I met Naomi Dutta, when she was producing “Love 2 Hate U”, a show that aired on Star World. If there’s one thing I remember about her was that she was patient. She nodded attentively while I spoke, her eyes alert. She spoke with conviction about her vision for the show. In a consequent meeting for a project that I was working on- I got to know Naomi better. We spoke about her book that I had not read yet.

The 6 pm Slot by Naomi Dutta

Infact had stopped reading for a while. No book held my attention for more than 10 pages. Every Indian author I picked up was either writing about nostalgia or longing or nostalgic longing. Reading has always been my solace but recently every book I picked up made me want to slit my wrists and sob myself to sleep. (I’m talking about Anjali Joseph’s Saraswati Park. I swear. Nothing good was happening to anyone. I just could not handle it after a while.) The 6 PM Slot  finally broke that curse. It’s a light-hearted satire on the television industry- the story of a woman (who for all intents and purposes reminds me of Naomi Dutta who sat across the room from me on the day we first met) who produces a T.V show in the 6:00 p.m. slot, which the channel heads  want to turn into the new prime time slot. From the host of her show getting chicken pox, to the stingy production head, most of Dutta’s observations and portrayals seem bang on. As someone who works in the industry, I know all the people she’s talking about. She ties it in well with the story of a news channel and a news anchor that we all know so well. It could have definitely been shorter and the crux of the story could have been less fluffy and it might have qualified as a ‘serious satire’ (don’t ask me if that’s a legitimate expression). But Dutta has some funny turns of phrase that make up for it’s shortcomings. The 6PM Slot was a day long read that has revved my engines up to read some more. But I’m still going to keep the vein nice and light. Next Up- The Reluctant Detective by Kiran Manral

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