I got promoted. My newspaper has officially recognised me as a “Special Correspondent” now! And has also given be a 8K raise!
It’s probably the happiest day for me in my career as a journalist.
To be honest, I’ve never really thought or seen myself as a journalist. It’s too serious a word to describe me. I just write. Like I would do in a diary. But because a lot of people read it, I write it a little differently while trying to get the grammar and spellings rite.
So, I’ve surprised myself reaching here and being a “journalist” for ten years now. I started for this tabloid called Metro Ads after my first year of college. I used to write film reviews back then and also had a humour column, apart from doing serious reporting. Then, I wrote for another tabloid called A.m. Plus, the Saturday supplement to Morning Times in Manipal, during my M.S. days there. It was a compulsory thing and we couldn’t say No it, for two years. The serious nature of A.M.Plus haunted us week after week, so much that we were frustrated enough to launch a spoof called P.M.Minus, a raunchy underground version (even if it was just for two issues).
By the time I had joined The Hindu, I already had four years of experience writing features. That sort of helped me to do some quick light writing. I had taken up the job only as a stop gap arrangement till I finished my film. In my sixth year in the paper, today I’ve grown to realise that I’ve become addicted to the paper, so much that I wouldn’t want to stop writing for it, even if I do have to quit it some day.
I’m addicted almost to the extent of being obsessed about my space there. I want to keep seeing myself in Metro Plus, I want to see myself in Education Plus, I want to write for Sunday Magazine, I want to keep doing my reviews on Friday, even when if they get butchered and even if it means working on off days (watching movies, that is! 😛 he he!) and I just want to see myself in every section of the paper.
Why don’t you shift into a lucrative job that actually pays, asked my fresh-out-of-college friends who started off their first job with twice the pay that I was getting after five years of work here. But I used to reason it out saying that I get paid to maintain my brand in the most circulated paper in town and the second largest selling newspaper in the country. “It’s like getting paid to release your ad everyday.”
As a filmmaker, I realise the importance of branding and how much it would help me in getting a larger audience for my films. As a journalist, this filmmaker also had the perfect platform to meet people from different walks of life, get to know what concerns them, what touches them, what affects them and what really makes a difference to their lives. This filmmaker also soon got unique access into the mind of a film critic, while getting to watch movies before anybody else gets to. I do know that one day, I’m gonna be at the receiving end of strong words of criticism, be rubbished around mercilessly so badly that I won’t even be able to hide behind a newspaper cuz the biting words free flowing from some smart ass critic’s keyboard will meet me there, point blank at my face! The same people who liked my work as a writer might want to catch my collar asking for refund of ticket, petrol and popcorn! ha ha! There will be no escape.
But that’s another day. Today is a day to feel Special!
And to bask in the glory of a career that I hardly bargained for. One which has made me ‘Special’ indeed.