My Life Memoirs-17

My Life, Full of Beautiful Memories

-Venigalla Komala  

32. Raju  Created His Brain- Child:  ‘Mint’

Raju accepted the invitation of the management of  Hindustan Times, Delhi, to create a business paper for them. Here, he found an opportunity to serve India, his motherland where he was born, raised and educated. He was prepared to take risk and accepted the challenge, knowing well the road blocks in the Indian system of functioning. Many of our friends were shocked at his decision to leave a prestigious job to start on a new venture. But he knew what he was going to do in India.

Raju took charge in the middle of 2006 and – settled in South Delhi along with Kim and their two kids. He had the free hand to select his staff, 90 of them, and trained them single handed. He let them know what work he expected from them in setting up a new paper. He worked for 16 hours a day, that was nothing new to him and he loved that sort of busy work.

Raju launched the paper on 1st  Feb 2007 as its founding editor. He sought public opinion in selecting the name ‘Mint’- for his creation. It was well received from the beginning as No 2 National Business paper, behind the The Economic Times, which was already long established.

Raju ran ‘Mint’ as an unbiased and clear-minded chronicler of the Indian dream. The size and the content of ‘Mint’ was new to India’s readers. Political analysis, music and art coverage too found place in ‘Mint’. Reputed writers contributed articles to it and these writers were very well –paid for their work.

Raju successfully negotiated a  collaboration with The Wall Street Journal.  Mint was a sensation and as its founding editor, Raju was unique. He was able to expand   it from Delhi and Bombay to Bangalore, Pune, Chandigarh and Hyderabad editions,among others.  Later, they also brought out an Asian edition from Singapore.

Raju’s stunning clarity, his charm, his leadership qualities, fearlessness, professionalism and; his commitment to work helped him to hire talented people who worked sincerely knowing his style of functioning and his depth in journalism.

I met some of his staff members who were grateful to Raju as they learnt a lot from him-how best to work.

Raju was so engrossed in his work he could hardly devote time to family matters. Kim managed everything, hiring several helpers to assist her in running her home in a new country. Those helpers were happy to work for them as they were not only well paid but also they received financial help from Kim and Raju to educate their kids.

Kim set aside her career to raise their kids Leila and Zola. They were admitted into an international school studying through French medium. They learnt ballet dance, instrumental music (violin), art –drawing and painting, Kim managed every thing. Raju could spend time with them only on Saturdays-taking them out on outdoor activities.

Kim authored some picture books for kids and also prepared a travel guide. She made friends with some Indian families and entertained them quite often at her home. She helped Raju in editing some articles written for Mint.

Delhi pollution affected Leila and Zola’s health. Kim took them to the best doctors for help.

Innaiah and myself spent a lot of time with Raju’s family in Delhi and that was when Leila and Zola came very close to us. Innaiah used to accompany them to drop them at school, to dance classes and art classes. They are very fond of their Grandpa.

Raju initially thought that he needs to work in Delhi for at least four years. But what he wanted to achieve he did it in three years.

Raju also wrote Romantic Realist Blog from Delhi. He attended The World Economic Forum as a young global leader and was on the board of the world Editors Forum.

Raju was the State Guest at 2008 Olympics in – China. He had the honor of running with the Olympic Torch in mainland China.

 33.Raju returns to America

In January 2009,Raju moved back to America and took charge as the Managing Editor of The Washington Post in Washington D.C. In the same week, he met Barack Obama,who had not yet been sworn in as the President. Raju was introduced as the new Managing Editorand then President-elect quipped:  So both of us are new to Washington.

Raju was in charge of the features sections in print and was primarily responsible for integrating print and digital, a big challenge.

Raju also helped the post with his cost-cutting, saving it from financial problems. Marcus Brauchli his former colleague at WSJ, was the editor at the Post.

Kim was happy to come back as her parents, sister, grandparents and cousins live in Maryland. Leila and Zola joined the French International School. They lived in Bethesda – near their  school.

Naveena was happy to have her brother’s family in Maryland. She enjoyed the company of her nieces Leila and, Zola. When  the three of them (The Narisetti Girls) smile, the world smiles with them. Such is the enchanting sight of their smile.  By then we were living with Naveena so we also enjoyed the company of our children and grand children.


(To be continued-) 

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