When I say last week went by in a happy blur that had nothing to do with the glasses of vintage bubbly consumed, you'd better believe it! It was an important week in my life. And 9th April, an important day. As my friend Rashmi Uday Singh put it on a clever cake she produced - it was the 'De of the Penguin." Not sure how many people got the pun ( how many of you remember 'The Day of the Jackal'?) - but I was totally delighted and didn't really want to cut that terrific chocolate cake in the shape of a book which had the world famous Penguin Books logo on the cover. This was at the celebratory party thrown by John Makinson, the Chairman of Penguin Books, who'd flown in from London to announce the creation of a new imprint - The Shobhaa De Book. Yup. It is considered big deal in the world of international publishing. And it is most certainly a first. So....you can pardon me for bragging just this once. I am on a high. It is every writer's dream to be a Penguin author someday. It was mine, too. It came true . And now, I'll be in the publisher's chair myself!! Full circle .... or what???? I call it 'redocking with the mothership'. Ever since the announcement, closet writers have been crawling out of the woodwork and bombarding me with manuscripts. Of course,there is a story in everyone. But .... hold on.... it's all in the telling, right??
In case you guys are interested in checking out the coverage, our Blogdost Aparna, has very kindly located a few links and posted them in Comments. It was a great party, even if I say so myself. The mogras on my right wrist added to the fragrance....
This appeared in Bombay Times today....
Has Goa lost its groove.....??
I received a call from one of the many bored wives who’d accompanied their husbands to the just concluded Goafest. She was cooped up in her room and wondering what to do with her time. The weather was beastly….and so was her mood. Aw come on, I said – nobody gets bored in Goa. Well, guess what?? These days people do!There are enough old Goa addicts sheepishly confessing that they are done with the beaches and boozing. Goa is no longer the glamourous, gorgeous getaway it once used to be. So…. what happened? Nobody can quite put their finger on when exactly Brand Goa got tarnished, but it would make a fascinating case study for those in the business of deconstructing brands – we need to get to the bottom of the story. Brands are such delicate and slippery commodities – people take years and years to build them, and boom – something slips, and the party’s over almost as soon as it started.
I was thinking of this in the context of three sports personalities – Sania, Tiger Woods and Michael Schumacher .The ‘Shonia’ saga has cost the newly minted Mrs. Malik two major brand endorsements. After all the naach gaana is over, and izzat-honour debates are done with, Sania will be carefully assessed for what she represents in the popular imagination. As of now, her ratings have taken a nosedive. Getting back into the game is not going to be easy. What sort of options does that leave a young woman, who has still to hit her thirties ? While I realize not everybody can be Saint Tendulkar, and lead a blemish free existence , most sports personalities are acutely aware of their limited shelf life and smartly cash in on the big bucks when the going is good. Sachin’s graph in this regard is exceptional by any standards. He started at the top and has remained there, with nobody even close to him in terms of stature. If Sania’s tennis itself is shakey, what is she left with…. what does she do next? Become a sports entrepreneur? Why not? She is sassy, sexy and feisty. I think she should have her own television show – and not restrict it to tennis alone. That would be the smartest way of leveraging her current brand – a bit of defiance, a generous amount of attitude ,loads of chutzpah, and a sharp tongue. A great package for a made-for-television personality. We could do with a few brats out there, in place of pontificating, pompous anchors who bellow and bully their way through shows.
Tiger Woods ki kahani is very different. His swing will have to do all the talking – and it had better talk championships. I am not sure if his shrewd minders were all that smart when they advised him to apologise publicly and go down the “ I am so ashamed of myself road.” He is a sports stud, for God’s sake – not a priest ( ooops – wrong analogy at this point). Whatever happened in the Woods’ marriage should have remained a miya-biwi affair. He needed to beg his wife’s forgiveness – not the world’s. Well, his endorsements will start rolling in once he holds a few major trophies aloft. He knows it. His minders know it, too. Besides, men are judged by an entirely different yardstick . Female athletes\personalities always have it tougher. Ho hum ….. so what else is new??
That leaves Schumi. And I can’t help but think about Madhuri Dixit. Why Madhuri?? Oh…. it’s the big comeback story. Never a good idea for superstars. When they leave at the height of their success – they should stick to the decision. Legends remain legends if they time their exits right. Schumacher has devalued his enviable positioning by signing up for a new season, when clearly he has lost his mojo. Just like Goa. Aaaah – that word. Mojo. It’s like lycra – either you have it or you don’t.