimed journalist/editor, flash-lights the 'dirty deeds' of Indian polity, media and just about anybody who he had bumped into. Although he writes well with subtle humour, it gets boring and obvious, towards the second half of the read. Beyond the book, I remember him taking part in one of the debates on The Newshour with Arnab and Am I the only one here who didn't like this read. Yes I repeat, did not, like the read. Strangely enough, the book is highly rated and well reviewed. Mehta, a well acclaimed journalist/editor, flash-lights the 'dirty deeds' of Indian polity, media and just about anybody who he had bumped into. Although he writes well with subtle humour, it gets boring and obvious, towards the second half of the read. Beyond the book, I remember him taking part in one of the debates on The Newshour with Arnab and nonchalantly sipping on whisky, live on air. Anyhow, whatever will be my next read? 📚

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jaideep

    Mr. Mehta weaves a saucy but not bawdy tale of his life. This is imminently readable as it has been written in a manner that turns out to be a page turner in spite of being a biographical account. And it has been aptly titled as a memoir instead of autobiography. Mr. Mehta's self-awareness is something that leaves you identifying with him at so many junctures. Also, his sweeper's wisdom is not only applicable to budding writers/journalists but to all traversing life. Mr. Mehta weaves a saucy but not bawdy tale of his life. This is imminently readable as it has been written in a manner that turns out to be a page turner in spite of being a biographical account. And it has been aptly titled as a memoir instead of autobiography. Mr. Mehta's self-awareness is something that leaves you identifying with him at so many junctures. Also, his sweeper's wisdom is not only applicable to budding writers/journalists but to all traversing life.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Promit

    Having read this book, I realised how human were the journalistic legends that we have grown up hearing and in many cases, admiring. This book is a lively anecdote of evolution of journalism as well as the immortality of the ugly nexus of businessmen, politicians and power brokers. It is funny, brutal, honest, inspiring and revealing. Recommended for everyone, especially journalists.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Vanshika

    I enjoyed every page of this book. It is full of anecdotes political as well as non-political from the life of author, expressed with heart-warming honesty sprinkled with delectable humor. I will re-read this book for it's crisp use of language. I enjoyed every page of this book. It is full of anecdotes political as well as non-political from the life of author, expressed with heart-warming honesty sprinkled with delectable humor. I will re-read this book for it's crisp use of language.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sriramagopalan

    A gently paced read, one that meanders along while keeping you engaged. For those interested in Indian politics and journalistic media scene in the 80s, 90s and 10s, it provides a surface level peek. Has bits of salacious details to add tadka. A quick read for the weekend.

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