I’m changing the heading:
Robert De Niro’s Chaperone raped by editor of Tehelka
The first person account of the victim
I am reproducing the letter the 24-year-old lady journalist wrote to her Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhri.I am not adding any comments:
On the night of 7th November 2013, the opening night of Tehelka’s Think festival, I had discharged my duties for the day as the chaperone for Mr Robert De Niro. As it was Mr De Niro and his daughter’s first night in Goa and at the festival, my editor in chief Mr Tarun Tejpal accompanied Mr De Niro, Drena De Niro (his daughter) and I to Mr De Niro’s suite to wish him goodnight. (As his chaperone, my work was to be available all day to Mr De Niro and Drena, take them sightseeing, make sure they were well looked after in Goa and at the Hyatt – until they retired to their suite at night. )
As we left the suite, Mr Tejpal and I were in conversation — I have known him since I was a child, he had worked closely with my father who was also a journalist, and after my father’s accident Mr Tejpal had always been a paternal figure to me. He was responsible for offering me my first job, and was always just a phone call away whenever I needed his advice on a story or life. His daughter, Tiya Tejpal and I are very close friends as well.
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Book Review: On the eve of Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement, I review a book about another ‘Nawab of Cricket’ who too played and retired at his own terms.
Though I am not a cricket buff, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi has always fascinated me.
He was the Nawab of Pataudi, or, Tiger or Tyg to friends. This is why I picked up “Pataudi, Nawab of Cricket”, a book edited by Suresh Menon with, a foreword by Sharmila Tagore.
Here was a real Nawab, though without the privy purses and the title, but with a definite air of royalty. I’d even thought of Pataudi when Padmini Kolhapure planted a kiss on the cheek of Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.
His marriage to Sharmila Tagore interested me. Here was a true-blue Nawab, who was marrying an actress, an actress whose family tree connected with Rabindranath Tagore. She had debuted in a Satyajit Ray film and had ‘shocked’ the world (the world that was interested in such things) by wearing a two-piece bikini and more important, was a Hindu. These people seemed to belong to a world that was way different from the world of Syed Shahabuddin and LK Advani.
I believe that their marriage added to their stature.
What impressed me was the stories about Pataudi losing his eye and yet bouncing back to become one of the greatest captains and cricketers in India. There might have been more details in some books, and if there was one I think “Tiger’s Tales”. I missed reading it. It was only from the articles that paid tributes to him after his death, that I learned more about him. I read every account, and forgot about it.
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Authors don’t crib about editors and publishers in their columns. It has to do with the survival instinct. This is why I took notice of the recent column of Vanita Kohli-Khandekar. Writing in Midday about her experience, she lambasts the entire community of book editors. She had written one-third of a book and now thought of approaching some book editors and publishers. She had a hard time fixing a meeting with the editors of Penguin India, and even after she got an appointment, she had to wait for 45 minutes before she could meet the bored-looking book editor. Within two minutes of listening to her, he told her that “Short stories don’t sell.” She had a similar experience with at least three other people who were ‘rude, unresponsive and put her down’. Vanita is not some tyro author. She is the writer of ‘Indian Media Business’ and writes at least two columns, one each in Midday and Business Standard. And if a lady with her background had this experience, the fate of a tyro writer can only be imagined. Like she says, the publishing industry is staring at annihilation, if not extinction, because of this attitude. Yet, according to Vanita, the editors working for the publishing houses don’t care, are incapable of reading and running through several manuscripts and book proposals they get every day, and they are not trained. Not surprisingly, the most successful books have not come from regular publishers but from self-published authors or small publishers.
I have known this for a very long time.
I’d go several steps ahead and compare the bunch of editors in Penguin, as well as in other bigger publishing houses, with the army of salesmen in malls and the waiters in the mushrooming coffee shops – uninterested, untrained, insecure and jealous. You can see them huddled in one corner of Croma or Reliance, or other outlets where the ‘boss’, two rungs above the huddled staff, was once a part of this group.
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