Guys, I wrote this as an exclusive for Hindustan Times. The entire week has been frenetic , thanks to the heavy duty promos around the new book. The road show starts soon, which means I shall be in and out of Mumbai, and missing from this space more than usual. Do bear with me... it is my commitment as a writer to market the book to the best of my abilities. This was something taught to me by Dominique Lapierre after the launch of my first book. "Don't feel shy,'' the veteran advised sagely. "You have spent time and precious energy on this - writing is hard work. If you don't promote your own book, who will?" Wise words. He is right.I have the most at stake - I must go out there and do my best!
One of the pleasures of doing these sort of promos involves the people one gets to me - young journos, photographers, publicists. This time it was my discovery of Uma Kadam - she has just been promoted as the Principal Photographer with the Times of India Group. Believe me, it is a big deal! You'll see her portrait of moi in the Sunday Times tomorrow. I was impressed by this 29- year-old woman's professionalism and positive thinking. Her coverage during 26\11 was so good, her editor, the very reticent Jaideep (Jojo) Bose, and her mentor Hoshi Jal, gave her pictures a great deal of play - those important images desrved very high visibility, and got it. Modest and adorable, Uma has been a press photographer for nine years. She wears her success lightly and does her job minus the slightest fuss. As does another ace photographer I have frequently worked with - Vikram Bawa. Congrats, you guys!
Part -2 of the popular Television show, 'Walk the Talk' with Shekhar Gupta will be telecast on NDTV at 9 30pm tonight. The repeat is tomorrow at 3 30pm. Check it out... and post your candid comments ( I really look forward to them).
I watched 'Wall Street - Money never Sleeps' last night with a great deal of nostalgia and a lump in my throat. The news about Michael Douglas suffering from throat cancer was on my mind, especially since his publicists have announced he won't be able to act again. I don't care what critics say - his older Gordon Gekko is still superbly nuanced - just this side of evil. Look out for the scene in which he dismisses Shia La Beouf with a wave of his hand, saying, "You die your death. I'll die mine." Oooooof! Broke my heart.
Here's the HT piece....
Hum Jab Hongey Saath Saal Ke…
‘Hum Jab Hongey Saath Saal Ke…’ has been my theme song for the past two years. That I sing off key, is another matter.. Asha Bhonsale just turned 77 and celebrated her birthday performing at a rock concert in Singapore. Shabana Azmi joined the Sensational Sixties Club earlier this week and rocked her own party by dancing to the season’s big hit ‘Munni Badnaam Hui…. Darrrrrling tere liye.” Yup. That makes it official. Today’s sixty- year- olds are Item Girls with attitude. And as that delicious strap line for an unhealthy snack goes, ‘I am lovin’ it.’ Far too much is being made of youth, and how wonderful it is to be a part of the under -30 generation these days. You know what? Keep it! Youth, I mean. I swear I’d hate to be a young person in India today. Ooof …. total emotional atyachar, yaar! What can these dudes and dudettes India look forward to… come on, think about it? Unemployment, suicides, corruption, caste issues, communal issues, terror attacks, discrimination, quota systems,double digit inflation…. more corruption? Youth is definitely getting wasted on the young. From the heady sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll hedonism of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s… to this depressing mess??? By comparison, celebrating ones ‘Eksashthi’ ( 61st birthday) sounds positively sexy! I am having the best time of my life as a senior citizen – a far better time than I ever had as a broke, insecure, far-from-accomplished young thing. I mean… come on. Who needs struggle? Who needs the bloody tension of being considered cool or uncool based on the brand of jeans covering ones far from perfect butt? Naah. Youth and all things youthful are totally over rated. I see more worry lines on the faces of twenty something starlets( the bling and botox brigade) than on the 60+ and seriously gorgeous Hema Malini’s calm and contented visage. Dev Anand at well over 80, is a darn sight more stylish and does his sartorial layering with far more finesse than that Shirtless Wonderboy, Salman Khan. And yes, Dev Saab continues to be a chick magnet ( eat your heart out Ranbir, Imran, Shahid and all you other callow fellows). Really.Jawani ki Diwani is a huge, big con. Being jawan in India is a little like being a gay guy in a bordello – the equipment works, but there’s no application. When I look at the collective neuroses that has paralysed this generation of alarmingly young but essentially vague people, I thank my stars I was spared.
No Sir, we really are pretty okay at this age and stage. We have our lines (verbal and physical) in place. And what’s a li’l bit of cellulite idhar udhar between friends and accepting spouses? But that does not give us sleepless nights. We are entitled to our smugness! Our love affairs have always been with human beings not laptops, Blackberries and other gizmos.We lived in the real world, not a virtual one, and men had sex with real partners not Savita Bhabhi . Our communication was face-to-face instead of on facebook. At thirty, we were pretty sorted….we didn’t have to hang around dimly lit clubs waiting to meet some impossibly perfect God or Goddess, who, like Godot, didn’t bother to show up! We settled for the best ‘alliance’ going, moved into rented apartments and didn’t worry about emi’s and other such financial annoyances. We paid our bills with real money, not plastic. And most of our assets were tangible – mother’s gold bangles, father’s Rolex, that kind of stuff. We had the best parties and weddings which were not super productions or ‘events’ marketed by hawks counting every extra orchid and barfi. For our honeymoon, we didn’t think beyond Simla, Darjeeling or even sweet old neighbourhood hill stations like Mahableshwar. Istanbul, Ibiza or Sao Paolo for bachelorette blow outs? Not a chance! We held hands at soppy movies and licked the same ice cream cone by way of erotic symbolism. The ipill didn’t exist, and only bad girls ‘did it’ with their boyfriends.
There were always people with more money, better boobs, fancier cars, bigger homes. But the ‘Lifestyle’ disease had not grown into a lethal, full blown, worldwide virus that it is today. Of course, we died of jealousy when the neighbour bought a Fiat or Ambassador. But we also believed ‘mera number aa jayega’. Impossible is nothing? It’s not as dumb as it first sounds. We were a generation of believers. We naively believed Gordon Gekko when he stated, ‘Greed is good.’ Today’s kids chant ‘Money never sleeps’. Neither do they!
What the young in India need more than almost anything else today is a dream. I am just happy and relieved my generation got to live theirs. Picasso , that randy old goat had grandly declared, “ Youth has no age.”. It so doesn’t.
Botox for the soul, anyone??