Author: Jug Suraiya
Anyone who has grown up in the 80s and 90s is not unfamiliar with the name of Jug Suraiya especially with his columns in The Times of India. His columns like Jugular Vein and Dubyaman have been a part and parcel of like of thousands of people like me who would consume and cherish his humorous writing with utmost delight. When he wrote an autobiography without a doubt it was supposed to raise a lot of curiosity. So I got my hands on the cleverly titled book “JS & The Times of My Life: A Worm’s Eye View of Indian Journalism.” Now where the title seems to be extremely heavy and serious in its tone and length the book is absolutely not. It is a delight for the minds which enjoy a light, riveting yet fun read.
The book starts with Jug as his fans call him narrating his dilemma on choosing a career after passing from the college and how life coincidentally turned him towards journalism. The book draws his times of hard work and struggle during The Junior Statesman (JS) days and how he developed as a writer, columnist. The book traverse through his personal and professional life while narrating the story of the change and evolution of Indian journalism in the backdrop. Jug Sauraiya maintains his usual brand of self deprecating humor and utilizes it fully well to take the readers to the times when the Junior Statesman was still alive; the times when The Times of India was transforming; the times when the journalism and the country itself were going through a metamorphoses. And he does it in brilliant literary style, avoiding exaggeration maintaining the matter of fact version of events but still weaving them as studded amulets in his own tale.
The best part is the narrative by Jug, which is appropriately detailed to give you the view of the Journalism world, his life at the same time brief enough to retain the interest. Over the length of the book the reader becomes a part of Jug’s life and celebrates small moments which were important and saddened by events which left him dry. The book not only brings out the humorous side of Jug Suraiya which the readers of TOI and the JS have known since ages but also the hidden story teller side of him which a lot of people including me were never aware of.
The pace of the books is pretty fast with evenly spluttered with small or large events capturing the imagination of the readers. Mentions and excerpts of his edits from the old days also help creating the nostalgic feeling of the bygone era with the book. The book might be a source of inspiration to a lot of aspiring journalists, editors and authors however it fails to highlight the details of becoming one as author maintains the Journalism happened to him by chance.
Summary: A nice autobiography quite realistic yet entertaining and funny to read. A must read for those who enjoy Jug’s columns in TOI or JS.
Rating: 4 / 5