Book Launch – Indira Gandhi – The Final Chapter by Suraj ‘Eskay’ Sriram
Friday, April 29, 2011
Crossword, at ICC Towers, saw a houseful of audience gathered for the book launch of Suraj ‘Eskay’ Sriram’s latest book of illustrations – Indira Gandhi – The Final Chapter.
A book of illustrations, Indira Gandhi – The Last Chapter, lampoons the political figure through witty cartoons. It draws a satirical portrait of the Indian leader while humorously depicting certain behind-the-scenes political and social affairs of the country.
This was my first event as a moderator and was I nervous?! Oh yes!!!
But one entire sentence (without faltering, mind you) and I knew I could do this.
The event began with Mr. Bikash D. Niyogiwelcoming the audience and the eminent personalities of the city.
For all those wondering who is Mr. Bikash – well, he is the MD of Niyogi Books, which is amongst the reputed publishing houses of India and they are the ones to have published Suraj’s book of illustrations on Indira Gandhi. Their recent foray into publishing fiction, translations, cookery and self-help books has widened their reach.
My nervousness just lasted for the initial few minutes, but as I welcomed and introduced the distinguished personalities on the dias, I seemed to go with the flow.
The Chief Guest for the evening, Mr. Arun Bhatia and the Guest of Honor – Mr. Randhir Khareadded not just charm but a lot of insight to the occasion.
I’m sure we don’t need to tell you much about Mr. Bhatia but one thing that stands out about this courageous man is his determination and drive.Currently the President of the People’s Guardian Party, Mr. Bhatia is one man, I feel, who can rightly guide and lead the nation.
And talking about award winning author, prolific poet, theatre personality, artist, renowned educationist and a passionate social, cultural and community worker –Mr. Randhir Khare the one thing that does come to mind is his wit and humor that lightens up even the most mundane situations.
Coming to the author – I’m sure not many would remember his work from yester years. Suraj Sriram was a freelance cartoonist in Mumbai and his editorial cartoons appeared regularly in leading newspapers and magazines from 1976 to 1984. He left for the United States in 1985 only to return recently. And what a comeback!!!
The book deserves a prominent position in everyone’s bookshelf.
After brief introduction and a warm welcome to all the panelists, by a charming little girl Karishma, (Suraj’s granddaughter) the book was officially launched and unveiled.
(L-R – Suraj ‘Eskay’ Sriram, Arun Bhatia, Randhir Khare)
We had Mr. Bhatia and Mr. Khare reminiscing and sharing their thoughts about the book and the author.
“This is our real history – right here – in this book” said Arun.
“Highlighting subjects that really matter in simple commentary, I feel this book should be a recommended or a prescribed read – like they do in schools and colleges in the US,” he added.
“We are losing humor and satire today. The critical playfulness that Suraj brings with him is all here in this book. I highly recommend everyone to pick this up,” asserted Randhir.
Humbled by the thoughts and the gesture, Suraj shared his experience of working with Indian Express in Mumbai, and he heartily thanked his family and ex-colleagues for supporting and helping him evolve over the years, by setting standards and different challenges each time for him to overcome.
A quick interaction with the trio followed. And I surely was more nervous asking them about the situation of the “aam aadmi” today.
“The aam aadmi will always remain the aam aadmi. He will always be kicked in the teeth by authorities. Unless, of course, they wake up and rise and take a stand,” said Randhir.
“The youth of the nation is aware of the situations around and also knows what is to be done. But the lack of opportunities provided lead to the set-back each time someone tries. And more than anything else – it is the “fear” that is instilled in the hearts that makes them succumb,” added Arun.
Before the discussion could go the political way, and of course due of shortage of time, I had to limit my questions and wrap up the discussion for the audience to get their signed books and interact individually with the people on the dias.
Wrapping up the evening, Mr. Bikash thanked the audience and the panelists for the lively interaction and support.
It was truly a marvelous experience for me to have moderated the event and to get to know people I’d heard of and longed to meet for a long time.