The Jazz Man Cometh


SOLI SORABJEE has new ways to forget he’s 79. Reading war poems into the night, he finds himself in a “fantasy land, where I’m the General ordering the army, taking out bunker after German bunker”.

Soli Sorabjee
Soli Sorabjee
Age: 79
Profession: Jurist, former Attorney General
Secret obsessions: Racehorses; war movies (has seen Patton six times); audio poems; literary evenings with close friends; rice (can’t have a meal without it) Photo: Anay Mann

Coming from the former Attorney General of India, such fantasies seem a bit misplaced. Then he reveals the prodigal instincts of his youth, the mornings spent on lush racecourses of Mumbai, Pune, Colombo, training a troop of horses. “I’d be at the racecourse at 5am with a stop watch.” Tamer hobbies like law and clarinet followed.

War junkie, jazz aficionado, poetry lover, a foodie who savours Goan curry and rice, many things keep Sorabjee alive. Though still involved with legal matters, he’d rather tell you about his finer ventures – an anthology called ‘Soli’s Literary Gems’, (expect Keats, Shelley, TS Eliot), and a Jazz CD, ‘Soli’s Favourites’ (the same he gifted Bill Clinton) are releasing soon. Given Sorabjee’s proclivity for “the gab,” you wonder if these fine pursuits just hit him. Anything’s possible at 79. Often, Sorabjee likes to “escape from this world of law and politicking” to his Bangalore apartment full of music and poetry. He doesn’t hesitate to invite you along. Muffled behind the blazer, the law journals and polished jazz collection, a debonair racer clearly gambles on.

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Special Correspondent

Tusha Mittal has been with Tehelka since March 2008. She was educated at La Martiniere, Kolkata, and has a bachelor’s degree from Depauw University in Indiana. While in the US, she worked as a reporter and a special sections editor for a local newspaper in Boston. She also interned with CNN Internationalin Atlanta and NBC Universal in London. In her final year in college, she studied the idea of peace journalism and the role of the media in covering conflict.

She travelled to Kashmir for her graduation thesis, which dissected the role of the Indian and Pakistani media in shaping public perception of the Kashmir conflict. Her journalism interests include reporting on environment, human rights, and conflict. She has recently won The Press Institute of India award for best articles on humanitarian issues published in the Indian media. AtTehelka, she has written extensively on land rights and displacement struggles. She is based in New Delhi.


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