Money Can Buy Love


Cartoon Network Enterprises India and South Asia director Jiggy George's think reading is greatest investment mind. An avid book reader tells Nidhi Jain it would allow writers to make a living and would keep India's smartness quotient in tact.

Who introduced you to reading?

Books are an enduring love. My parents fueled my interest for general knowledge by buying me volumes of the "Tell me why series" and encyclopedias. The idea was to balance/supplement academics and learning by rote. These books along with the Bible were introduced at a very early age. The progression in school saw phases?from the Hardy boys, Alfred Hitchcock adventures to a lot of abridged classics like Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Fin, Moby Dick, Robinson Crusoe etc. I remember a phase of obsession with Sherlock Holmes and his myriad adventures. I wrote a letter to Baker street asking him as to why he came as close as Nepal and never visited India. I was thrilled to get a letter back explaining as to how he would love to come to India and some mystery soon would see him and Watson there. Though precocious; I did not see this as marketing. This letter made an indelible mark and now working in a job that markets dreams to kids; the letter from Sherlock keeps reminding me of how simple ideas can fuel imagination and bring unbridled joy in a kid's life!

The one person who I believe has molded my life is my maternal uncle. He played cupid to my love for books. Bose uncle introduced me to the world of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Milan Kundera, Salman Rushdie, and Amitav Ghosh. Though he was struggling to make a living in Mumbai; he ensured that he invest in buying me books every month. It was his investment into me and it changed my world! I started my love affair with books. It got me traveling vicariously to different parts of the world and activated the theatre of my mind.

Kind of book collection you have

I am promiscuous when it comes to books and my collection is eclectic and reflects the obsessions and different phases of my life. From Classics, to travelogues, from humor to contemporary literature, from graphic books, screenplays, comics to biographies. A lot of music related books and of course corporate stuff. I am not very fond of Indian authors except for my complete love and respect for the works of Amitav Ghosh, Vikram Seth and Khushwant Singh.

I love humor and favorites include Kingsley Amis, Dave Barry, Bill Bryson and Douglas Adams.

Comics ?I love and have the complete Tin Tin's, Asterix, Amar Chitra Katha's, Calvin and Hobbes, Gary Larson , Scott Adams (most of them?)and Mad (all of them until 2005)

I recently got gifted a subscription to the Economist by a worthy friend. I love it and this again is now staple diet.

On favorite authors and well written books

This could take very long but?My current favorite is Nick Hornby and this genre of writing would so appeal to the youth of our country. Its not "high art" and pretentious and this genre of writing does not exist in India. "High Fidelity", "A long way down" and "About a boy" are all superb books!

Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, Gabriel Garcia Marquez- love in the time of Cholera, Hundred years of solitude and Chronicles of a death foretold. John Irving's "World according to Garp", " Zorba the greek " byNikos Kazantzakis, Michael Ondaatje's "The English Patient" and Ian McEwan's " Amsterdam", "To kill a mocking bird" by Harper Lee and even Stephen King's "Shawshank redemption"

"The Hitchhiker" series by Douglas Adams, Vikram Seth's complete works from "Golden gate" and "Equal music" to the "Suitable boy" and the wonderful travelogue "From Heaven's lake"

"The Hitchhiker" series by Douglas Adams, Vikram Seth's complete works from "Golden gate" and "Equal music" to the "Suitable boy" and the wonderful travelogue "From Heaven's lake"?

Every corpo type should read Seth's Hare and tortoise in his book "Beastley Tales". It is the signs of our times!

Amitav Ghosh's "Shadow lines", Rushdie are "Shame" and "Haroun and the sea of stories." The classics like "The Great Gatsby "by Scott Fitzgerald, "The Alexandra quartet" by Lawrence Durrell, "Brighton Rock" by Graham Greene, "The adventures of Tom Sawyer" by Dickens and "Don Quixote "by Cervantes.

I also liked "God of small things'?

As for business related books; I am partial to biographies and loved Richard Branson's Steve Job's and J R D Tata's stories.

I love Sidney Lumet's" making movies" and in recent times, Stephen Levitt's Freakanomics, Malcolm Gladwell's Blink and Lexus and the olive tree by Friedman were very interesting.

Do you find interesting things in every book, how do you choose books you read?

Most of my friends read and I trust their judgment of books. Besides, I check, reviews of books and by browsing at bookstores. The people I love most have to live with my obsession with books- they get the same predictable gifts (a book again!) and have to live with being forced to read.

What do you think of self help books?

I don't think of them! I know it sells a lot of copies because all of us need help. I could not "awaken the giant within" even after trying to read Anthony Robbin's book a hundred times. I loved the Alchemist (if you put this in genre of self help) and I am an unashamed fan of some of the dummies series of books. I greatly benefited by the dummy's guide to Classical music, wines and yoga. I though Stephen Covey's seven habits was great when I read it n MBA School.

Money and time you spend on books

Money in this case can buy love! I spend too much money and rationalize it each time. In fact, I have been forbidden by the Home minister to buy any more books as it is impairing our social life. Fewer friends come home as there is no place to accommodate them!

Books-an investment

The art scene has got fashionable as its now a currency like the stock exchange. It's now cool to say you collect art. I wish this coolness quotient would translate to books. It would keep our writers and publishing industry in business. It would allow writers to make a living and it would keep India's smartness quotient in tact.

I think reading has been my greatest investment. The returns payout greatly at work as it has helped the process of being lateral, communicating better, dreaming up the road ahead, selling a dream!

Browsing and e-reading

Inspite of the fact that I like technology I have still not got used to the idea of e-reading. I guess I am a tactile person. I need to touch and feel books! I guess this explains my obsession with my job?I set up new businesses with brand Pogo and Cartoon Network- the vision being that kids can touch and feel the brands beyond the realm of TV.

Currently reading

Thunderbolt kid by Bill Bryson, TV Nation by Michael Moore, SRK's biography and my daily dose of comics and magazines.

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