The picture behind why Banned: A Social Media Trial had to be written

Boria Majumdar with Indian Hockey Team players in Bengaluru with the book, Banned: A Social Media Trial

I am in Bengaluru for a series of shoots, and Simon and Schuster, my publishers, had asked if I was agreeable to visiting a number of book stores and doing book signings. It is always good to meet readers and interact with them, so my answer was an overwhelming yes! And, may I say, it was a very good experience to hop into book stores in the middle of the showers that cooled the temperature quite a bit. 

It was at one of the book stores that a young couple came forward and asked me a straightforward question. They had read the book and found it fascinating. And yet, they had come down to the store just to speak to me. “Tell us candidly,” one of them asked. “Did you not feel scared to write the book?” 

I was very keen to put out the truth there, so fear wasn’t an emotion that I really encountered during the writing process. And when I said so, they seemed a little taken aback. “You are challenging the established narrative,” said the man. “You are challenging entitlement, and yet you did not feel scared?”

That was when I was taken back to the picture. A story I told them in some detail, and at the end of which, they had one thing to tell me. “The book had to be written.”


Here is that story. 

The picture

While in Oxford in May 2022, my wife and I decided that we would go to Birmingham for a week, for that was where the Commonwealth Games were to be held. And for India, the games had the potential be a watershed. There was a lot of buzz back home, and it was hoped that it would be the event where Indian athletes excelled. Not many of the established media houses send reporters to such events anymore, and we planned to bring a team of six so that we could cover most of the events in real time and with on-ground presence. The idea required meticulous planning and adequate funding, and a trip to Birmingham was essential.

It is just an hour by train from Oxford, and we decided to make the most of our presence there. On the day of travel, Sharmistha clicked a picture of Aisha with me at the station, on the train to Birmingham. Me by the window, and her next to me with her stuffed toys and drawing paraphernalia, all set for the journey. The usual father-daughter picture which you would have thought would be exempt from any kind of cricket-related abuse. But as I posted it, there were more than a few keyboard warriors lying in wait. One of the comments, which I remember even now, said, ‘Now you don’t have the money to travel by flight anymore, so you are now taking the train! Madar****’

Perhaps he had mistaken Leamington Spa, 20 minutes from Oxford by train, for Liluah, next to Howrah. But whether I had the money or not was no one else’s business. This was just the two of us, father and daughter, enjoying a candid moment. That remark hit me like a freight train. I had had enough. The Cricketer needed to be made aware of the damage and devastation left behind in my life. This book had to be written.

And, yes, readers agree. The response has been overwhelming, and the feedback satisfying on a very different level. The truth is out there, and untruths stand exposed. Yes, the book had to be written.