Friday, 23 September 2011

Books on Buddhism and Hindu Puranas
A unique and rare collection of theoretical and practical Buddhism by leading scholars like Edward Conze and Lama Anagarika Govinda and  scholarly translations, - nearly 400books. Also a complete set of Hindu Puranas; a tale of birth and life story of Vishnu  in various Avatars. Hardback collectors item. See listing at Amazon.com - more to come:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/shops


Monday, 8 October 2007

My Gifted Friend Cheryl Braganza


I have been blogging about mid 1960s when I arrived in England after an arduous sometimes frightening hitch-hiking journey by road from India. One of the friendships of that era I remember and cherish was with the gifted poet and painter Cheryl Braganza at Onslow Gardens in South Kensington. I remember her as a petite and beautiful young lady with an exotic background. Born and brought up in Lahore in pre-independence India, her family owned a hotel opposite the railway station, appropriately called the Braganza Hotel. Cheryl studied in Rome, music in London and went on to Canada where she made a name for herself as a painter, motivated during her days in London after she met Francis Newton Souza, our recently-deceased Indian icon. We used to sit for hours in the local eatery serving fish fingers and tea and talked about writers we liked or hated. Cheryl reminds me that I introduced her to Sylvia Plath’s poetry and she commemorated that with a painting entitled 'Sylvia's Tulips' done in 1996. Here is a link to some of her paintings

http://www.picturetrail.com/cherylbraganza

and a further link to the McGill University International Women’s Day Newsletter where two of her more recent paintings are shown:

http://www.mcgill.ca/files/mcrtw/March07Newsletter.pdf

I would very much like to showcase some of her fine poems at my website at:

https://asiamajor.wordpress.com/reviews/

If she permits me I would like her to write about her recent brave struggle with serious illness and how she has overcome it with a fighter’s positive attitude.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Remembering Anil Saari


My dear friend Anil Saari Arora, an eminent Cine-theorist, cine-critic in India
died after a 6 month of unbearable suffering with stomach cancer in October 2005. He and I kept up a correspondence using e-mail and he presented me with his latest output of poetry which was prolific and ranged from trite to sublime Here is the obituary & an appreciation which I wrote about him, and was printed in the memorial volume published for an exhibition of paintings held in memory of him by his close artist friends in New Delhi. I was too ill myself in a coastal town in England and could not attend. Here is my assessment of Anil Saari’s life and work.
Also remember to read some of his fine cine criticisms at Crimson Feet website:
http://magazine.crimsonfeet.org/auteur10.html

Sunday, 30 September 2007

Hacks And Headlines - A Novel By Rashme Sehgal

I was asked to review a first novel by my dear friend Rashme Sehgal, Hacks & Headlines. It is no accident she was married to my dearest friend Anil Saari. Rashme started her career in the 1970s as a poet and short story writer. She moved to journalism and went on to work for several leading Newspapers including The Independent, The Telegraph, The Times of India. Some of the landmark events she has covered during her journalistic career have been the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley; the destruction of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. the Kargil War, and more recently, the Taj Corridor scam.
She is currently working as a columnist for the Asian Age and working on an ambitious second novel integrating the Mahabharata into a present day story.
Here is my non-literary assessment of her brave first novel:
http://www.asia-major.com/reviews/TRK/rashmesehgal.html

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

I have not been deliberately slow in adding to my blog. I suffer bitterly from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and have been unable to maintain my blog. Some of my time has been taken up by building a new website appropriately called www.asia-major.com and ultimate one stop resource centre on all things Indian. Wait and you will not be disappointed.

Meanwhile if anyone has experience of CFS as an illness and have found a treatment, please let me know!

Saturday, 15 September 2007

I love India

I was born in India but have lived in England for the past 42 years, having travelled here by road with no money in my pocket, and had a biblical finish in Paris on the 40th day. All I want to do is share my feelings for India with you out there - and give you rich links to the world that is contemporary India: tourism, Hotels, history and so on. I will provide a rich links to all manners of India related sites, including its literature and poetry, its mythology, and making a leap its advances in IT technology and science in general. I will chatter away about my absent and dead friends, showcase their talent (copyright permitting)... take an excursion to swankiest restaurants and then talk about Bollywood stars. Wait for the India riches to rain on you all.

PLEASE link to this Blog :
http://asia-major.blogspot.com

Thank you for now

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Name Dropping On Friends

Name dropping on Friends: Chagall, Kandinsky, Laxman Pai, K.S. Kulkarni and V.S.

GVK ,. You refer to a lot of Coffee house friends including V.S, the painter. You made me reminisce even more about my year or so in Delhi as a reporter. I met V.S and a multitude of aspiring painters most of whom avoided the Coffee House but gathered in a dark carnivorous (not cavernous) upstairs cafe called I think Anarkali . I had the first taste of lamb meat in this august place. There was Swami Nathan, the elder; Inderjit. R.K. Dhawan, the three names I can remember. I broke my Brahmanic vows and tucked into a lamb curry and proceeded to throw up soon after. I also had my first taste of whisky among these devil-may-care addicts. V.S had the urbane good looks of an East European playboy, with his broad Slavic face and abundant hair, his smart pseudo-peasant clothes which were then fashionable. Chain smoking cigarettes that one rolled oneself were in vogue, and the little upstairs room in Anarkakli was often dense with tobacco smoke and smell. Painters were struggling to define a new individual and collective idiom, with little help from their elders. Talk was about Venice Biennale, of Beaux Arts in Paris (premier college of Fine Arts in Europe) and indeed about the influence of Marc Chagall, Wassily Kandinsky, Giacometti, Fernand L├ęger, Georges Braque, Raoul Dufy on young Indian painters. Jamini Roy’s works and Kalighat renaissance had come and gone, as had temporary passion for cubism. American painters like Rothko were rarely discussed. There was the perpetual love hate relationship with the elders of the tribe; Francis Souza who was enviously successful in London, Laxman Pai in Paris, and K.S Kulakarni lording it over Triveni, a modern New Delhi elite gallery funded by the government. The elders never paid Anarkali a visit.

V.S heard from me that I was headed for Europe with no money, but optimism and dreams. I had not realised that I was becoming a mini legend even before I had departed . I did not know then he would follow me to England , taking the easier route of travelling to Istanbul on a prepaid coach trip and then on what became the Orient express to London within 3 months of my arrival in London.

GVK, he did work in the mail room of Indian High Commission and spent his lunch hours chatting with me in my niche isolation as a photo librarian, I am afraid these conversations were very much one-sided, since V.S was in love with the only daughter of a famous Indian historian who was studying Socio-anthropology at London School of Economics. He may well have said: “Being in love is a 24-hour job; it’s impossible to be in love and do much else at the same time”. They did get married and had two children , although sadly the marriage did not last. V.S now lives in salubrious Regents Park and wanders the streets and the park with a sketch pad and crayons in his shoulder bag, idly drawing what he sees of the multilingual affluent residents of his parish. His lines are fluent and deft and speak of a promise not quite delivered. Very often curious subjects, flattered by his bold attention end up buying these instant sketches.

He never had the success he craved for as a painter. He used to visit my London home unannounced with a bottle of wine dying to tell me of his latest love affair with a 21 year old Scandinavian beauty he met in a cafe, a pub, the bus stop or the park. He seemed to unable to tell the difference between love and sexual attraction. There was something youthful and touchingly sweet if naive in his need to be perpetually in a state of love with someone. He spends his year wandering around Europe, visiting his old flames and often goes to India like an earnest pilgrim in love with its cultural wealth and its iconic outposts and its historical ruins. His last visit left V.S deeply disappointed, even upset by what he saw as public squalor and private wealth, and tawdry commercialisation of religious institutions. V.S’s pride was the fact that he had been tutored in a Hindu Gurukul in the foothills of the Himalayas, in classic Vedic tradition. He had always seen this place in a romantic hue as a paradigm of Hindu culture. He was equally disappointed by his erstwhile theatre friends who had now become part of a well guarded institution, with a code of conduct and etiquette of public behaviour which V.S did not share. We remain friends and I always look forward to his unannounced visit (looking more like a weathered Mexican shaman than a Slavic playboy) with pleasure and apprehension.

GVK, re connecting with old and absent friends is a great good fortune and I hope you will find Satish, Sushil Nangia, Speedy (S P Dutt), easier now in the days of the Internet. I have a story to tell of how I found my dearest school and university friend Joe who retired as an Air Force officer, after 42 years of remembering and searching for him. That can wait for another day of blogging.


Previous related Blogs of B2B-K-K (Kini-Krishnan)


G.V.Krishnan, my gifted friend and his blogsite

A blog-to-blog chat with my friend Kini

Blogging It Out With My Friend Kini

B2B: Our Fleet St. Days'

Remembering Mr. Chandra in Fleet Street

Blog Magic: How Irfan Reconnected With Kini

B2B: Recover soon, Kini

The Sixties: A New Renaissance

B2B with K : My indebtedness, to Satish, Subash

B2B with K : Of crossover book and a cross-country trip

B2B with K: Kabul in the hippy, happier days

The Journey Begins

B2B with K: My take on the names you dropped...

B2B with K: Leaving London, home-bound

Thursday, 1 February 2007

Why did you return to India?

My friend GVK has finished his response in B2B with K : My indebtedness, to Satish, Subash with several intriguing questions unanswered. GVK what did you think of the 60s renaissance? Did you feel a part of it? Did it excite you? Did you sense a new cultural and political paradigm shift in the mid sixties England?

The second question is why did you leave England and return to India when virtually tens and thousands were even risking their lives to come and live in England?

Finally, I had completely forgotten that you returned to India overland in a 12 seater minibus – a daring thing to do, considering you were walking on the wild side in Afghanistan where the warlords habitually kidnapped European travellers and kept them as slaves. Tell us more: You have enough material for several long blogs to explain.


Previous related Blogs of B2B-K-K (Kini-Krishnan)

G.V.Krishnan, my gifted friend and his blogsite

A blog-to-blog chat with my friend Kini

Blogging It Out With My Friend Kini

B2B: Our Fleet St. Days'

Remembering Mr. Chandra in Fleet Street

Blog Magic: How Irfan Reconnected With Kini

B2B: Recover soon, Kini

The Sixties: A New Renaissance

B2B with K : My indebtedness, to Satish, Subash




Tuesday, 30 January 2007

The Sixties: A New Renaissance

The Sixties: A New Renaissance

GVK is well ahead of me in our B2B dialogue. I lack his skills honed over 4 decades and moreover my state of health is like a dried up well with no resources left to use. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a punishing illness, and sadly it is a collective term for a group of symptoms and not a diagnosis in itself. GVK is right about the power of blogging. I can well understand how compulsive this can be. I have had several avid readers of GVK’s blog write to me wishing me well in beating my illness.

One of them happened to be Irfan Khan who was my generous colleague during my year as a cub reporter in The Patriot, a fiercely left wing English Language Daily which started publication in 1963. Irfan does not remember me, but GVK describes how I was “gobasmacked” (utterly astounded is the web dictionary meaning, GVK) when Irfan drove me one morning down India Gate, to the splendid residence of the Zakir Hussain, then the Vice President of India. Zakir Hussain, in classical a moslem Aristocrat–savant attire came in to the lounge and greeted each one of us with the customary hug and a kiss on the cheek. This was followed by tea served in an elegant tea service by footmen in livery Foremost in my mind was the thought “if only my parents could see this now! I am having tea in Rashtrapathi Bhavan with the Vice President of India! They would not believe it”. I had little further contact with Irfan, the well connected Prince among poor reporters. It was his elegant appearance that led us all to call him Prince Irfan. I am sure he continues to impress all those who came in contact with him.

Reading our B2B exchanges I cannot help worrying if there is a readership for this sort of mutual nostalgia-fest beyond the two of us, unless the characters we talk about are so universally compelling, that a typical reader of these blogs recognizes an archetypal human being in all his squalid glory. This exchange has further immersed me in to a reverie about the 1960s, a renaissance age, of the Beatles, Transcendental meditation, flower children, free love, anti nuclear protests at Aldermaston, continuing sorrow at the assassination of John Kennedy.

I arrived in the UK days before the Labour party won a landslide victory in the general elections and Harold Wilson became the prime minister. Those of us who arrived in the UK without a work permit but allowed in with no limit on our stay by trusting and generous immigration officers were more than a bit apprehensive about our future stay in England. Labour party’s victory gave us all a cause to celebrate: I recall going to the local pub in Shepherds Bush all on my own and seeing several middle aged Sikh gentlemen in turbans celebrating with pints of warm British ale. They bought me rounds of drinks which I was not able to reciprocate; but I remember staggering out of the pub late in the evening towards the Sikh Gurudwara on Sinclair Road where I had provisionally been given a floor space to sleep on. It needed unbelievable levels of optimism to have no money, no place of one’s own, and yet foray out each evening to a club in the hope of finding a lady companion to spend the evening with.

I recall visiting GVK in his tiny bed sitter in Bayswater, a salubrious enclave full of mean bed sitters in splendid colonnaded neo classical houses on wide avenues . He shared it with a mutual friend I shall call Satish using two bunk beds as in a ship. I had no inkling that within 5 years I would be married, with a child; no longer a writer but a business man owning one of the magnificent houses in Hyde Park square. Soon enough I found a more permanent French girl friend called Huguette from south western France who sheltered me from the disapproving eyes of her landlady by managing to smuggle me in for overnight stays. We spent long late evenings in basement coffee bars listening the Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and of course the Beatles. The sixties optimism soon evaporated when Harold Wilson turned out to be not a visionary saviour in the mould of Kennedy but a manipulative cynical And cunning politician. Trade Unions were all powerful king makers in the background with their surreptitious hands on the levers of power.

I saw less and less of GVK as he had gone to work for the Northern Echo as a sub editor in a grim northern city called Darlington. I was having too good a time in London to consider the monastic rigours of living in a cold northern town just to get in on a career ladder. I cultivated casual louche look, dressed in obligatory corduroy trousers and jacket, and a polo neck sweater to match. I grew my hair, long Beatles style and went to parties where I would find myself sitting on the window sill with Madhur Jaffrey, Syed her then husband, Francis Souza, Roshan Seth, a young unknown actor then, and dozens of aspiring writers and poets all dressed somewhat like me. I had long since stopped writing, but carried on with the make believe “devil-may-care” appearance of one.

GVK came down to London from time to time and we found ourselves once again in a dimly lit gloomy pub which matched our mood. We had a little more money in our pocket to buy several rounds. We sat for hours saying very little to each other with GVK answering me in monosyllables to my long hopeful soliloquies. He also smoked incessantly. GVK I saw in India in Chennai in 1996 was a totally different person: articulate, talkative, almost holding court on subjects that interested him. GVK of late 1960s seemed profoundly depressed and already planning to leave England for good and go back to India. This was an extraordinary decision considering the thousands who would have given a fortune to swap places with GVK. He would have to refresh my memory if I have inadvertently misrepresented the events or read too much into them. More to follow on the sixties>>>

Previous related Blogs of B2B-K-K (Kini-Krishnan)

G.V.Krishnan, my gifted friend and his blogsite

A blog-to-blog chat with my friend Kini

Blogging It Out With My Friend Kini

B2B: Our Fleet St. Days'

Remembering Mr. Chandra in Fleet Street

Blog Magic: How Irfan Reconnected With Kini

Friday, 26 January 2007

Remembering Mr. Chandra in Fleet Street

What a deft portrait that my friend GVK has drawn of Shroff Saab who could be a great character in a Naipaul or even better a Prawer Jhabawala story, a person beached and stranded like a whale which lost its way. I must confess that I have the vaguest memories of this phantasmagorical character and it could not have been me who told GVK in Chennai in 1996 of Shroff Saab’s passing away.

We met another sad character, Mr. Chandra who was –if my recall is right – London correspondent of the Punjab daily The Tribune.. Also dressed in a 3 piece suit, fair skinned with a shining dome of a head, Chandra could have been an actor playing a kindly chairman of a conglomerate. Chandra loved reminiscing about his heydays when he had a large office just off Fleet street with a large staff and assignments to match. Chandra was in dire straits financially and hung around Indian Weekly offices in the hope of a crumb, - a messenger job, a coin or two, or just cup of coffee from Asoke. I grew up in a family with a passion for wisdom which only elders seem capable of giving and Chandra personified every characteristic I wished to see in a wise elder. Chandra told me how he was part of the press corpus as an accredited embedded reporter in the British army in Abyssinia in North Africa marching on Mussolini’s front; how he knew Nehru and Krishna Menon personally as friends, how he ran a well staffed bureau in London. His employers had now disbanded the Bureau and cut loose its chief. I insisted on visiting Chandra and discovered that he lived in a six by ten bed sitter above a smelly Indian grocery shop in Grafton street off Tottenham Court Road. Here the first Bangladeshi and Indian immigrants started opening little businesses and restaurants, including some fabled names like the self service Punjabi cafe whose name I have forgotten; the Agra, the Nataraj, Kwality restaurant. I almost always bought Chandra half a bitter in the local dimly lit pub which was all I could afford and listened to stories of his hey days with rapt attention. I discovered much later that his family back home in India were unaware of his parlous state; and when alerted by Dr. Basu, came and took him back to India, hopefully cared for him till the end. I have no doubt that GVK’s memories of Chandra are more detailed and accurate and would be a pleasure to read.


I did not work for India Weekly for as long as GVK or Subhash Chopra since my own fate intervened and found me working for the Indian High Commission as a photo librarian. I became the butt of jealousy and bullying by my fellow workers –mostly Punjabi. Unlike the rest, I had a room to myself and thousands of shiny black & white unsorted breathtakingly historical archive of photos under my care. Imagine photos of Mahatma Gandhi in London in his loin cloth attire; Churchill and Nehru with a beautifully suited Krishna Menon hovering in the background, various Indian diplomatic elite like B.K.Nehru in dapper double-breasted suits. These were mostly sent to schools all over the UK for children to do projects on India .I quickly learned to associate names of towns with appropriate counties which has stayed with me till today.



My immediate boss was the Salman Haider (a Cambridge educated career diplomat who became India’s Foreign Secretary for a short while) who was impressed with my CV and the fact that I had not taken the lazy route to England . I knew his own friends like the Oxford-educated poet Adil Jussawalla, and well known painter Lancelot Ribeiro, younger brother of Francis Souza. The person who unwittingly introduced me to Salman Haider and his boss was Iqbal Singh who was then the London correspondent of the newly found English Language daily, the Patriot where I had worked for over a year.


I have little to say about Iqbal, except that I had held him in such high esteem, since in my mind he had lived in Europe all his adult life and come to know some mighty legendary writers like Raja Rao, Andre Malreaux, Margueritte Duras and epitomised a Anglo-Indian literary culture that I aspired to join. It seemed however he was embarrassed by my presence, and tried to avoid having to give me kindly advice and help which I expected. It was just a coincidence that the First Secretary of the Ministry of Information ran into Iqbal and me in the corridors of India House and took an instant interest in my adventurous hitch-hiking trip from New Delhi to London and offered me a job on the spot. I understand that Iqbal, unable to sustain himself in the UK returned to India in the 1980s.


GVK would no doubt correct me on a number of statements I have extracted from my foggy memory. More to follow>>>



Previous related Blogs of B2B-K-K (Kini-Krishnan)


G.V.Krishnan, my gifted friend & his blogsite

A blog-to-blog chat with my friend Kini

Blogging It Out With My Friend Kini

B2B: Our Fleet St. Days'

Remembering Mr. Chandra in Fleet Street

Shroff Saab of Carmelite St



Wednesday, 24 January 2007

B2B: Our Fleet St. Days'

B2B: Our Fleet St. Days

Recalling our days of friendship and collaboration in the mid sixties London, GVK forgot to mention that India Weekly brought out by a media oligarch Dr, Tarapada Basu (an avuncular manipulator of human resources) was sited in the famous Fleet street. I am grateful for the fact that I arrived and worked in the legendary street when it was still thriving. I recall that the minute one entered the street north of Strand with its august buildings, one was plunged in to Dickensian London with the acrid smell of printers ink and the news print which got under your skin. India Weekly was tucked away on a small narrow arterial side street called Carmelite street overlooking the back yard of – I think the Daily Mail. The street was constantly blocked with giant lorries wheeling in rolls of news print. The local pubs where we retreated frequently were dim and dirty but the bitter beer was like tonic. Our favourite was the dingiest of them all called the Coger. Here we met typesetters and all the printing associated tradesman, fervent if lazy supporters of their trade union called the Chapel . These were generous folk and often bought us rounds of drinks unsolicited. The bosses and editors naturally did not frequent these pubs. Their venue was El Vinos, the legendary wine bar frequented by media giants like Lord Cecil King and Hugh Cudlip of the Mirror newsgroup. I eventually got a look in on this exclusive place in the company of Asoke who knew every bibulous journalist by their first name.

Back to 4 Carmelite street which was presided over by Dr. Basu who kept yelling for his secretary, side kick, ghost writer, coffee maker, Asoke. Dr.Basu believed in being unkind to be kind, a perverse way of relating to other human beings. Dr. Basu was physically intimidating: well built with a generous girth, covered in an expensive 3 piece suit.

Our greatest memory is the friendship that Asoke extended to us unconditionally. I remember my first visit to his generously proportioned apartment in Tottenham court road which impressed us no end, as we ourselves as unmarried bachelors lived in oppressively small bed sitters often in bed bunks two to a room. I recall Asoke had beautiful reprints of Jamini Roy paintings on his walls and even a fully tuned Sitar. He would offer to cook us the Bengali mixed vegetable curry called Niramish which used five Indian condiments in a highly heated wok and the magic dish with a plate of rice would be ready to eat in ten minutes. I cherish these memories of time spent with Asoke who would never let you buy a drink, whilst running a “slate” with the pub landlord, which Asoke did not have the means to settle at the end of the week. He would then cajole the landlord who also acted as Asoke’s Bank Manager to extend him further credit. Changing pubs for a while or wearing an over-sized raincoat with the lapels turned up as one scurried along the narrow street past the Coger was a familiar technique.

One other friend who was a contributor to India Weekly was my fellow hitch hiking companion Subhash Chopra, a brilliant journalist to his finger tips. He and GVK always seemed to get plum reporting assignments like interviewing film stars like Dev Anand as my over-literary style of writing consigned me to producing pieces on philosophical subjects like a hagiography on the literary style of Raja Rao and compare him with Laurence Durrell. No need for me to add whose contributions were much read and talked about in the Indian community who bought the Weekly. More memories to follow>>>>>

Previous related Blogs of B2B-K-K (Kini-Krishnan)

G.V.Krishnan, my gifted friend & his blogsite

A blog-to-blog chat with my friend Kini

Blogging It Out With My Friend Kini

B2B: Our Fleet St. Days'

B2B piece on Basu

A Further chat at Desicritics from GVK

My friend GVK has obviously thought he needs to encourage me out of my sloth and commence our Blog to Blog chat and has done a interesting piece at Desicritics Blogging it out with my frind Kini -

He has no need to be contrite about not answering my annual round robin New Year Greetings. I an happy enough that blogging has reconnected us. I am a believer in friendships however or whenever formed as they are precious and worth nurturing.

GVK responds

My friend GVK has kindly responded to my posting about our days in the 1960s London, inviting me to enter in to a Blog to Blog (B2B) chat, and inspite of my illness, I have decided to engage. Here is what he says:

January 20, 2007

A blog-to-blog chat with my friend Kini

My UK- based friend Kini,T R, has said some nice things about me in his blog. This is my pay-back piece. This way, he would need to access this blog to find out what I say about him. A b-chat between us, to be of interest to anyone else, ought to be more than an ego-cast. I would like to think this exchange isn't just a mutual back-scratching exercise. By this I don’t mean we adopt a reality TV mode in our b-exchanges.

Kini’s blog piece triggered nostalgia juice in me. He spoke of our co-editing of the Afro-Asian Echo in London of the sixties. Those were the days, when most young men in Delhi with a college degree looked towards the UK, if they failed to get into the IAS or find a covenanted company job, or,if they couldn’t become a college lecturer (as a stop-gap arrangement). Getting a work permit for England was easy those days for folks from Commonwealth countries.

Kini and I landed in London around the same time (May 1964?), though by different means. I took a boat from Bombay to Genova; and from there, a train (later day edition of the famed Orient Express) to London. And Kini, with a friend (Subash Chopra) hitch-hiked it all the way. I wish he blogs about it sometime in Gateway to India.
(Edit:He did, here it is)
Afro-Asian Echo, as Kini said, was founded ‘on uncertain financial premises’; and folded within six months. Designed to serve the Afro-Asian community in England and Europe, the fortnightly Echo evoked, while it lasted, considerable interest in the African immigrant community. So much interest, in fact, that we once had a bunch of them Africans barging into my cabin to threaten us for having written an editorial, disaagreeably titled – OAU: Myth of African Unity.

Kini mentions Adil Jussawala and Farukh Dhondy (Is he still associated with Channel 4, Kini ?) who were commissioned to write for us. Would like to drop another famous name here, late Dom Moraes, whom I met, courtesy Kini. Incidentally, he was instrumental in introducing Leela Naidu (remember the old-time movies – Yeh Rasthe Hain Pyar Ke, the Householder?)to Dom Moraes. Leela used to work with Kini and me at India Weekly, brought out by a bunch of London-based journalists.

It was a labour of love for Ms Naidu. India Weekly paid us, Kini and me, subsistence wages that we cheerfully accepted. The other option for me, at that stage, was joining the dole queue. Would you know, Kini, the current whereabouts of Ashoke Gupta, who worked with us at India Weekly ? And, of its promoters such as Mr Iqbal Singh and Mr H S Gourisaria ?

Wouldn’t it be nice, if we could sustain this b-chat? We might even reconnect with some old friends.

Saturday, 20 January 2007

G.V.Krishnan, my gifted friend & his blogsite

What better way to spend your retirement than write your own blog from your own blogsite? My old friend GVKrishnan, now settled in Mysore does it with a difference at his blogsite http://mymysore3.blogspot.com/ - I am envious of his prolific output and his engaging no-nonsense outspoken analysis of socio-political issues in India. There is a real treasure trove of his work on his blogsite since his retirement as the Chief Correspondent of Times of India in Chennai. GVK certainly does not suffer from proverbial writers block.

My generous and gifted friend and I go back a long way when we co-edited a fortnightly magazine called Afro Asian Echo in London in 1966. The magazine was founded on uncertain financial promises and promptly folded after six months. We proudly commissioned now celebrated writers like Adil Jussawalla, the poet, and Farukh Dhondy, the media guru, to write for us. Celebrated photographer Fershed Bharucha did the photo shoots for us and Mala Sen, known now for her book on the Bandit Queen posed for a cover picture for our aspiring magazine. I still have numerous copies of this journal and often indulge in a bit of nostalgia turning over the pages.

I last met up with GVK in Chennai in 1996 and we adjourned from his office to a fellow journalist in the Statesman. This generous friend promptly produced a bottle of good whiskey and conversation flowed.

I hope his blogs which often amount to a full blown piece fit for an op-ed place in any major English Language daily would get the widest audience it richly deserves. He has also written for Zine5.com – a quality online magazine. See:

http://www.zine5.com/interactive/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1347

GVK’s output is also available to read from an excellent India Blogsites aggregator like www.desicritics.org