He tried to survive, but couldn’t


Saumit Sinh FB pic 1Saumit Sinh hanged himself to death in his Patparganj apartment. A fellow journalist, Binoo John, pays tribute in a Facebook post

It is not fashionable in this click-bait age of journalism to write obits about an unknown or “failed” journalist. Saumit Sinh who hanged himself to death in his Patparganj apartment belonged to the latter category. The ones who could not survive or had no place in a profession which is undergoing an unimaginable churn. Not many know how to swim with the tide. Some try to swim against it and more often than not they are washed ashore like some debris. Some of us get washed ashore but still manage to keep afloat while the currents of depression and ruin tug at your feet.

Saumit was a celebrity gossip writer for DNA in Mumbai and did his job admirably well, till the daughter-in-law of the owner of the paper removed him with nothing asked or given. Saumit took it bravely on the chin even though the then editor did not move a little finger to help him. Most editors master the art of survival before they master the front page of the paper they edit. Saumit was thus doubly victim.

Saumit was not a bitter man. Even after he left he gave us in DNA some pretty good stories. He broke the Priety Zinta-Wadia spat and the harassment complaint story which I picked up from his website and published on DNA page one. Saumit moved with the Mumbai jetset and had access to some of the top among the richie rich. With one of them he went by private jet to watch an IPL match and stayed at a plush hotel. But he had to vacate the room when a “better guest” arrived to entertain the IPL owner. When the time came there was no one.

His page two column was something that gave the paper some spark and life. His website mumbaiwallah.com had some interesting stories but the funding that was promised never came.

We had great sessions at the Mumbai Press Club, and later at the Delhi Press Club. He moved to Delhi last year to be with his family. Together we went to some of the great nihari joints in Mohammed Ali Road late at night. It was not just the beef and the marrow that was memorable. Though we disagreed politically we talked at length. We were opposites in many ways but we laughed a lot too.
Now what’s the point in recounting all that? Of such journalists who tried to make an honest living, will anything be remembered? Nothing. Only The Hindu dutifully announced his passing.

Most journalists are busy trying to keep away the impending clouds of doom and apart from a handful of crorepathi journalists the rest are busy warding off danger. Some like Saumit just give up. For a day we mourn and then pass on. Rest in Peace man.