After all, all one needed was a shoulder “man” bag, a loose-fitting long shirt, a pen and a notepad and a rubber “Hawai” slipper to get going.
That was unfortunately the impression when I set out to study journalism at one of Indian’s then most well-known scribe schools with people, relatives and friends included, scoffing at the idea and I wanted to prove them wrong.
It was, of course, a different matter that I had to undergo a screening test with over 600 others and then finally be shortlisted among 50 “finalists”, of which only half got into the school ultimately.
I soon realised the skepticism among the “non-believers” was not without basis as our professor came up with a journalism as being once called the “second oldest profession in the world” in the term’s first lecture session.
That said, we got about our the business of learning to “read, write and think” like reporters and a newsmen, spending long non-stop hours fine-tuning and honing our skills, aptly then reproduced in the school’s in-house newspaper.
Nine months and several hundred kilometers of cycling to and from the university campus later, I finally received a degree in journalism and mass communication.
And just a day after the results out, I landed my first job at one of India’s premier newspapers. That is when the skeptics turned around and looked in awe – not just because it paid me a princely sum of 700 rupees as salary in those days but also because I was suddenly “elevated” to being a household name – having been handed over a by-lined weekly humor column! I had proved a point!
Several decades have since passed and over the years I have realised journalism still continues to be not just another job. One becomes a journalist because of the love for the profession and the “power” and the fame that come with it. But, sadly, things have changed somewhat with many now treating the profession as a stepping stone to achieve other, sometimes not so noble, goals.
But it still is an enchanting profession – with something new happening all the time – and getting a chance to write about it and tell the world a story is still as exciting.
Watch This Space!!