There often comes a time in our lives when we seriously doubt whether we have made the right decision about something. And then comes that one incident, or a barrage of them, that makes everything worthwhile! I too once doubted it! Doubted whether I was doing well in journalism. And then came along those incidents. I’m gonna list just two-three of them today, but I think they are enough!
My career as a journalist unofficially started towards the end of November 2006, when I was recruited to write a few articles by Lokmat Times, the Nagpur edition. By January 20 next year, I was asked to be a reporter, and within the matter of a week, I was a sub editor and a reporter! It was a full-time job, and paid Rs8,000 approximately per month.
After a few months, I started working for the Nagpur edition of the Times of India, where the pay was immensely better, and I had the stamp of ’Times of India’ on me, despite me being a freelancer. I was a reporter here, working as much as a full-timer, and being treated like one in office. It was here that there happened a few incidents that made me fall in love with journalism, but the love affair had already started with Lokmat Times. And then, from June 3, I started working for DNA, and it has happened here again! These are incidents that made me wanna be a journalist all the more!
The first was when I was in Lokmat Times. At one point of time back then, I used to live with five other people, sometimes even six others, in a three-roomed flat! The person who had stayed in that flat the longest was also the one who inspired me to get my tattoos, and he was, and still is, a great fan of football. Besides, from what little I have known of him, he is an extremely idealistic person, although he may have other chinks in his armour. And I admired him for his integrity.
Therefore, whenever I used to make the sports pages, I used to show one copy to my editor, and after he had edited it and passed it as OK, I used to take out another just so that I could show it to this room-mate of mine. It felt nice, knowing beforehand what the rest of the world, or at least the handful who read my newspaper, would know the next morning. And this friend was, in some ways, an idol of mine too. Now who would pass up the chance to surprise or please one’s idol?
A similar, fulfilling incident took place when I was in Times of India (TOI) too! Actually, several of them. But I remember the last one because it was one of the most dramatic, and it restored my faith in what I believed good journalism was: keep your eyes and ears open, and good stories will fall in your lap!
It was a hot summer afternoon, and summer temperatures in Nagpur crossed 48 degrees C this year. It was on a slightly cooler afternoon that I decided to drink some fresh nimboo paani. Just as the vendor handed me a glass, another gentleman asked for a glass. And after his first sip, commented that he wished some similar refreshing drink was made available near the gates of a certain premise of the Nagpur University. It caught my attention. The place mentioned was the one where all the answer sheets of the university examinations were checked!
I simply asked the gentleman why he needed something refreshing there, because the university is supposed to have a good canteen. The individual quickly debunked my notion by informing that all he got for lunch was piping hot tea and stale, sometimes rancid, samosa! A few more queries revealed that he was indeed one of the examiners, and was definitely not happy with the way the university was dealing with him and his colleagues!
Apparently, this gentleman had to spend out of his own pocket to reach the evaluation centre and go back at the end of the day! Their lunch’s condition is already mentioned. Besides, they didn’t even have proper ventilation or lighting in the rooms where they were made to do all the evaluation work! It was at this point that I introduced myself to the gentleman for who I was, and he withdrew a bit.
I had to assure him that his name would not be dragged into the article. Only then did he divulge more details, and I had enough information for my article! I should also mention the nice and friendly education correspondent who let me write this story, instead of hijacking it. The manner in which I got this story renewed my love affair.
The third of the incidents happened only recently. Now that I am in Jaipur, I have to talk to people from Jaipur when I do local opinion stories. A few days ago, when I had gone to a local girls’ college to attend and cover a function, I had taken down the phone numbers of two girls, which I had thought might come in handy sometime. They did.
I called up the first girl, who happened to be out of station. I called up the second girl, gave her the first girl’s reference, and asked her to help. She obliged, giving me her quote and a photograph from her Facebook profile. The next day, when she came online on FB, she was all agog about the article! Her mother had called up all her friends and relatives to let them know that her daughter’s name and photograph had appeared in the newspaper! And the elderly lady had also bought five newspapers for herslef!
It feels nice to have given this amount of joy to someone, with only a little effort of mine! These are the incidents that tell me how I may not have made the wrong choice after all! And the love affair continues!
PS: If you have anything to say regarding this article, I would be highly obliged if you leave them in the comments sections. That way, I won’t have to look at all the places where I have posted links, and would get all of them in a single place!
Thanks again, for reading and commenting!