The first issue of Indian Newslink rolled out in November 1999.
A new English publication in tabloid format was established.
It had one full-time employee- Ravin Lal.
Not that there was dearth of talent but he could not afford a nine-to-five complement.
Ravin worked out of his home, so did others involved from theirs.
It may have worked but not the best course for a newspaper to grow.
Indian Newslink needed people who could be called its own.
With apprehension hanging – we are told many detractors were weary of the concept and were convinced it would not work – it was hard to mobilise proper human resources.
And then came along another team of editorial and production staff.
Together they worked a miracle. Moonlighting for Indian Newslink, more often than not burning the midnight oil, they helped the newspaper take shape.
Increasing market acceptance proved the doomsayers wrong. There were professionals at work and nothing could go astray.
From the ashes
Nothing until a fire, unannounced, destroyed everything the newspaper had.
If 9/11 changed the world around us, 11/11 changed the world within us.
Watching the fire destroy everything in the office, from computers to the pre-paid courier vouchers and stationery, we shed tears in silence.
The November 11 (2001) tragedy enlivened us to harsh realities of life and as we pulled ourselves together (it took us a whole night), we emerged wiser, with added vitality, determination and courage.
“You will not destroy me,” Ravin seemed to tell the dying fire. “We will emerge from the ashes and build a stronger newspaper.”
And so we did.
It was a period of learning in many ways. All of us, including Ravin, realised the hazards we could be subjected to and learnt a few ways of coping with such situations. Indian Newslink shifted its tiny office at least once a day for the next five months as Ravin and his family were forced to move out and stay in a nearby lodge (for several months).
We also learnt how tough, unrelenting and unsympathetic some insurance officials could be, imposing on us more rules than comfort us.
Our spirits bounced back faster than the fire and as we have written in the past, nothing could hold back the release of Indian Newslink, which hit the stands almost on schedule.