I became a journalist in 1984 – just as the Indian Army’s infamous Operation Blue Star got under way at Amritsar. That was 29 years ago – almost to the date!
Over the years, I have always known that if any job is to be done, it will be. If you don’t do it, someone else will.
Nearly three decades later, and after a seven-year stint at the newspaper, as I switch to another challenge, this has been re-enforced. No one is indispensable – people are replaced almost instantly – if not at the same level, at another – and no one is missed. It’s business as usual within a couple of days. Someone just fills in and does the work – albeit with a few grumbles and moans – and the newspaper comes out the next morning.
Just three working days into what some have called my ‘pre-retirement,’ that rings true. All my colleagues are now ‘ex-colleagues’ who gamely carry on with the sometimes tedious job of making scores of phone calls to get a ‘story’ or, likewise, travel a hundred kilometers across the island to chase down events as they unfold after an accident, a fire or a political rally.
I did that all these years – even more so when in India, in the midst of the aftermath of the Golden Temple operation, and a subsequent one four years later, the chaos in the wake of the Babri Mosque demolition and, more recently, being in the thick of things here in Bahrain as the country battled with those 40 terrible days which changed its destiny two years ago. I enjoyed every moment of the job – chasing stories was fun – reporting on community issues was sometimes tricky – and rubbing officials on the wrong side to expose their ‘misdemeanors’ – was a challenge. Yet, everything got done – and published – thanks to this country’s liberal laws on Press freedom.
Over the last few months, however, the ‘zing’ had gone out – at least for me – and I do not need to elaborate why – as they say – all is known. That’s why I called it quits on what demanded 30 hours a day!
I am sure work will go on as usual – it has after highly respected Editors, the pillars, have left and it has after rookies who think they are the cat’s whiskers, have come and gone.
So what if just about everybody who I leave behind is lesser in age than the number of years I have been in the profession!
Such is life!!