Dogs can be trained to fetch newspapers for their masters. Should a journalist be treated as a retriever of news by his masters? Told with verve and wit, this is the story of Manush, a talented, independent-minded journalist who tries to stick to the core values of his profession while keeping body and soul together. Out in the field, he enjoys the adrenaline rush of getting scoops and the challenge of solving real-life mysteries. Back in the office, he has to tackle toxic bosses who don’t give a toss about talent and are insecure about their own jobs. And at home, there is emotional distress from a marriage only in name. As the action shifts from a magazine in Noida to a newspaper in Delhi to a website in Gurgaon, the world around Manush changes while he continues his dogged pursuit of career goals and fascinating women. Will forces out of his control make him go into a free fall? Will friends and family give him the respect he deserves? Or will he realise redemption lies elsewhere?
That’s the first word which strike my mind after reading Manjula Lal’s “That’s News to Me!”
I am mesmerized with the themes, the book touched. On every second page, the reader is going to find a deep food-for-thought topic. The character of Manush is penned down very well. The.protagonist Manus is a correspondent.of a Noida magazine. His journey is created neatly that connects the reader to the story.
Manush’s thoughts provoke some serious thinking, all through the metaphors, though. Consider this quote-
“… my ancestors fed off the misery of the public- misery inflicted on them by colonial rulers, just as I am feeding off the misery inflicted by the brown Sahibs by reporting it as nauseam.” (Page- 59)
The narration is easy to follow and the language used is commendable. The wit and sarcasm are used beautifully and aptly on instances. Consider this line-
“In fact, there was no denying it, her interest in authorized colonies came from genes that had land hunger embedded in the DNA.” (Page- 119)
Typical journalist’s words, huh?
As I said, the topics author touched while depicting a journalist’s journey is quite appreciable. Well, it should’ve been expected. She is a journalist. Knowing anything and everything under the sun is their job. Hmm?
I may not comment whether or not I agreed with the author’s take on every subject, but I do appreciate the way she brought up so much in just a few pages. Like, consider this line-
“… the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh called a press conference to announce it had instituted ‘reform’, the accepted word for changes demanded by the times.” (Page- 210)
I may disagree on a lot of instances whether the author lighted the subjects right or not, but it was an awesome time spent reading this book.
The author Manjula Lal is an experienced journalist. It is visible from her work. The language, the words used, the scenes depicted, everything is engrossing.
About the Author
Manjula Lal currently works as Dy Editor with Tehelka. In a career spanning 30 years, she has worked for Economic Times, Pioneer, The Times of India, Indian Express and a host of smaller banners. Born in Ballia, a remote village of Uttar Pradesh where her father was a district magistrate, the author spent 11 years in a convent boarding school in the hill station of Nainital. After attending college in Lucknow and getting her master’s in political science from Jawaharlal Nehru University, she went to Pennsylvania State University as a teaching assistant. Her stint as the first columnist of foreign origin for the local newspaper gave her a taste of celebrity that made her impatient to return to New Delhi and plunge into journalism.