From Debonair to Outlook: Frank and fearless editor Vinod Mehta leaves a legacy behind

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By Ishan Kukreti

Delhi woke up to a lazy, hazily lit Sunday morning, on 8th March,2015, unaware that a man who had driven the imagination of many, mentored many, would not be there for them anymore.

Vinod Mehta, one of the foremost journalists of the country, without whom, names like the Sunday Observer, Indian Post, The Independent, The Pioneer and the beloved Outlook would not be there, took a permanent retirement from the world. His presence is sure to be missed by many.

Vinod`s career was full of crests and troughs.  Starting with Debonair, his career took a leap from irrelevant to the relevant with the launch of Sunday Observer, 1981 and later the Outlook, 1995.

He is best known as the editor-in-chief of Outlook and his editorial decisions there shaped not just the image of the magazine as a forerunner of objective, truthful journalism but also his reputation as a no-nonsense seeker and portrayer of truth. His decision to run a story on the infamous Radia Tapes, though cost him his position at the magazine`s editorial department, exposed a fundamental rot in the information industry, that needed to be brought out in open and introspected about.

Vinod was a down to earth practical man, who knew his abilities and his place in the world. Everyone who ever worked with him would vouch for his openness to ideas and suggestions, his reputation as a lousy paymaster and a magnanimous human.

The reason India will miss Vinod Mehta is because he was the storyteller to an entire generation. Like a grandma to a kid, he whispered mysteries into the minds of people through his columns and they all will miss him very much.