Monday, October 17, 2011

Khushwant Singh: "I may die any day now"

Last week, lakhs of newspaper readers across the country woke up to find their weekly fix missing. The ‘Sardar in the lightbulb’, loved and loathed in over 17 Indian languages, had hung up his pen without saying goodbye. After more than 70 uninterrupted years of ceaselessly needling readers, Khushwant Singh suddenly decided he’d had enough. “I’m 97,” (he isn’t, he’s 96) “I may die any day now,” is all he’ll say about his self-imposed exile into silence.

 “I’ll miss the money,” he says when I prod him, adding as an afterthought: “And the people fawning over me to write about them in my columns.” Fat chance, considering that the same evening, he was entertaining two editors, one of whom was trying to trawl yet another book out of his old columns and the other had brought along his latest novel for him to review. “You want me to praise it?” he asked, almost innocently. “Yes!” was the fervent response. Perhaps he did not know Khushwant’s column-writing days are over.
It couldn’t have been much fun: getting up before dawn every single day, an endless round of deadlines, chasing payments, readers’ letters, keeping track of events, and people dropping in, hoping to be written about. Now that he has given it all up, you’d think he’d rest. But he’s already reaching for his yellow legal pad, scribbling away as if it’s a guilty pleasure. “I can’t stop,” he says a trifle sheepishly, “I don’t know how to sit and do nothing.” The columns are done and over with—but it looks as if another book is on its way.
Sheela Reddy in Outlook. Here

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...