Scoring a century is no easy task. History is replete with instances of nearing 100 but fizzled out at the last stretch. At 99, too.
But Girish Mirchandani is made of different mettle. Who’s he, and what has he done warranting this paeon?
Fifty-ish Girish is the editor of TRANSTOPICS, an English weekly magazine founded by his father, Anand Mirchandani, sixty years ago in the commercial capital of India: amchi Mumbai.
Past decade or so, the moustacheless and chocolaty (not color, but sweetness mixed with a bit of no-nonsense journalist) has been anchoring the magazine with verve and valor. His long weekly editorials, I miss not.
Two summers ago, he floated a television channel via Youtube: TRANSINDIA, a weekly show conceptualized and produced by him all alone, backed by the big boys of the transport vertical.
TRANSINDIA completed its 100th run, and Sunday, the 18th of June, 2023, saw the 100th episode. “I am no YouTuber. A hardcore journalist” counters any YT -ers trying to coopt him into their territory. They will never succeed. He is serious about transport vertical, like his dad.
“What plans for celebrating the 100th episode?” I ask him over the phone while he is busy somewhere in the south, shooting feverishly for one of his forthcoming episodes.
“No chance of celebrating together, RK!” he responds.
I tell him, “Girish, I am in Kolkata. Your current residency. Let’s jam together. Decide.”
A few hours later, my phone pings with Girish’s message: “I am reaching Kolkata tonite. What do you prefer: Whisky, Rum, Beer, Vodka?”
That was Manna from Heaven for me.
I have a flight to catch for Delhi in the afternoon. Early morning daaru?
Nevertheless, my fingers type beer.
Done, says he. Soon his home address and WhatsApp location flashed on my handset.
It strikes that another logistics mahanubhava and a mutual friend also happen to share the same city of Mamata didi. I mean, Sukanta Pandit Ghoshal. (No relative of film songster Shreya!), head of logistics at the Aditya Birla group’s Hindalco.
One call, and he jumps at the idea of jamming at Girish’s place. Sukanta, in his late forties (but dapper and debonair and an exceptional extrovert and logistics gyani!), lands up at Girish’s palatial resort-type residence in the outskirts of Kolkata: New Town area.
With Centre for Driver Relationship Management (CDRM) colleague Syed Kausar Hussain, we picked up a bouquet at the crowded C K Market in Salt Lake and motored down.
Sukanta’s red Jeep outside Girish’s home with a pond in the backyard greets us. Half-knickered and T-shirted (both in black), Girish fresh like the early morning Jacranda hugs yours truly with the lean and thin another moustachless gent in the form of Sukanta watching with a childlike toothy smile. The hugging ceremony repeated with him too.
Sukanta has brought in samosa, sandesh, mishti dahi, etc. Girish uncorks Heineken bottles perched in imported holders. (Before I forget, he has a pot of mishti and rasagoola for me to take home! How sweet of you Sukanta!)
Halt, halt, Shouts Kausar. First, the bouquet ceremony. Then daaru.
We move into the four by 10 ft open balcony with the sky as the roof and the pond as the backdrop. Kausar shoots, and then Girish takes a selfie with Kausar in the frame. Oh, la la!
We troop in. Lift the Heiniken, but Kausar, a teetotaler, prefers a paper boat narial pani and another selfie. Talking about his abstinence reminds me of Signo’s Gagan Chaturvedi, another teetotaler who avoids onion, garlic, and vagera vagera. Jain? No. A stock from Hardoi from Yogi Adityanath’s fiefdom. If you travel with Gagan, rest assured that there will be no scarcity of namkeen. He carries tonnes of them! A compulsive muncher!
Two rounds of beer in the imported container amidst gobbling up all served. Sukanta winks at me and says, “When we leave, Girish will miss two of these beer bottle holders!”
“Maare ga! (My) biwi will kill me!” Girish chides in jest. We abandon the plan temporarily.
Luckily Girish chips in. I will arrange it when you visit next time. Perhaps the TRANSINDIAN is cocksure that we won’t darken his doors soon because he will be temporarily shifting base to Delhi soon. Time is the best healer. The issue will be forgotten until one goes for another round of Heineken somewhere. Girish managed to buy time.
He has two homes: one in the imperial capital of India and another in the political capital of mera Bharat Mahaan.
Two years it took to hit the maiden century of episodes. Soon the 60th-year special issue of TRANSTOPICS will be out. Time for more celebration.
Where will Girish be on that day? Hello, Girish, I am back in Delhi. You too soon, I reckon. Is there another Heineken and the most desirable imported beer holder on the horizon?