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.
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