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Niraj Srivastava

A Story Teller

The Inside Story!

From the archives : Niraj hails from a family of doctors (three generations of Ophthalmologists!) and though currently based at Allahabad –since the last forty five years- traces his genealogical and geographical meanderings over the last two centuries from Benares to Banda, Hamirpur, Rath and Seondhi, and thereafter to Lucknow and finally, Allahabad! Descended from the family of Diwan Rai Gurbuksh Singhji, erstwhile Diwan to Maharaja Chet Singh of Benares, he revels in the regal and ceremonial melodrama of ancient royal courts and laments the fact that he has been born in a skewed democracy, where the kingship changes crown with irregular frequency. The only saving grace for him is that the royal maneuverings, plunderings, political back stabbing, chicanery and deceit of yore, have safely made their way into the New Order too!

The School Bag Years : Niraj did his complete schooling from Boys’ High School & College, Allahabad, and is inordinately proud of his record for having been caned on almost every single day of his school years, and attributes much of his success to the frequency and ‘zing’ of the School Sergeant’s cane. Though awarded the Class Prize in English several times, as also the Commerce Prize, the author confesses that aroma from his tiffin box and the length of the skirt in a neighbouring Convent for girls had a more invigorating effect on him than either Rudyard Kipling or the Hypotenuse Theorem. In his early school years, he bid a solemn farewell to Science and Maths, which left Algebra ( Ravana’s mausi, according to Niraj!) in tears! He is still trying to figure out how x + y = z… He completed (hopefully!) his Bachelor’s in Commerce with an errant distinction in Statistics, and then his Master’s in Business Administration from Motilal Nehru Institute of Research & Business Administration, University of Allahabad. After a short stint with Remington Rand of USA and Jaypee Rewa Cement, he left to pursue his Doctorate in Management from the University of Canterbury, England, and returned to get married and establish a premier security agency, in that order.

On The Playing Field : Despite his short height, Niraj was a sprinter (and winner!) for the 100 and 200 metres event, which he explains by way of ‘quickening’ his fast-twitch muscles through stored memories of Sergeant’s Cane and its impending anguished tingling of the posterior. Generally, boys from Boys’ High School did learn to run fast. He was also a member of the College Football Team and was an asset, as he invariably ‘fixed’ on to a rival player rather than the football, and chased them over the ground on one pretext or the other. Many such matches had to be abandoned. Since he was in the Red House (St. George’s) he had a special affinity for collecting red cards. He was good in Cricket too, and always found a way into the Cricket Team on account of his boxing skills. There were very few objections to his cricketing (mis)feats. A case in point was the Red vs. Blue House match in which the opening batsman was a Sikh by the name of Lakhwinder Singh, and the author (because of his boxing skills) was the opening bowler! To compensate for his short height, he had a prodigious run up, and then a short hop at the point of releasing the ball. The first ball thrown with great might struck the turban of Lakhwinder Singh and a tremendous uproar ensued. The second ball, angled lower, hit Lakhwinder in the buttocks and World War III was in the making. After much abusive fist shaking and yells of ‘Blue, Blue, polish my shoes!’ the third ball was bowled with a lower hop and trajectory. Lakhwinder, in mortal fear by now, after being assailed on his head and jutting posterior, preferred to save his shins this time and sacrificed his stumps! The author excelled in Boxing and strutted around like a Junior Muhammed Ali. He was awarded the College Colours in Boxing. He represented the University of Allahabad in the All India Inter Varsity Boxing Championships in the Welter Weight category. Subsequently. he was awarded the University Colours in Boxing.

The Author’s rainbow :
His rainbow carries more colour than the regular seven!

- He loves spicy food and is ready to kill for Seekh Kebabs and Pani Puchka.
- He loves to yodel. He needs no Pest Control for his home.
- A great fan of Kishore Kumar, his friends quickly ‘unfriend’ him when he starts to sing.
- His school friends don’t like him much. His yodeling got the whole class caned frequently.
- He idolizes Muhammed Ali, and for many years ‘floated like a butterfly’ in front of the Girls’ Hostel of MLN Medical College, Allahabad, where he stayed with his parents.
- His complexion is not the only thing which matches that of Ali, the former World Heavyweight Champion. Though Ali towers over him by nearly 10 in, Niraj matches his biceps at 15in!
- Books love him. He has a personal library of over 15,000 books, some of them exceedingly rare and priceless.
- He is a staunch devotee of Shree Batuk Bhairav, the fifth Rudra Incarnation of Lord Shiva.
- He lives at Allahabad with his mother, wife Smita, and two children – Devesh and Riticka. Smita is a talented artist/illustrator in her own right, and all the Mughal illustrations in his books are conceived and created by her. Devesh is pursuing his medical studies (in line with the family tradition) and Riticka is studying for her Bachelor’s in Management.
- Niraj is totally convinced that he was the ‘Rajah’ of a small kingdom in his previous birth; He is also deeply convinced that he was a singing sensation in one of his previous births; He is immovably convinced that he was either Sundari or Munderi in Rani Laxmi Bai’s army in a previous birth, and the list goes on…
- He is also convinced that he has made a ‘short hop’ in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, as he would like nothing better than to sit on a tree branch and heckle the pretenders passing beneath. Even pelt them with a few pebbles if the mood so arises.
In short, he is a maverick and relentless STORYTELLER!