Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tireless journalist

Humra Quraishi discovers the lesser known facts of India’s oldest serving journalist Khushwant Singh with whom she co-authored a book.

Khushwant Singh is, of course, a well-known name. But what makes him unique is that, today, he is possibly India’s oldest working journalist. At 95, he works as if he were still in his 40s, producing two weekly columns, an assortment of book reviews, and books at regular intervals. Recently, I co-authored a book with him entitled, Absolute Khushwant. But that’s not all. His next novel is expected to hit the stands before the year ends. Here is a man who continues to engage with the world: Read, write, and speak out.

The first time I met Khushwant was in the early 80s, when he was the editor-in-chief of ‘The Hindustan Times’ in Delhi. I was looking for a job. Polite as always, he offered me tea and cookies. The job, however, was not forthcoming! Much later, we were to meet again. This time I had a job  and had been assigned to do a feature on celebrity bedrooms. Without taking a prior appointment, I went over to Khushwant’s apartment situated at Sujan Singh Park, just a short distance from Delhi’s India Gate which, incidentally, was constructed by his grandfather, Sir Sobha Singh. Introducing me to his wife, Kaval, he took me on a tour of his home. Every little detail was carefully recounted, each piece of furniture — each chair, sofa, bed — accounted for. So honest and evocative was this account, that I began to see the home in a new light and came to realise the central role it played in his life. There are, as a teenager may put it, good vibes about the place that you can sense the moment you enter the front door.

Full report here Deccan Herald

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