The Curious Case of... Shivani Naik

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curious cases

(All of us are born curious. Some of us actively practice it, irrespective of age. Our Curious Cases series give you a glimpse into the minds of such curious folk. May they rub off you the right way!)

One of the best sports journos in the country, she is as famous for her Gmail status quizzes as her Olympics coverage. Surreptiously passionate, ridiculously modest and eternally elusive, this is her curious case.

(You can read her stories here.)


Name Shivani Naik

Location Mumbai

What I do Write in a newspaper

On the Curiosity scale, I am... Plain Curious

What I prefer to consume (in descending order of preference): Movies / Audio / Newspapers / Books / TV shows / Social

Number of books and movies I get through in a year 10 books, 100 movies

One book I’d recommend to a friend / colleague:The Man by Irving Wallace. It preceded Obama, and has stayed with me.

My best source for book / movie / website recommendations: Friends and my instinct. I don't go by reviews of people who I don't know. And even after that, I use my instinct to decide.

One movie / show I’ve loved that hardly anyone else has watchedBadshah. (Though a lot of people may have watched it.)

I am currently reading:Nemesis by Misha Glenny

One place on Earth that I am very curious about:Cuba. A lot of dances I like watching can be traced back to there. Fascinating Cold War history. Also it is very medically advanced. South America itself is relatively little known and Cuba is a little South America.

Website(s) that I get a lot of useful info from: Google. My online reading is always search-word directed. I read very little that's not in print.

One topic I am super-opinionated about: Politics / Disarmament

People come to me to find out what I think about these topics: Sport, Movies, Politics, other people. Actually anything that is vague and random. Let me put it this way: they come for anything except relationship and dressing advice.

(Social Media channels) I prefer to use (in descending order of preference) None. It's all a lot of clutter and it takes time to sort through the clutter. If I want to get in touch with someone, I prefer the human touch: talking, meeting. Though I do read twitter feeds of some people whose views I'm interested in.

The strangest food item I have eaten Idli chilli. Aka Chinese Idli. Also in scotland, local Indian Gujaratis have invented veg haggis. How they managed to make it is really strange (and that's how it tasted as well).

If I could spend a day in the mind, body, and shoes of a person, it would be... My mum's. I have tried being like her and never managed: extremely calm and dignified in the worst of situations. It will be nice to have that simple, uncomplicated, calm mind.

One interesting / fun fact I recently learnt: Hans Christian Andersen and Prince Charles look quite similar

I stay up-to-date by doing this... Listening more than talking

One interesting/fun fact about myself 1. I bungee jumped to the count of 1 to write a first-person account as a trainee journalist.

2. Also another crazy thing I did (which also shows my lack of Social Media savviness): Just before the Commonwealth Games in Scotland (2014), Abhinav Bindra had tweeted something like:'It will be the last time I will be competing... Tom will now." So in a press conference in Glasgow after the games, where he had just won the gold (and in the presence of the entire media contingent), I asked him who Tom was. He said, with the full Abhinav-Bindra-look: Er, tom is tomorrow? Up until then I had been very curious to know who this influential Tom was. (And Abhinav is still competing.)

I express my curiosity by doing these things: Reading, asking. debating, snooping

The one thing I am very interested in Why South Africa keep losing in the semifinals

A habit or skill I’d love to acquire: Drive, Walk in heels

A movie or TV show that taught me something new House, M.D.

If there was one mystery I’d like to solve, it would be Why did Yakub Memon return to India, and trust this country with his life

I would love to do this at least once Be an ordinary person and protect a superhero, when usually it's the other way around.

People I would like to ask all these same questions to:Priya Ramani, Imtiaz Ali, Abhay Deol, Mark Ruffalo, Sania Mirza, Ajay Jadeja

Curiosity is important to my work because... It's the only trigger to write more stories

Someone I know who asks a lot of questionsSmita Nair

My curiosity tip Figure for yourself. You might read everything, watch people's views, but you need to have an original take on everything.

Where you can be found online Nowhere. But you can Google my stories.

More Curious Cases here!