It has been a longish journey when I look back, the present Indian cricket captain was still in his nappies and no one had heard of Internet or www in India. The present prime minister was still carrying a future deputy prime minister’s loud speaker on his Rath Yatra and we still greeted other with a Wassup? Rather than on WhatsApp.

The wheels of time have churned everything into a concoction whose strands I can now only sit and separate during lockdowns caused by the pandemic. Did I get rolled over or did I do enough to satisfy my own decision to leave several lucrative jobs and follow my spirit to become a hack. A little bit of both I guess, because there is also and always the matter of making a living, raising a family and conforming to the norms of society.

I got the opportunity to work with several big names from Vinod Mehta, HK Dua, Bharat Bhushan, Swapan Dasgupta to Tarun Tejpal and Shankkar Aiyyar who I came to admire and several big names like Prabhu Chawla, Shekhar Gupta and Chandan Mitra whose compulsion to become mercenary editors I came to understand.

Journalism is also about an experiential journey. You live and experience the people, places and things that ordinarily one would be denied in any other job. I have lived and reported from the North East, Gujarat, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and of course Delhi. I have been lucky to have worked on my own, from my home without the pressures of an office situation for most part, with a type writer and later a laptop. Travelled in crowded trains, buses and taxis, private two-seater planes, state jets and choppers. Lived in small guest houses, circuit houses, fancy hotels and even on wheat fields in chilly winter nights. No other job would have afforded me such variety.

In the end it’s about the people you meet, the stories you do and the difference one makes, however small. In these pages you will be able to read and watch and perhaps know me better.