The ’90s whizzed past in a giddy blur. My salad days were quite over, chronologically speaking. Yet, professionally, life was moving in fourth gear. I was working for the news magazine India Today. Many colleagues thought that the magazine was the centre of the universe, and they the masters of it. We didn’t just travel from one hotspot to another; we ‘winged’ our way to Bombay (now Mumbai) or Bhopal or new york, aping helicopter journalists. Other publications also dispatched reporters near and far, but the mode of transport was more down to earth: buses and trains, while we were up in the air much of the time, along with the foreign correspondents.
Those were the days…. The countdown to this century and the new millennium had begun: entertainment, culture, sports and even politics sparkled and sparked. Satellite television plugged us into the rest of the world. No longer were we just contemplating our own navels. Liberalism came into its own in the ’90s, with Narasimha Rao, the Prime minister at the time, and his Finance minister, Manmohan Singh steering the country towards a desi glasnost and perestroika. Consumerism was bumped off the forbidden list.
Hedonism was now a more welcome ‘ism’, pushed along by a robust advertising industry, with Bollywood and Hollywood also lighting the path. My Punjabi Arya Samaj background advocated that the pleasures of life were reser