Now: Executive Editor
Then: Associate Art Director
Date: Feb 29, 2000; Time: 12:15 Editor-in-chief Vinod Mehta fires managing editor Tarun Tejpal, in full view of other colleagues, ostensibly for being late for the edit meeting. Five years after Outlook was born, this gave the world Tehelka. In the coming months and years, Tehelka exposes Bangaru Laxman, Modi.... Now, they’re best pals.
Then: Assistant Manager
There is no one single moment that I can pinpoint as the most memorable one at Outlook. But it has been a fun 18 years. Every day is a new day for me and every challenge an opportunity.
P. Sunil Menon
Now: Deputy Managing Editor
Then: Deputy Copy Editor
A lazy summer afternoon in ‘95, I walked into the suite of a hotel that no longer exists, to meet Vinod Mehta for the job. He was sitting at his table, believe you me, sticking tape on a bunch of torn rupee notes he’d brought from home. (It’s going to be that kind of office, I said to myself.) Months later, Thackeray’s flame-throwers were after us. We were on. Thackeray-III would have only been in kindergarten.
Now: Sr Associate Editor
Then: Sub Editor
Stepped into Outlook’s hallowed portals a featherweight (okay, gaunt) 52 kg. Circa 2013, the scales hover closer to 70, a whole 18 kilos more. And no I’m not keeping up with our annivs. Blame it on the everlasting addiction to Bengal Sweet House’s veg chow. And as if things couldn’t get worse, damned Rajinder da dhaba took over our square and our few square meals.
Now: Chief Editorial Manager
On the day the inaugural issue hit the stands, receptionist Vandana came running looking for me with the news that PMO was on the line. The inaugural issue had the leaked excerpts of the late P.V. Narasimha Rao’s semi-autobiographical novel. I took the call fearing the worst, but it turned out to be a prank call from Saeed Naqvi!
Now: Chief Librarian
Then: Editorial Assistant
However boring, tedious or “more of the same” they may seem from the outside, the past 18 years at Outlook—building the library from scratch to a functional one today—haven’t been the easiest, but nonetheless quite rewarding. The one constant challenge has been what to keep (newspapers, mag and cuttings) and for how long.
Now: Chief Photo Coordinator
Then: Editorial Assistant
1997. He was no star then, just a few TV serials old. Struggling actor Manoj Bajpai walked into our office with a journo friend. If only to update my TV personality file, I approached him. Pictures? Would you mind? He agreed. Finding no better place to shoot, we went to the Outlook terrace, where he posed against leaking water tanks and discarded furniture. Then Satya happened.
L. Arokia Raj
Now: Senior General Manager
Working with a newsmag always kept me ahead when it came to news. I especially remember all the firsthand reports I got from journalist colleagues like A.S. Panneerselvan! I also remember the one time we had to seek police protection because some groups, upset with one of our stories, were going to protest outside our Chennai office.
Now: Deputy Photo Editor
Then: Senior Photographer
I was just going to take the first bite when the phone rang. Photo editor Prashant Panjiar asked me what I was doing. “Lunch,” I said. “Arrey, the government has fallen. Leave immediately for the Congress office,” he said. I did. I got Sitaram Kesri, who had pulled the plug on Deve Gowda’s UF govt, and a worried-looking Pranab Mukherjee in the same frame—the shot was used on our Apr 16, 1997, issue.
Now: Senior Executive
I’ve given a lot of time to this firm, like planting a sapling and tending to it. All of us have worked hard and it is because of this that the company grew fast in just a year. Like many, I too had come from India Today and handled despatch of magazine copies. For two years, we had no holidays on Sundays and worked 12-hr shifts instead of 8-hr ones!
Now: Associate Manager
Then: Administration Assistant
I have a much more defined role now but I remember my multitasking days from our start. While I handle finances now, I would have to deal with a host of administrative and operational tasks like ticketing, phone problems, coordination with travel agencies, landlord issues for our employees, taxis and much more!
Now: Art Director
Then: Editorial Assistant
VM’s always called me ‘Tiwari’; never Vimal or Sarkar. Once he needed to see me and asked his office assistant to summon ‘Tiwari’. He did, and Tribhuvan Tiwari, the photographer, went to him. Vinod blew his top. A second ‘Tiwari’ was sent for, and it turned out to be production’s Praveen Tiwari. A third try, and he got Sarkar alias Tiwari.
Now: Deputy Manager
Today things have progressed a lot technically but back then, I was responsible for collecting the positives from the airport in Mumbai and taking them to the press there for printing. One day it so happened that the railways and taxis went on strike. I and an ex-colleague walked for around four hours from Dadar to Mankhurd!
Anand Singh Bisht
Being around for 18 years, I’ve seen my fair share of burnt and burst cables. The original cables laid at our present office were just 65 mm thick and burst in the first two weeks. We then replaced them with 105 mm wires but then the wires of our neighbours have unleashed havoc. What pain.
I had joined Outlook with Deepak Shourie, who had come in from India Today and whose car I was driving then. I drove him around for as long as he was at Outlook. When he was leaving, I decided to stay back as the new place he was going to had a lot of ‘unionbaazi’ and I had also become permanent at Outlook. I am expecting to retire soon!
Enjoyed reading the snippets from the original members of Outlook (GoodLook-in Outlook). Thanks also to the ‘Letters’ section, it really is true to its comments policy. You accept the bitter criticism and you don’t pre-moderate. It’s really refreshing, especially when compared some of our other national news magazines.
Amit Thakur, Tokyo
Loved the then-and-now pictures of Outlook staff. Wish Vinod Mehta too had put up his pictures.
Manoj Sachdeva, New Delhi
My comment was partly in jest. :) Thanks for your first-hand feedback about the book. Shall keep that in mind.
Nah he doesn't and it is a tedious read if you ask me, don't bother
Enjoyed reading all the snippets from original members of Outlook! Thanks to you all and rest of the Outlook team. All the best on your 18th anniversary!!
Interesting to look back that day
And to feel nostalgic.........about an incident.
And where we stand now!!!!
Interesting anecdote from Mr. Bishwadeep Moitra. Does Mr. VM feature in Tarun Tejpal's book The Story of My Assassins? I might be tempted to buy the book if that's the case :-)
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