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We have come a long way, and it is time for me to enter a new learning and growing phase, and who better to guide my way than you, who have walked along? Below is a short survey for regular readers. I would appreciate it if you took a moment and shared your feedback so that you find more of what you like on the blog in the future.

Thank you!

With letters getting leaked only to go missing all through this Tehelka Rape Scandal, I have decided to post copies of new ones here, just to be sure that they don't go missing or change after factoring into public perception in specific ways, like the original one.

This is the letter Tarun Tejpal wrote to the victim before he sent her his formal apology that she had asked for (will try to find it and post copy of that too).

Dear ...

This is not the formal apology you seek. That will follow in a few minutes too. This is the informal one, for you and me.

I am sorry at the immense distress that's been caused to you by my lapse of judgment, but I want you to know its been totally devastating for me too, in every possible way (and since you know Tiya and Geetan well, you would know what I am saying).

This is for me to figure out how it went so terribly misunderstood and wrong. To begin with, for ten years at Tehelka one has ensured no shadow of anything limits or cramps the women journalists. At every forum, public and private, I have lauded the great work done by Tehelka's women reporters and editors; and have personally always stayed at arm's length. You yourself were always treated with the highest regard and accommodation and affection, and nothing ever asked of you save great work. Your continuous growth was always a source of pride. That you were tasked to escort De Niro was merely the latest token of our trust.

The context that ill-fated evening, of our conversation, as you will recall, was heavily loaded. We were playfully and flirtatiously talking about desire, sex; you were telling me the Bob Geldof story in graphic detail, and about Aman, and the near-impossibility of fidelity; and of the aftermath of meeting me one stormy evening in my office when I was sitting watching the thunderclouds. I also want to clarify that yes, you did say at one point that I was your boss, and I did reply "that makes it simpler" but in the very same breath and sentence I said to you "I withdraw that straight away - no relationship of mine has anything at all, ever, to do with that".

It was in this frivolous, laughing mood that the encounter took place. I had no idea that you were upset, or felt I had been even remotely non-consensual, until Tiya came and spoke to me the next night. I was shocked and devastated at the time. Both because you felt I had imposed on you (which had neither been my reading or intention), and because I felt I had been totally irresponsible and foolish to have anything furtive to do with my daughter's intimate friend. At that very moment I was filled with shame, and still am. (And what is not true is that I ever, even remotely, whispered any word in intimidation.)

You have made it clear that I read it all wrong, and I will not dispute it, nor underplay your anger and hurt. This is easily the worst moment of my life - something ostensibly playful gone so horribly wrong, damaging of all that I hold dear in life, from people to principles.

I ask you to forgive and forget it. I will meet your mom and apologise to her too - and Aman if you so wish. I also want you to keep working at Tehelka as you always have, reporting to Shoma as you do. Both Tehelka and Shoma have never let you down.

My punishment has already been upon me, and will probably last till my last day.



I need funds if I have to be able to continue blogging. I have been trying to avoid this point for a long time, but now I must earn while being able to blog, or I must take up a job - in which case, given a special needs child and job, I am unlikely to find the time and energy to much here. Making needs meet is no longer possible by continuing as I am.

I think it will be a pity if the blogging here stops, not only because I enjoy doing it, but I also think I bring up a diversity of views which are important to exist in the public space.

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To all of you anonymous, known, yet to be known harbringers of truth.

India Pakistan anything is not easy. Be it praise, care or even blame. So here I am, an Indian, telling you in this moment at least that I care.

Not my place to recommend anything. Not qualified. Not as journalist, neither as someone who has seen so much danger. Never seen blast or touched gun. I almost feel guilty writing this. So take with salt. But I thought of it, so sharing.

Beginning with saying how much I admire you for still having the guts to question things, break stories, risk life and limb in pursuit of truth. In a time when we are losing belief in the credibility of journalists in my country, where we wonder about bribes and lobbies and what nots, it is a stark contrast to see the extents to which you go to, in full knowledge of possible danger to your life. Perhaps danger also brings out the best in each of us.

I think you guys should have some kind of strategy. Each of you has been scarred by these deaths. You know the pain. Perhaps the ones doing really risky work can protect identities somehow? Fake or protected author info on some articles, or possibly breaking difficult stories in many places at same time?

I don't know, but I have come to read your words and I care.

Saleem Shahzad died today. I had read his words and admired the kinds of inside information he was leveraging. Today he is dead. I feel sad. I see your sorrow in the torrent of tweets (on Twitter) and other places. I have no words to offer. That is my frustration.

I think you guys are pretty much the only hope Pakistan has left. The only ones with the reach to people and objectives of changing society for the better. You owe it not only to yourself, but to your country, and this region to be strong and safe. I don't think careful is working anymore. SS was picked from a supposedly safe area.

This candles in the dark thing is not working. Too easy to puff out. You need to be a wildfire. To have back ups, possibly Julian Assange style information bombs if something happens? Perhaps the answer is in being bold and being bold in unstoppable quantities? I don't wish to see you in danger and courting risks, but increasingly it appears as though only the bold have been able to make any dent in anything or even be relatively safe.

I don't know. Thinking aloud mostly.

I want you to know I care.