Combining biography and memoir Shankar Ghosh writes of his father's life as a journalist in his father's own voice. As the longest-serving and the first Indian editor of the second-oldest English newspaper in India the Pioneer his father Dr S.N. Ghosh's career matched step with the most profound changes in modern history including India's coming of age as an independent nation.
As a cub reporter for the Pioneer Dr Ghosh saw the 'whites only' clubs of the British Raj. During the Bengal Famine he was one of the few journalists who wrote about the disaster and even helped his wife smuggle grain to Calcutta then a punishable offence. On the eve of Independence he wrote the Pioneer's editorial to mark the historic day. In the 1950s he witnessed the beginning of the Ram Janma Bhoomi movement -- after an idol of Ram Lalla appeared surreptitiously in the Babari Masjid. He also chronicled the India--China war and the politicking in an incipient Uttar Pradesh and had experienced first-hand the Jim Crow years in the US when he travelled in the country.
As a journalist Dr Ghosh's personal accounts were many. He loved to tell them and Shankar to listen. Shankar's prose condenses as a perfumer bottles a fragrance his father's remembrances his father's life in romance of a newspaper and the spirit of an early Lucknow all for us to get a whiff of those times. As memoirs go Scent of a Story is a charmer of a book.