One fine morning, when I was sleeping, A T Jayanti, who claimed was the editor of Deccan Chronicle and The Asian Age, called me up and said, she wanted me to write a column for her books page. My answer was: "I don't think I could do that." But she persisted and said: "Give it a try." I agreed.
For around 25 weeks the column appeared, and one fine day, Jayanti called me up and said: "Enough is enough, high time you stopped it." Why? "In fact, wasn't I getting damn good responses?"
She never gave a good explanation. One of the plausible reasons I could arrive at was that I had criticised a crappy book written by a certain kid called Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan. Now, she and her family are well connected. (Do a Google search, in case you want to know, how.) I came to know all these from Jayanti's own colleagues, who detest her like hell, and are unhappy with her ways of functioning. "So be it", I said. "Who the hell cares?" Anyway the column was not my idea.
Then came the surprise, bingo, one Sunday. My column has been replaced by, guess who, the Reddy girl.
I came to know about that from a reader from Chennai, because I had stopped reading The Asian Age since M J Akbar was unceremoniously ousted.
Well, this is what my friend from Chennai had to say:
I'm just seething after reading that piece of pedestrian shit dished out in the DC ..... the replacement for your column. Gosh its absolute drivel. No language to speak of, no book sense, no nothing. I wouldnt insult a child by calling it childish - its worse than the worst essay written by a low grade student. The vocab is silly. As to an idea, it just isnt there. What next?? Are we going to have Mills & Boons featured please??? I am tearing angry. Just tearing angry. Am now minus one more piece to read in that paper.
Well, who said the world's a fair place eh?! :-( Obviously you havent 'cultivated' or 'capitalized' i guess!!
Can you tell me where else you write a column - for any other publication? I do miss your column. The incisive brainy analysis, the total command over the language, the hard work that is evident when you draw from multiple readings to get your thoughts home, your real love and feel for books and that special world. You take us there, my friend. Still remember where you wrote about the smell of a new book .... hmmm...
Look, you're an original. Stay so. Just walk away from this goddam mediocrity and keep doing what you do .... you have your own crowd rooting for you and the truth you bring in with your writing.