Arnab Goswami and Television of the Absurd


Arnab Goswami and Television of the Absurd

Illustration: Akshita Monga


met Arnab Goswami for the first time in the November of 2004. As meetings go, it was an innocuous one, conducted in a small cabin tucked away on the editorial floor of the Times of India building at Victoria Terminus. The Times group was due to launch a business news channel – a long-cherished ambition – and Arnab was the man in-charge. After six years with CNBC TV 18, I was a potential hire. I knew of Arnab vaguely as the “slightly pompous man” who often appeared along with Rajdeep Sardesai on NDTV. He wasn’t in the same league as either Sardesai or Barkha Dutt, the channel’s best-known faces after the revered Dr Prannoy Roy, and he was not a business news journalist either. I wondered fleetingly about the rationale behind his hire.

The first meeting turned out to be pleasant: Arnab was affable, articulate, and charming. There was no trace of his on-air pomposity. I was offered an exciting role almost immediately, a free hand to conceptualise, produce, and anchor a band of weekend shows for the new business channel. The deal was sealed within a week and a second lunch meeting, where Arnab told me firmly not to think about the job while having dessert: Decisions could wait, desserts couldn’t. At the risk of sounding both flaky and flippant, I decided right then that this was a boss worth having.