How we explored India

How we explored India
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First Published: Sat, Jan 05 2008. 01 12 AM IST

Don’t miss Shah’s pictures
Don’t miss Shah’s pictures
We worked so hard on this issue we had to take three days off to recover. Fear grips me as I think of the months ahead—26 January (oh no, it’s a Saturday and it’s 50 issues of Lounge); 2 February (the Saturday closest to one year of Mint, you better believe it); 9 February (the Love Issue, someone/anyone, I need an idea please). And March is the month for Mint-HT Luxury Summit. I can already see the Lounge team rushing out of the way as I spin the bottle.
Before I joined Mint I always believed that special issues were overrated. But then we tried our hand at a few in 2007—the Luxury Issue (30 March), the Swimsuit Summit (19 May), The Sixties (11 August) and the Gift Issue (6 October). The issues were useful, you told us you enjoyed them and we did have fun when we were not busy trying to kill each other.
Don’t miss Shah’s pictures
But, we know you expect us to better that in 2008.
So, when an idea hit one morning I held it in an embrace that would make the husband narrow his eyes.
This time the bottle stopped at rookie reporter Arjun Razdan, who revels in life on the offside. But Arjun is a free spirit, happiest out there in the clouds, so deputy features editor Seema Chowdhry Sharma was put in charge of ensuring he stayed on Planet Earth as he gathered the points slowly and meticulously. There were stern notes to the Lounge team telling them they weren’t contributing enough ideas and that they were missing deadlines (for once, not from me). And of course it didn’t help that I insisted we needed real people. So, if we were recommending you should watch a film at Ahmedabad’s drive-in, we needed someone who had actually done that, right?
“This issue was a logistical nightmare. Sitting in New Delhi, finding someone in Chennai who was a regular at Chettinad restaurants or who could tell me about swimming elephants in the Andamans or someone in Ladakh to talk about the salt tea was something else,” says Arjun. “At a conservative estimate, I must have called at least 1,000 different people for this story across three to four months.”
Adds Seema: “Hopefully he’s learned how to multitask and not wait for that one phone call to get answered before moving to the next task.” Seema also says the ordinary stuff just didn’t get past Arjun, and you’ll see she’s bang on when you read this issue.
Finally, at the risk of making this sound like an acceptance speech, we couldn’t have done it without input from Bangalore-based Sumana Mukherjee; Rajeev Dabral’s photo organization skills; designers Pranab Jyoti Gogoi and Devajit Bora; the Lounge team (especially those in the Delhi office); the folks on the desk who double-checked every tiny detail; and, of course, design chief Anup Gupta.
Enjoy the issue, and have a great eight.
 
Write to lounge@livemint.com
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First Published: Sat, Jan 05 2008. 01 12 AM IST