Despite absence of much excitement during my days at the business newspaper in Ahmedabad, some moments were very eventful. Everything was so new for me. The city, the roads, the culture, alien faces and sleeping on a sofa in a two BHK flat on second floor of an apartment.
A person, who had never slept before watching television for nearly two decades, had to close his eyes listening to FM Radio. I just couldn’t sleep properly for first few days. But, things started improving when I started finding good stories and developed confidence that I can deliver.
My first few visits to some banks and companies were completely unproductive as I couldn’t extract any information worth writing. However, my single visit to Gujarat Industrial Development Board (GIDB), one fine day, was enough to boost my morale. I got an exciting story on a public transport project that was to be implemented in Ahmedabad. The project was in planning stage and I got the privilege to break the story.
There was a disadvantage though that the newspaper I worked for didn’t have any Gujarat edition. So, my stories were read in Mumbai and Delhi…
The first good story, which I thought was worthy enough, was on co-operative banks sector. I worked on a story related to Madhavpura Bank that had gone bust. The Centre had decided to infuse hundreds of crores of rupees in this and other co-operative banks to revive it. I had hard time getting information as no one was ready to divulge any detail. But, I persisted and got good results in the end. The story was published and my boss, who seldom appreciated our work, smiled at me and said ‘Good Work’.
It was so nice listening such words from a person who rarely said encouraging things. Boss even gave me free passes for a Bollywood movie whose premiere was to be screened in Ahmedabad. I was on the moon that day.
But, as luck would have it, there was a huge showdown between the journalists and event managers of the premiere show in a five-star hotel and our community decided to boycott the screening. I was so upset, but couldn’t do anything except return home and listen to the same stupid FM songs. But, after that day I started delivering stories on commodities market, co-operative sector and infrastructure.
However, the evening torture of almost half-an-hour every day continued. Our boss never left a single opportunity to blast us and even swear at us sometimes. Whenever I used to visit boss’s cabin I used to feel like a soldier who marches towards battlefield with very few hopes of returning back!
Amidst all these rush however, there was one place that used to serve as a stress-buster for me. A tea-kitli opposite, well, world-famous management institute IIM-Ahmedabad! What better place to munch on bread and samosas than this kitli.
Sitting on that small iron boxes by roadside and surrounded by some intellectual management students was something that gave me a high. A maska-bun loaded with butter and a cup of hot tea was my daily breakfast for months together. There was hardly any day when I didn’t visit that place.
But, is there any better than your home? At least not for me. I missed my home and homemade food terribly. The horrible kind of food dished out by some restaurants in Bodakdev area made me miss homemade roti and subzi all the more… And, who would forget those exciting Fridays. When I used to pack my small bag and head for Baroda. My city… Small and beautiful.
The 8.30 pm Lokshakti Express used to take me to my city by about midnight and the next day – Saturday – used to be completely mine. Lots of ‘lazy lamhe’ and talkative evenings with friends. I am in love with Saturdays since then and it continues till this day when I am in Times of India.