The literary flower that bloomed out to be Somnath Batabyal, the author of ‘The Price We Pay’ (his latest release), had sprouted in the city of Siliguri (West Bengal) in the year 1974. Nobody could ever imagine that the child, who avoided school in childhood and was concerned more about badminton while playing in Guwahati, would have the honour of topping in his degree of English literature at University of Delhi. But that was that! Once done with his degree, he spent a good six years as a professional reporter and gathered the experience of working with many of the most reputed news houses like The Asian Age, The Pioneer, The Hindustan Times and The Week.
It was the two awards that he received for his journalistic skills that took him away from India. The first was Dhiren Bhagat Award for investigative journalism under which he got a two-month working scholarship with The Daily Telegraph. The second was The Chevening Young Print Journalist Award that included two months working at The Sunday Times in London after a two-month course at the University of Westminster. This was in year 2000.
Later on it’s not that he did not return to India. After being back in Delhi in 2001, he took to television journalism and joined NDTV (New Delhi Television) as a Special Correspondent from Calcutta. He continued to hold that position for two years.
It was again because of scholarships he received in the year 2003 that he went back to London. He did his Masters in Anthropology of the Media from SOAS, London. Then went on to do Ph.D. too. It was his research work that took the form of his first book ‘ Making News in India: Star News and Star Ananda’ that was published by Routledge.
The first was followed by ‘Ecology of Participation: A walk through the Media Environment’, which he brought out during the time he was Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Heidelberg in Germany from the year 2009 to 2012. After that he joined as lecturer in Media in Development at the School of Oriental and African studies in the year 2012. He married musician and musicologist, Georgie Pope in the same year. He also has to his credit the much acclaimed documentary ‘Don’t Cut My Head Off’ as the co-director. At present he writes a regular column for The Sunday Guardian entitled ‘Nomad Notes’.
His latest book ‘The Price You Pay’, a thriller based on a case of kidnapping. It has the storyline of the adventures of a young crime journalist and it is set in Delhi, when it was at the turn of a millennium.