Santosh Desai

By Bachi Karkaria
Likes 66
Comments 14
Santosh Desai
Society's Decoder

He's as much of a media rarity as silence on an Arnab show. The antithesis of the party spokespersons who  think that this arena and our ears are their captive prey.  Just  as  they are full of sound and fury signifying piffle, he is the man with  the soft voice and the sharp scalpel. No make that 'chisel'. He is society's archaeologist, quietly chipping away at apparent chaos to reveal  the core of our sadly lost civilisation.

Santosh Desai's byline came into The Times of India  via Rahul Kansal, himself an astute brand builder,  who suggested we ask him  to write for us from the perspective of his day job: analysing consumers and gauging their  response to a product. Mediamorphosis was at full throttle, as much in content as in the vehicles of delivery. Society very definitely had  outstripped the state in the race for our attention. And we were desperately seeking  writers who decode the babel of social change. This guy was Eureka  material.

He had a fresh, indeed unique, approach.  I guess this was because his was a training and experience  not native to conventional media pundits. His pieces were markedly    different in subject matter and the angle of approach. Before long we gave him a column, and  I came up with the name,  'City City Bang Bang'. It sounded clever,  but it soon became clear enough that  both parts were inappropriate. Santosh's Monday column in the TOI  tackles issues, reactions, attitudes  which are  universal  not merely  urban;  and our  is anything but a swashbuckling sheriff  from the Wild West, spitting out, 'Say yer last prayers critter, coz I'm gonna drill yer fulla holes.' He doesn't go for the jugular. He goes for the brain.

He's the object of as much envy as admiration among our fraternity. He's an outlier,  
yet has a readership that the most dyed-in-the-ink journos would kill for. They sharpen their daggers in vain. You have to have that set of  gears in your head,  those  long years of peering down the microscope at consumers and markets to be able to come  up  with what is his  unchallenged IPR: drilling down to the  concept  behind the  event, presenting his supporting arguments with clarity and arriving at a conclusion. He has the integrity, the self assurance to admit that this surmise could be open-ended.

Too often we professional pontificators use the opposite method. Decide on a premise and then force fit the facts to prove it. Conceded, his is the more sensible way. 


Journalist, Columnist and Author
Comments (14)
Jairam Pai Both Bachi & Santosh are going great guns...or should I say hammer & tongs...!!!??
28 Oct 2015 Reply
Karthik Nair (Guest) "He is society's archaeologist, quietly chipping away at apparent chaos to reveal the core of our sadly lost civilisation." How brilliantly put.
27 Oct 2015 Reply
Shalini Singh (Guest) Santosh Desai's articles are like a breath of fresh air.
26 Oct 2015 Reply
Zoya Akhtar (Guest) "He doesn't go for the jugular. He goes for the brain."- How true! His articles definitely stimulates the brain.
23 Oct 2015 Reply
Laksmi Dubey (Guest) Great article!!
22 Oct 2015 Reply
Divya Soni (Guest) "He is society's archaeologist, quietly chipping away at apparent chaos to reveal  the core of our sadly lost civilisation."- This is one of the better descriptions of Santosh (of all the ones I've come across).
21 Oct 2015 Reply
Jai Jaiswal (Guest) City City Bang Bang is indeed a creative and catchy name, but the man indeed goes a lot beyond what the title says. His articles are always thought provoking and interesting to read.
21 Oct 2015 Reply
Malvika Anand (Guest) Santosh Desai's articles always forces you to think. His articles are the best part of TOI. 
21 Oct 2015 Reply
Ryan Dixit (Guest) "He is society's archaeologist, quietly chipping away at apparent chaos to reveal  the core of our sadly lost civilisation."- Beautifully said Ms. Karkaria.
21 Oct 2015 Reply
Swati bansal (Guest) rahul kansal was Santosh's boss at mudra.. It was under Rahul, santosh that mudra @ delhi was the best agency in delhi.. we all wanted to be at mudra delhi at that time-:)
20 Oct 2015 Reply
rahul khanna (Guest) a loss for the ad. industry..  a huge gain for the nation.. love your writing Santosh. And thank you bachi for doing us all a favor.
20 Oct 2015 Reply
seema gupta (Guest) santosh makes the advertising industry proud. I was at mcaan at the time he was there and we all felt the power behind us and the wind in our sails.. Mccann built it's position on the back of santosh. Keep flying Mr desai. 
20 Oct 2015 Reply
Jatinder Sethi Bachi -As, at the start of this piece on Santosh, you contrasted with your Shri Goswami of the Times Now and the shouting brigade of Party Spokespersons, I would put Santosh way way way up over some of TOIs other columnist like Chetan Bhagat, and quite a few more of them. Santosh is one of the few, I pay for buying Times of India, and not to read full pages of Times promoted movies. Sober.Sensitive.Senseble,Sound but no fury. After reading Santosh,I always SMS "LIKE" Thanks for putting Pranab and others at their proper places.JATINDER
20 Oct 2015 Reply
Udisha Uniyal (Guest) His blog in TOI is like a parent's gentle push, making us realize what is wrong and forces us to think about making things better. The subtly in his language is impeccable.
20 Oct 2015 Reply


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