Finished BEHIND the TIMES. Bits from the book through which Bachi Karkaria tells Times’ inside stories:

Despite the pruning of designation, this was the man (Dileep Padgaonkar) who famously told interviewer that he held ‘the second most challenging job in the country’. The interviewer being Shobhaa De, and the magazine being society, the preen was emblazoned across the cover. Embarrassed, ‘Paddy’ said he had actually quoted his imperious boss, Girilal Jain, but it was wrongly (mischievously?) attributed to him.

Gautam Adhikari confirmed that Giri did often boast that he was the ‘secondmost important person in the country’. “We would joke behind his back, "So Sheshan (his secretary) is the 10th most important person, and Bhagwati (his peon) is the 17th most important”


T N Ninan was extremely possessive about his editorial domain. Samir Jain was raring to bring many innovations into ET, but Ninan, more as a matter of principle, was less than enthusiastic. One of these was ear panels, but Ninan resisted on the belief that the masthead should not be devalued by small ads on either side. Irritated, the VC called the Banglore Branch head, Sunil Rajshekhar, and said, “This is what I want, and it has to be in ET there tomorrow.”

Sunil passed on VC’s instructions to RE, Nageswaran, who mentioned this in a routine mail to his boss. Ninan blasted him, “Do you report to me or Sunil Rajashekhar?” The hapless guy spluttered, “But, Mr Ninan, the VC asked for it to be done.” Ninan thundered. “I don’t care who asked. I am the Editor.”

Yes he was. But not for long.