Ad Here  
Psephologists fail the wisdom of crowds The death of cash Brick gets pricked 500/500 Sehwag...No soft edges Of mercy petition and mercy killing The curious case of the missing maid Cracking the CA code The car dealer and the cabbie stories… Two leaves merged? The case of the suspicious husband Nitish swords Modi Odd-Even Plan The future is here The other side of the Olympic divide The wily old fox Waylaid on the National Highway Flight into danger WAR-MONGERING and a national pastime Lovely Banking experience From Gungi Gudiya to Iron Lady the lost generation... RaGa bowls a decent over Of discrimination and rights Being taken for a ride The flawed “Pakistan policy” Why we get a compromised deal Noise on Social Networks The return of the muffler man The broken window Privatise the Railways Rajiv killers escape the gallows A ride around the city Britain lobs a bomb. But it won’t explode. The loser is … CRICKET Bleeding Blue Greater than the greatest ? The KING is a fugitive PM Watch What a judgment Sir-ji Editor unplugged The fight along the border The right to reject Resolving disputes: Scotland, Ajit, Dhoni Two more for Modi A judgment that shocked a nation’s conscience Educational shame Throwing ink is fine People vs. Collins End of the world and the moving finger... A troubled fortnight Walking into the sunset FITTING farewell Culture of suave, gentle and British becoming extinct... Modi sells a Dream?
Editor unplugged

When I saw the television scroll “Vinod Mehta dead,” a part of me, sort of disappeared. No I have never met him, nor conversed with him. But I came to like him a great deal, because I thought he was everything that an editor was not.

I haven’t seen him write a tome, definitely not for his magazine. He wrote one pagers and that too of a diary variety. I wondered what kind of editor he was: journalist or administrator. And then he wrote with the kind of clarity, precision, poise and fun, not commonly given to these fussy dud editors.  I got a huge proof of his acumen to write salacious witty stuff on a big-ticket basis when

I read his “Editor Unplugged.” OMG did I enjoy it? You bet.

He scandalised everyone, he included.

Actually when he wrote Lucknow Boy and I must concede that I didn’t read it, I thought, “What rubbish. A journalist, penning an autobiography?” But post Unplugged, I was looking forward to the concluding part of his trilogy that will never come. But someday I am sure I will read Lucknow Boy.

An immigrant from Pakistan, who grew up in Lucknow, Mehta picked a Bachelor of Arts degree, finishing with marks in the 40s that gave him a third class. Then worked as a factory worker in Britain before returning to India to edit a lifestyle magazine. The rest as they are prone to say, is history.

He was fiercely independent. Little wonder, he never got along with his owners. And smaller wonder still, that he either got thrown out or walked out from every publication that he worked in, until God snatched him away. ‘73’ was just too early to go. And that’s not a cliché.  It was remarkable that the magazine that he edited for long, Outlook, carried myriad letters from the reader abusing the magazine or its editor. It tickled me no end that the man published large quantities of it, keeping the bouquets few and far between.

He carried controversy on his shoulders. Boy who can forget the cover story on match fixing, on Afzal Guru, or the one of Radia Tapes that had the whole of India up in arm? On a television channel he defended Tarun Tejpal.  He was that type. Fearless.

I remember the way the magazine was marketed when it launched some 20 years ago. It promised an annual subscription for a song and threw a few gifts by the side. An editor friend of mine said, he was seduced by it and wondered whether his magazine owner would also do something similar to sell copies. I am sure Vinod Mehta would not have loved the agro, but then those days, editing was a different department and marketing was a different department. Alas these days, the two have merged.

In his own inimitable style, he had a swagger. You could see that on television shows where his tall body crouched in lazy laid back style. A self-proclaimed Congress chamcha, his twitter handle was interestingly named @DrunkVinodMehta.

Outlook magazine must be complimented for coming out with 15 pages of stuff on Mehta, penned by different writers. The compliments are touching. Way to go, Mehta. Pun unintended.

Author :
Reported On :
Sector :
Shoulder :
IE, the business magazine from south was launched in 1968 and pioneered business journalism in south. Through the 45 years IE has been focusing on well-presented and well-researched articles. When giants in the industry stumbled to keep pace with the digital revolution, IE stayed affixed embracing technology.
Read more
Economist Communications Ltd is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected.
Read more
You agree that your use of this Website and the purchase of the magazine will be governed by these terms and conditions.
Read more
S-15, Industrial Estate,
Chennai - 600 032.
PHONE: +91 44 22501236