As the former editor of Times of India, Bachi Karkaria is a popular name in the journalism industry. An enigmatic personality with a flair in her writing, Ms. Karkaria has penned many successful columns like ‘Erratica’ and ‘Giving Gyan’ for Times of India and Mumbai Mirror respectively. She is a frequent face on many TV panels and discussions, a litfest curator, a staunch supporter of various social causes, and an all in all boss woman. Ahead of Prime Day, we were honoured to have a chance to sit down and pick Ms Karkaria’s brain about her upcoming essay.
"The Dowager And the Harlot" Ms. Karkaria says, "is about Calcutta where I grew up, and Bombay where I have spent most of my adulthood, and where I have learnt more about life, and of course about my profession, media". She regales us with the tale of how her fascination with the two cities culminated in this project. She comments on how there are definite similarities between Bombay and Calcutta, but how each has its own distinct trajectory. It comes as no surprise that Ms. Karkaria chose to write on cities, since as a journalist, she has written extensively on urban issues.
In her essay, she hopes to offer a view of cities beyond the municipal barriers, and instead focus on the sociology, the culture and the lived experiences of people residing in these two cities. Ms. Karkaria has always been tremendously passionate about cities, and she has consistently been ‘vocal for local’ before it even became a thing. Her writing is clever and engaging since she knows exactly how to get her readers to relate to her text. She recollects a tenet of journalism she learnt back in her day - ‘the dead dog in the street is more important than a flood in China’. Thus it was quite obvious for her to base her piece on these two cities which would capture the reader’s interest.
An ardent reader herself, Ms. Karkaria believes reading can never go out of style. Among other reasons for impressing on her readers the importance of reading, she states, "Because reading elasticised your imagination. Because the simple act of flipping open a book/device opens up whole worlds. Because the power of words is one of life’s great marvels—and joys. Because, hey, everyone loves a story". We cannot agree more, everyone does love a story and Ms. Karkaria sure knows how to serve them a great one.
As Prime Day inches closer, you can check out the fabulous books written by Ms. Karkaria, which are available on Amazon. Her bestseller ‘Dare to Dream: A Life of Rai Bahadur Mohan Singh Oberoi’ is an excellent choice for those who want to acquaint themselves with her ‘agnostic-medium’ style of writing. We are excited to dive right into her upcoming essay, which will be available on Amazon India on Prime Day. So watch out for her!