After going through a horrendous experience during my first job in a newspaper, I was very sceptical about taking up another job in journalism. Several thoughts crossed my mind including the one to change my field. Corporate Communications was on the top of my mind after journalism and I started thinking strongly on that line.
But, may be there was something within me which stopped me from joining the corporate world. An unseen force pushed me again towards journalism and I applied for an English newspaper that was yet to be launched. The newspaper was to be launched by a leading Gujarati newspaper and I was offered the post of news correspondent in Ahmedabad.
I was glad, but bit hesitant as the memories of my first job were still fresh in my mind. But, I shored up all the courage and went ahead, only to face yet another disappointment. A senior media person informed me that the newspaper I was supposed to join wouldn’t get launched as the plans have been shelved! Yet another setback and more confusion.
Why is God doing this to me? What have I done wrong? Shall I quit journalism and pick up a nice, cushy job in some company? And, if this was not enough, some faculty people hurled taunts at me instead of being helpful. They always thought that I wasn’t talented enough and couldn’t make a good career in journalism. And why? Just because I couldn’t score well in the stupid subjects with the most outdated curriculum they taught. As if I cared to score!
But, I never paid attention to them. I took up a part-time job in an NGO that used to work for differently-able children. I used to write for their magazines and brochures. Though the job wasn’t exciting, I continued with it as I learnt a lot about how NGOs work. How they manage funds and what is the real face of those urbane middle-aged ladies who run such NGOs!
Despite two setbacks, I continued looking for some opening in journalism which finally came my way in the winter of 2004. I joined a business newspaper in Ahmedabad with a decent salary. Phew! It was a topsy-turvy ride for a rookie like me. And, here I faced another fiery boss who loved to shout at me and my colleague every other evening.
God! What is this? Have you decided to make me work under such hot-headed journos for whom ‘humanity’ is an alien word, I questioned the Almighty. Me and my colleague used to face her blazing eyes and furious words everyday. Whenever we asked for some help, our boss used to say ‘You should create your own contacts as you are journos.’
Wow! I was in an alien city with hardly any friends around. Didn’t know where to look for stories until, one fine day I drove to Gandhinagar, our state’s capital. It proved to be heaven for me. Having number of government and ministers’ offices including the state assembly, the small and sleepy town was loaded with stories.
I started driving down the clean and green road from Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar dotted with few high-rises and shopping malls. It was a 30-kilometre drive, but very pleasant and refreshing. I also made few friends at the Udhyog Bhavan including a special one at Gujarat Industrial Development Board (GIDB). Also, I attended few sessions in the assembly wherein I saw how our elected representatives actually function.
The centrally air-conditioned assembly hall had a separate section for journalists. And, the best facility that this government building provided was of tea and nashta. If you don’t find a journo in press box during assembly, then he surely must be sipping tea in the canteen.
I never returned disappointed from Gandhinagar, which was a special place for me for some other reason too. It was exciting work but the ‘boss factor’ was dancing like devil on my mind. I wasn’t learning anything from my workplace. I spent few months at the newspaper before getting break in another national newspaper The Asian Age. Finally, I had latched on to the tag of a JOURNALIST!