'In an era where journalism has come to mean endless din, he stood out as the last of larger-than-life gentleman editors.'
Kuldip Nayar, the doyen of Indian journalism, remembers "dear friend" Vinod Mehta:
Vinod wrote extremely well. His memoir Lucknow Boy is amazing.
What I loved about him as a journalist was that his criticism was not about condemning someone or being bitter. He was never personal or hit below the belt.
He had a sharp understanding of national issues which blended well with his uncanny ability to convey a point without hurting anyone.
We used to meet almost every fortnight for lunch, and catch up on political gossip. He heard a lot and was knowledgeable.
We were both on the same page in sharing a vision of a secular, egalitarian and democratic India.
He was amiable, easy to strike a friendship with, someone who listened to people instead of only doing the talking about himself.
It is sad that journalists like Vinod are going away. There is a vacuum which isn't getting filled up, leaving a person like me quite lonely.
We see a lot of television journalists who get personal. That is not what Vinod would ever do.
What young journalists can learn from him is that with persistence, good writing skills and a sharp news sense, you can rise from humble beginnings to taking up the top position.
I would tease Vinod for being close to the 'dynasty', for being pro-establishment. He would say he wasn't either pro or anti-establishment, but he was mid-way.
Vinod may have gone, but he will be remembered fondly even by those who disagreed with him.
In an era where journalism has come to mean endless din, he stood out as the last of larger-than-life gentleman editors.
As told to Upasna Pandey for Rediff.com
Image: The late Vinod Mehta, with Editor, who he made famous in his Outlook columns.