Table for two is a collection of conversations with India’s achievers, captured at their candid best over a meal or a cup of coffee. In the company of Business Standard’s team of reporters and editors, they open up about what brings team joy, what fuels their despair and the circumastances that have shaped their lives.
The book – a peek into their life and times – is an exciting read for all who want to know more about the people who shape the country’s political, academic, cultural, business and financial landscape.
Lunch with BS has been a permanent fixture in Business Standard for well on a decade and has become something of an institution. The column started out modestly o the news pages with our Saturday paper and then became such a popular feature with readers that it was given pride of place on the opinion pages, where it remains to this day. As one of the most-read features in the papers, the idea of offering an annual compilation, of which this is the first, almost suggests itself.
The most frequently asked question about the column is: how do we choose our guests? To answer that, let’s first consider what the column is about. This is not a straight Q&A session over a meal, as many might think. There are several reasons we host a guest of our choice and at our expense to a restaurant or eatery of their choice. First, it provides us an opportunity to go behind the daily headlines and discuss serious issues in greater depth with people who are leaders a look at the persona behind the public face.
The format, therefore is not a novelty for its own sake. Our guests may well be conscious of the image they wish to project—and many come well prepared to enter the spirit of things—but the cuisine they choose, how they dress their mannerisms, their jokes, all say as much about their personality as what they choose to say on the record, qualities subtly enhanced by artist Binay Sinha’s illustrations.
As a newspaper, our choice of guest is naturally dictated by the news: who is making it and whether we think our readers would be interested in reading about them. That explanation does, of course, open us to the charge of subjectivity. But run an eye down the index of names in this book and it would be hard to argue that they are people in whom business readers would be uninterested. Nor do we stick to businesspeople, bureaucrats and policy-makers only: our selection covers activists, academics, writers, artistes, bankers, industrialists and even a guru!
Some caveats for readers who may have doubts, We do not accept proposals for this column nor do we follow the practice of approaching restaurants to be profiled. The choice of guest is decided by our senior editors only and the restaurant is dictated strictly by the guest’s preference.
Of course, not all our guess have the time for a leisurely midday meal—which is why Lunch with BS has frequently metamorphosed into Tea with BS or Dinner, or Breakfast (and on one memorable occasion lunch and breakfast) and once, even Juice! That is why the title of this book avoids specifying the meal and focuses instead on offering our readers a unique buffet that is truly, to use a cliché, food for thought.
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