Since morning I received three calls and several messages from friends all over. And all were about David Davidar. Why did people remember me when they read about him in their morning newspapers baffles me because I left Penguin 13 years back after what can be called a really short stint. Well, the reason might be because I never stopped talking about David ever since. I have told the denizens of Bangalore about him, my common friends about him, my girlfriends about him, and pretty much everybody that I can remember. Even my wife, who's seen him from a distance like you see a luminary from the fringes of a social do, is at awe. Still.
What did I tell people about him? First that I looked up to him. Literally, because he was 6'3" in 1997 and I a mere 5'7". He would like "Hello" in his booming voice down at me, a scrawny, mongoloid, tongue-tied editorial assistant who was taking in everything he saw and heard. And second, that he was surrounded by a bevy of beauties, who never, ever complained about him trying to make a pass at them. Never. I know because I have been really close with some of them and they would generally complain about lecherous men to me. But nobody, ever, spoke about David. We were all, always, at awe of him. Third, because he would finish reading manuscripts overnight, or write for the Book Talk column (in The Hindu) in a flight! Fourth, because he was as handsome and charismatic as Vijay Amritraj, but never used his power or charms to go philandering about. The publishing world is very incestuous when it comes to wagging tongues and nobody talked about him slapping any woman's bottom or asking them to meet him after work.
I know Shobhaa De will write about this tomorrow. She, in her memoirs, has written about almost everybody, even about Sanjeev Kumar (whom we all have so much respect for) being a lecherous drunkard. But she always had good things to say about David.
David married a pretty lady called Rachna in 1998 after a longish affair. And what happened in the last 13 years that made him fall for someone like Lisa Rundle? Did he fall for her? Were they in a relationship? He says they were friends for three years, so what happened? Did she fall for him and didn't get a response? Is this her way of making some quick buck? At what expense?
I, even after 13 years, will have to stand by him and show my solidarity. Whatever version of truth comes out after the trial.