Senior journalist Madhu Trehans much awaited book,Prism Me A Lie Tell Me A Truth: Tehelka As Metaphor (Roli Books,Rs 595) was launched on Sunday at Hyatt Regency amid some timid revelry and occasional witticisms. The evening began with a reading of passages from the book by Justice (retd) Leila Seth,a.k.a. novelist Vikram Seths mother,writer-editor Ira Pande,filmmaker Deepa Mehta,architect Mohit Gujral and photographer Dilip Mehtaand progressed to a livewire town hall debate: Is it possible to prosper in India if you are honest?,moderated by former IPS officer Kiran Bedi scurrying from one aisle to another,occasionally goading the reluctant audience out of complacency.
As if acting on cue,Minister for Science and Technology,Kapil Sibal in his eloquent manner cut short the slinging match between some animated guests while answering questions on corruption. We ought to carry the debate to another level. What we need to do is start finding answers within ourselves, he said. Bedi then posed the most interesting question of the evening,whether women in higher positions would be more honest than men. To which,an enthused guest grabbed the microphone and remarked,In that case,what about Jayalalitha? while another raised questions about Mayawati. Bedi then read out a survey which proved that women were less dishonest.
Pramod Kapoor,publisher,gave his insight about the book that took six years to complete and runs into 616 pages. When Tehelka first broke the scandal Operation West End in 2001,we discussed the idea with Madhu to put this episode together. The time period of nine months stretched to six years as Madhu uncovered layers of truth and lies. The initial draft ran into 1800 pages,every publishers nightmare and I had a hard time finding a freelance editor for the book, said Kapoor.
Delhis intellectual set,socialites and journalists turned out in full strength for Madhus book launch while Dr. Trehan played gracious host. Niece and actor Koel Purie walked in late. Socialites Ayesha Thapar and Feroze Gujral caught up with Navin Ansal,and designers Tarun Tahiliani and Ritu Kumar.