Farewell Dear Vinod, Ye star.Ye light
Lighten up heaven and edit it tight
Up above, they called you for another fight
Give the powerful in heaven some fright
Farewell my friend, on another week bright
Tis weekend and television needs your byte
Sleep well my friend, into the peaceful night
Will meet in your world, to Outlooks delight.
RIP, Vinod Mehta, Editor of Editors.
As a publisher, I was a willing accomplice in many civil and criminal cases that Vinod, the editor invited on himself. Most of these cases were intended to harass, with Vinod and me standing with robbers and rapists!! It was either an appearance or seeking a bail from being arrested. Our only objective was to defend our position, our story and not give in to intimidation. Through these journeys and appearances across the country, I was sure of a lunch with Vinod - either in jail or in the best restaurant closest to the court. The outstation journeys, especially by train, meant a lot of gossip and information. In the courts, Vinod would make it a point to make it a fun outing. It was also a message to all those whose objective was to harass us, that we were cool to it. In fact, in one such case, we were having such fun chatting and laughing while waiting for our case to come up, that the complainant felt harassed.
2007 was the first time I resigned from Outlook (2009 being the second time). It was been 12 years by then, and the harassment of the NDA establishment supervised by the wily Brijesh Mishra had taken its toll. I went to Bombay and submitted a polite letter to my promoters, which was duly rejected. They wanted 2 more years more of me, to make it a 'life term' of 14 years. By the time I returned to Delhi, Vinod got a wind of it. He walked into my room and almost screamed at me "Mahesh, don't do anything silly without telling me. Whatever you do, we go out together". As fate would have it, in 2012 we gave up our positions at the same time, together.
When lesser known Journos were being handed Padma awards, I asked Vinod and he said "I won't accept it if given by UPA, and the NDA will never give it". The only senior editor without a Padma award or a farm house in Delhi. In fact, his final departure was from the 3 bed room flat which he bought 15 years back. RIP.