Long before Sudheendra Kulkarni, there were the likes of Nikhil Wagle and your humble columnist. In 1991, the Shiv Sena dug up the Wankhede cricket pitch to protest against an India-Pakistan series. I wrote an article condemning the act in the strongest possible terms. A black flag demonstration was staged outside The Times of India office, where I worked in Mumbai, I was verbally abused, but fortunately allowed to leave the premises unhurt.

I have met Deepika Padukone just once: it was the CNN IBN Indian of the year awards last year when she won the special achievement prize for having acted in a series of hit films. She cried on that occasion on receiving the award from her father, the legendary badminton player Prakash Padukone.

‘Don’t insult me by calling me a politician. I am a political cartoonist!’ warned the Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, lighting up a pipe, glass of white wine in hand, as our TV camera zoomed in on him with the Mumbai skyline in the background of the top floor of the Oberoi hotel. It was quintessential Thackeray, for whom image always mattered as much as reality in the creation of a larger-than-life-figure who was both feared and feted.

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