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on 17 November 2017
Very interesting and informative book. Must read.. Loved it!
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on 28 October 2015
These are short pieces highlighting various aspects from a journalist's life in modern India. More often than not, we get exposed to what is printed and what is broadcasted but we rarely get to know what goes on behind the scenes in journalism. I am more than halfway through this book and what comes across to the reader are the many challenges and hurdles faced by those such as Mr. Pillai in getting the news to us- political pressure, various fears and doubts, multiple allurements etc. Away from today's time of paid news and media dominated by capitalist enterprises, Pillai reminds us that news can and should be honest. The stories are, unsurprisingly, retold from Pillai's more or less reliable memory and even when he presents us with narratives which are intended to evoke humour- such as the Nobel Laureate Naipaul's visit to India- the reader never loses sight of Pillai's humanity and simplicity that shine in the pages of the book. This is as much as Pillai's story as much as it is a story of the growth and development of Indian journalism. I would undoubtedly recommend this book to anyone.
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on 10 September 2014
No internet, no email, no mobile phones. Real stories from a time when incisive investigative journalism was a tough job. The book by Ajith Pillai is riveting and real. I look forward to more from the author.
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on 3 March 2016
"Off the Record" is a collection of memoirs by Senior journalist Ajith Pillai of “Outlook” magazine. In today's world where news travels faster than light, it was interesting to read about the times when there were no mobile phones or the Internet and the length and breadth at which a journalist had to go to get his story to his editor. Mr. Pillai has clearly been in the thick of things because he had covered every big story there is from the underworld, Mumbai bombings, Kargil war and huge political scams and scandals of the times. The book even though covers some complicated topics is surprisingly a very light read. Witty in places, sarcastic in others most of the stories are the ones that my generation of Indians grew up with, so it makes an eye-opening read. There is no over dramatic story telling, no false claims and no name calling Mr. Pillai keeps his language unpretentious for the reader to follow keeping one engaged and curious to read more such stories.An excellent book to read for the children of 80s and 90s who want to get an insight behind how the real India made and captured news.
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on 26 May 2015
Journalist Ajith Pillai who has worked for some of India's leading publications including The Sunday Observer, the Indian Post, The Week, the Pioneer, India Today and Outlook writes this insightful, incisive, informative and entertaining memoir on his days covering and reporting news be it on the D company (and getting threats from Chota Rajan), Kargil wars, Bombay riots and bomb blasts, and his take on various other media related issues like the sham of opinion polls.
Each chapter deals with his experiences and behind-the-screens coverage of a serious issue, travelling , getting vital documents, meeting key people, sometimes even how a breaking news could change and become a ordinary story if things change subsequently. Of particular interest to me were the chapters detailing how Brigadier Surinder Singh was made a scapegoat by the Army and government for detailing some unpleasant truths about the Kargil War, the real reason why the govt fired Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, covering the looting by Dacoits in trains in Bihar, the Australians who made it their mission to clean toilets in Chennai slums and an enterprising kidney racket run by women in Chennai's Villivakkam area...many more interesting tidbits and nuggets are covered in the book including surviving and covering stories on shoestring budgets and facing praise and flak post reporting....all in all a very engrossing book, simple and engaging prose stripped of any unnecessary colourful, 'creative' over the top literary jargon.....you don't need them when such real life experiences tower over any fictional accounts
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on 7 October 2014
its really good,,it takes along with you.some untold faces of high level politics and corporate world is told in great wat.any one who read this book will appreciate Ajith pillai for his sincerity..and i do.
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on 5 April 2015
Nice book to go along with Vinod Mehta's biographies: "Lucknow Boy" and "Editor Unplugged" (Ajith Pillai, of course, is a former correspondent / journalist for most publications Vinod Mehta was editor of... Wherever Mehta went, Pillai was sure to go.) It also brings to the table nostalgic value - if you care for that sort of thing - a collection of articles from / about an era gone by. It was fun and fairly engaging, as far as I was concerned - I enjoyed this book very much.
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on 9 February 2017
A light read indeed..Stories told are relevant and thoughtfully told. A funny anecdote is sometimes thrown in to lighten the mood. The author's take on the 2G scam and Radia tapes is worth reading. When a person with such tremendous experience writes about his career, it is indeed as treat to read. Go for it, people!!
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on 14 February 2016
It was OK book but expectation was much higher as Author has had a very accomplished career so he was supposed to share much more than what he had shared. Over all, its OK Book. Theek hai
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on 20 December 2015
Book is a very nice read... personal experience of ajith pillai as a journalist.
Can be finished in a train journey... recommended.
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