Personal update…

…and some self-promotion:

News reports and other sources probably tipped you guys off by now; I wanted to wait till things were buttoned down, though. Now that they are: I will be leaving Rediff, which has been home to me since October/November 1995 [and also leaving Mumbai, which has been my home since December 1989] and moving to the Bangalore office of Yahoo, hopefully likely by January 2 at the latest.

I noticed some questions both in mail and on the previous post on the ‘Why Yahoo?’ lines — those are questions I’d prefer to leave alone for the time being. Leaving Rediff is a wrench, since I’ve been here before there was a ‘Rediff’; it is a decision I’ve agonized over for the better part of a year and now, for better or worse, it’s made.

Again, there were some questions about the why of it — and the best answer I can give is, it is time. 14 years is by far the longest I’ve worked at any one job — the previous highest was three years at Mid-Day, and the same span of time at Sunday Observer, and both times I left because I was bored.

When you work with one outfit for a prolonged period of time, it breeds a certain comfort level [more so in a place like Rediff edit, peopled with colleagues/friends I have worked with, and been part of the lives of, for 20 years now] which in turn breeds a certain sort of mental laziness; you get to where you are coasting through your work, without really challenging yourself to think outside of the organizational template. Couple that need to shake myself out of my comfort zone with certain personal/familial issues that I’ve been coping with, and change was mandated.

There’s much to nail down ahead of the move, so now you know why blogging has been — and will for a while continue to be — sporadic [am likely off again tomorrow, but will be back here Wednesday].

Now for the self-promotional bit: a mail from the organizers just informed me that I have been nominated for the Indibloggies awards this year — in two categories, yet. Flattered, but more than that, faintly surprised to receive the blog nomination in a year where my blogging has been very sporadic, unlike my fellow nominees in that category. The norm, as I understand it, is to ask the regulars among you to back me with your votes, but I’ll avoid the impassioned appeal — outside of the Bhim posts, I’ve been way too erratic to ask for your votes with a straight face.

I notice I’ve also been nominated in the Twitter category — and that’s bitter-sweet. I signed up for Twitter [like I sign up for anything new and potentially interesting in the social media space] to walk through the thing and figure out what it was all about and where it was coming from, but for over a year I never felt the need to post. Then 26/11 happened — and by day two, the visceral nature of those attacks, the immediacy, the need to share what I was seeing and hearing and to hear from others, combined to get me posting.

Often, you come across great reading material without however having anything to add to it. Before I figured out what Twitter could do, I tended to save them to my delicious; Twitter with its micro-blogging function is just perfect for such: a ‘Reading now: Link’ is all it takes to spread the word.

[And while on 26/11, spreading the word about good reads and such, if you read only one thing today, make it this: Jason Motlagh’s superb recreation of 26/11 in the Virginia Quarterly Review. Der Spiegel’s recreation of 9/11 was, I thought at the time, the best reportage to have come out of that event; this one by Motlagh almost, but not quite, touches that height. Or maybe the comparison is unfair — Spiegel’s was a team effort, and intended as a book; this is one man, solo, attempting to make sense in a land where quality information is hard to come by, and writing it originally as a series of blog posts. Very evocative — go read].

Back to self-promotion: my friend Jai Arjun Singh [whose blog Jabberwock is a hugely deserving nominee in the ‘Humanities’ category] had written some great commentary on the epics, on Chitra Divakarunni’s Palace of Illusions and related subjects before I’d started my recreation of Bhim [the full version]. When I started writing my transcreation of MT’s work, Jai and I had some fairly extended email conversations on related matters; some of what we spoke about has come together in a lovely review of Bhim that Jai wrote for the Business Standard. Tempted to include a clip or two, but will avoid — the piece flows so beautifully, it needs to be read in full.

Right — need to get back to re-organizing my life [thankfully, the cricket was so incredibly boring, the less said the better]. Away from blog today and tomorrow; back here Wednesday. Random riffs, as always, on Twitter.

40 thoughts on “Personal update…

  1. Pingback: Cricket clips « Smoke Signals

  2. Welcome to namma Bengal-uru. Been reading your cricket articles since rediff days and also on your blog. Hope you bring the same flavor to Y’s cricket section as well :).

    A move from Mumbai to here will surely be different. Ofcourse, the traffic is just as bad, if not worse. You may miss the mumbai local but we have Volvo buses for local commute too!!…Congrats on the Indiblog nominations as well!!

    See you soon in Bengaluru (the name’s changed you know!!) ! 🙂

  3. Pingback: Anniversary blues « Smoke Signals

  4. Prem,

    Have followed your writings over past many years. One quality that differentiates you is that you are one of the most accessible star journalists I have read. That means a lot in this age of convergence between the social and the news spheres. If these qualities can be transfused into your new organization, that will certainly lead to better results.

  5. Congratulations & good luck . Actually I was surprised that you still have some spunk to take on a new assignement.I thought you’re kind of a leading a semi –retirement life in Mumbai with literature & all kind…that was not the reason you moved to India from NY? .
    In US, I don’t know how many people browse Yahoo for news but definitely Yahoo finance is the best in the business for stocks. The community they built in the yahoo finance message board is unbeatable. One of the main reasons Microsoft wanted to get Yahoo. Microsoft & Google may have more cash & better technology but they are nowhere close compared to YF. But I do not say the same about yahoo India finance but I think there lays your opportunity and one segment that might help to get more eye balls for Yahoo India.

    • Semi-retirement? Mate, I have been producing a multi-edition weekly paper every single week from the time I got back. Thanks for the point about YF — the dichotomy between the global and Indian operation on that front was something I wondered at; will know more about the whys, and what can be dones, after I actually join.

  6. Mmmmm….Rediff has been a popular site for me……yes….was wondering why their cricket news coverage was getting stale for a while now.

    Yahoo….never followed anything on that….barring my mails…..would that change now ?

    Welcome to namma-ooru…..hope to bump on to you sometime.

    Best wishes,

  7. Prem

    Wish you all the very best in your new stinct at Yahoo.
    I completely understand and relate to the ‘coasting along’ part.

    Sorry for not being more regular.

    Warm regards

    Ann Arbor, Michigan

  8. Congratulations! Prem and best wishes for happy tenure with Yahoo!

    I try to be neutral, but couldn’t resist hating anything Chinese. But Perhaps your writings for yahoo India will help me to Love Thy Neighbor.

    I liked rediff cricket section when you wrote there. I think it lost its identity these days. This blog is one site that I look forward every day. Hope you continue to write here. Bhimsen was an awesome series. Thank you much.

  9. Congrats, Prem. Hope you can also get your desire to pen down the almost “soap-opera” events of Indian cricket during the 90s.

  10. Thanks for the very honest and open answer to ‘Why Y! now?’. Congrats again and hopefully ‘Y! In’ lets you unleash another round of creativity so we in the diaspora have something new to look forward too. Hopefully when the dust settles, the blog will continue to be an avenue for you to write/communicate.

  11. Wow Prem! That must be some decision. Good luck to you with your new challenge and do continue blogging and twittering your thoughts.

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