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Storyteller’s Recollections of Some Rude Scents, Rich Cuisines

Once upon a time in a newsroom far away, there was a suave reporter/ editor / food critic. A Rude Life, Vir Sanghvi’s memoir artfully churned out during the enforced paralysis of the pandemic, seems from a distant, different era. From his privileged childhood, boarding school et al to Oxford, it bubbles with stories and character. The anecdotes are like the gourmet confections he critiques: intricate and inviting, definitely not every day fare. The ingredients are delectable but do smack of name-dropping sourced from the old boy network of a bygone era. Clearly, he has met everyone from Yuri Gagarin to Dhirubhai Ambani to Amartya Sen. An easy rapport is established with the PM Rajiv Gandhi. On these coat tails Sanghvi manages to engage the reclusive Amitabh Bachchan and probably presents the most coherent story of his entry and abrupt exit from politics. There are ringside accounts of Bofors or how a senior Congressman who had suffered at the hands of Sanjay Gandhi reacted at the news of the latter’s fatal plunge —Mar gaya saala!  Vir Sanghvi’s journey straddles an important time when TV ‘journalism’ was unobtrusively birthed, and he shares many vignettes of these early days and famous shows which segues into his newer avatar as food maven and writer of books. Though not finished, a life, unlikely to be encountered today.