Being at the other side of the firing line

It is weird. Some weeks ago, on the back of a column I did for Mint about Rajat Gupta, a journalist from Bloomberg/Businessweek called me. He sounded like my (very funny) cousin in Washington D.C. so I kinda took to him immediately even though we had never met. He wanted to interview me about what I had written about Rajat Gupta. We talked for say 20 minutes. And now I find myself being quoted in several articles on Rajat Gupta. It isn’t a particularly nice feeling because some of the quotes have been taken out of context. One in particular, which appeared in a story that made it to Mint’s front page, made me wince. It says that I was an acquaintance of Rajat Gupta, which I am not. My quote was pretty sappy too, something about him being “chatty.” I don’t want to put any other journalist in trouble, but my recollection of our conversation is that Bloomberg was after a description of what Rajat Gupta was doing in the Bangalore IPL cricket match where I happened to be. So the questions were like, “What was he doing?” and Was he relaxed and “Was he talking to people?” and I am sure I said something like “Yeah, he seemed pretty relaxed.” and “Yeah, he was chatty.” All of which I understand, having “slotted” certain quotes in certain “locations” in a story; and also having asked sources leading questions to get that particular quote. But it is strange to be on the other side of an interview.

Lessons for Life: new podcast series

Aditya Mhatre of the Indicast Podcast Network emailed me after a Mint column about the podcasts I listen to. He introduced me to his podcast network at The Indicast and helped me learn how to do a podcast. We talked about formats and brainstormed about ideas. I’d like to do humour but that’s very hard. Aditya (even though I’ve never met him) generously offered to host my podcasts on his network. Yesterday, while walking my dog, I called him impulsively and told him that I had an idea for a podcast but wasn’t sure it would fly. It’s called Lessons from Everyday Life, and like my column for Mint, I use events and people as a springboard for ideas. We recorded this podcast the same evening. At 10 PM, Aditya called me up on Skype and I spoke into it. There were iterations. When I faltered over sentences, I would just say, “i’d like to redo that,” and repeat it. All the bad stuff has been edited out.

I have miles to go and need to figure out my tone, attitude, humour, confidence and audio=manner. But this is a start. I’d love feedback and having grown up with boys, I have a fairly thick skin. So please, hammer away.

The piece at Indicast’s website

I was also taught how to embed it in my website, so here it is. For now, Aditya and I have a very loose arrangement– actually no arrangement, no contract, nothing. I am doing this to get better at it and he is doing it…well, I don’t know why he is hosting my podcasts.