Soon after I joined The Tribune, the late T K Ramasamy stalked up to me and asked me to pick a book that I would review for him. I did, and so started a long association with a man I learnt much from. Ramasamy was a chain smoker and a Marxist. I was neither. He encouraged me while cajoling me to do more. He was a Tamil, and was well-versed in Punjabi literature, far more than I was. Ramasamy was also a remarkably generous man, who encouraged talent from the region he had adopted as his own.

He was a great editor to work with, kind with his words, rigorous in dealing with the copy. Years later, when he was not too well, I started assisting him with the Book Review pages too. Ramasamy passed away on February 27, 2002, literally in my arms as we are taking him to hospital.

I was assigned the book review work, and to my mind, he still lives the Book Review pages of The Tribune, through the reviewers he initiated and nurtured.

I was fortunate to have had a mentor like him, and I am thankful to him for teaching me so much.

One of the best things about book reviews is that you have to read books! As journalists, it is easy to fall into the trap of not “finding enough time” to read. This way you have to, and if you love reading as I do, so much the better!