Best Reads 2016: Vasanthi Hariprakash

VASANTHI HARIPRAKASH

‘Mr Wrong’ – I bet you haven’t heard of this masterpiece?
 
That’s got to be my most-read book of the year. That’s because I had to read this 9-page book with big text almost daily – to my nephew Avyukt, was trying to get the four-year-old brat into the habit of book reading and would tag him to our library, where he would pick the same book. Every single time. 
 
2016 was the year of more distractions, more whatsapp-facebooking and all such evils.
 
It is a marvel I managed to read what I did! 
 
Two books stood out for me, both, quick reads. 
 
India’s ad guru Piyush Pandey’s Pandeymonium was a delight from start to finish. 
How those unforgettable ad campaigns we grew up watching and love even today, came to be, from the Cadbury’s Kuch Khaas Hai to Fevicol ka Jod. And how all the credit goes to his frugal yet joyous middle-class upbringing was what taught him to value skill and connect with the common man.

Indira Kannan’s biography of Network 18, ‘the audacious story of a start-up that became a media empire’ was a freak discovery. I was in Delhi at a conference where I was given this as a freebie, I almost didn’t read it, till I started to, for timepass on the travel back home. Turned out to be a tightly-narrated story. And being from the world of news television, found the gossip on the media deals, the CNBC-NDTV rivalry priceless.

Raghav Bahl in particular, was a revelation.  His Foreword that begins with ‘Losing your company, for a first-generation founder, is like having the baby ripped out from your womb’ leads us into a fascinating story told with honesty, without hiding the warts. 
 
Vasanthi Hariprakash is show anchor and founder of Pickle Jar collective, a platform that curates film festivals and programs of social relevance.