True, there is no 'printed invitation' for the Puri book launch. The invitation came to me via Mita Kapoor, a good friend from Jaipur, who said she is Nandita's literary agent and wanted me to attend the function. The venue mentioned was the Grand Maratha. That's a mere detail.
Frankly, this whole 'public spat' in print between Om and Nandita is beginning to read like the other, equally sensationalistic stunt staged by Malaika Arora and her husband Arbaz, which talked about their 'separation'. That had turned out to be a poorly scripted p.r. strategy to promote a product they were endorsing as a couple. The idea was for Arbaz to 'propose' to his wife on stage and remarry her. Well, it backfired on both. And Malaika's assignments swiftly dried up.
Loss of credibility comes with a huge price tag.
I have all the respect in the world for Om. I remember being on a London-Mumbai flight with him a few years ago, and was most impressed by his modesty and genuine passion for his craft. It would be a great pity if he has indeed gone along with this strategy to promote his wife's book. Om's admirers will not think less of him for those early sexapades, whether with maids or co-stars. But they will feel letdown if his 'rage and shock' at the contents of the book turn out to be marketing gimmicks and nothing more.
I am really sick and tired of 'explaining' my position vis- a -vis Raj Thackeray. Let me state it flatly and for the last time right here : I am NOT his supporter. I do NOT endorse his methods. And I WILL condemn his party's thinking and actions whenever required. What took place in the Maharashtra assembly was a well thought out plan that made headlines for both - Abu Azmi and Raj. Both must be laughing all the way to the bank at having manipulated the media so smoothly. I said so on 'Times Now' the same night . But... and this is an important 'but' - equally,I will NOT be bullied and pushed into condemning Raj (or anybody else) at each and every stage, and for each and everything , just to 'satisfy' various pressure groups who have their own twisted agendas. As a consistently independent, liberal voice, I will continue to speak my mind, regardless of reactions from various interested parties determined to give a perverse interpretation to every utterance and column. From the word go, my position has been very clear - whether it involves Mayawati, Raj or Narendra Modi. These are the players - they are here to stay. This is what they stand for. This is who they are. These are their words. And these, their actions. Deal with it. I see it as my job to document change as it happens. And write about people who drive that change. Period.Unless we acknowledge what is happening around us in a democracy, how can we address issues related to such phenomena?? Even to deal effectively with ones worst enemy, it is important to understand his\her psyche first. To blank such a person out, is to run away from reality. Plus, it serves no purpose. Today, it is Raj. Tomorrow, it could be someone else. Another bete noire. Another monster. What will we do with such a person? Wish him\her away ? Or ask ourselves why such a person has come up in the first place? What is it about our politics that gives birth and legitimacy to individuals who challenge all that civil society stands for? We must speak up. Silence is not the solution.