I have no beginning and no end for this post, but I have something to say in the middle, that today is little special for me, as I have taken my first move towards steps that assumably will take me to my goal of being a journalist. Yes, I am still on the ground and not even close to the steps, but started moving towards it (may be not, I just only took a step), instead of wandering everywhere else like I did for all these days. I will leak my exact plans to you, let’s think that I am reporting the story of myself. And this is my first report.
My plans are very simple: Learn everything, go everywhere, meet everyone, listen to everything, be prepared, take time, start expressing, don’t ever stop!
First of all, my biggest drawbacks:
- I am neither a good writer, nor a good reader. To put it exactly, I greatly suck at both.
- I have no idea of current affairs or politics or what the **** a journalist do need for excelling in particular field. I am only standing at the beach watching the ocean and I still waiting to explore the continental shelf, let alone the abyss and the entire ocean.
- I can’t focus on a thing. I keep drifting away. And there is nothing I have ever succeeded that I wanted to do for myself. (The only things I ever succeeded are the ones that the others had placed in front of me.) Simply putting, I loose my motivation most often.
My Biggest Advantages:
- I can be a good journalist if I become one. Because I believe I can balance the ethics and the duty of my work to the best.
- I am very flexible and acceptable to the stress or struggle that my work may put me into.
Reading is really a very very difficult task to me:
The only stuff I am good at reading is physics and those are the only articles I can finish to the end. If it is a bit advanced science article, I usually try my best to explore the basics and understand it. But, it really won’t help me being a journalist or to be a good writer or to know the society better. Because all I can care while I read those articles is the Science in it and not the English.
As a bright side, there are also some science books which have a philosophical touch in it and hence, in a way provide readers to read it like a novel, feeling the English vocab and at the same time, engaged with the Science. And yes, I have some in mind and am looking to give a wave at them once, like “what is life” by Erwin Schrödinger. It may help me to get used to reading books, and actually to be able to finish reading itself.
I was also little afraid until a few hours ago that what if I wanted to become a scientist after reading such books. Fortunately, I know that I can’t afford science, that’s a lot lot to learn! Apart from that, I seek truth from the society more than I seek it from the universe, because I’ll have to live in society first. But the real bummer is that science is very fascinating, while the society is not!!
Surprisingly, I have a good news for this too. I found out a list of books day-before-yesterday on journalism, starting from how to write, journalist ethics, journalist stories, some great books that inspired journalists, how media works etc. etc with really good and a vast number of topics. I strongly believe that I can start reading these without loosing interest, because many of these books are not novels and I believe these will be as much as fascinating as science. I can pick up a book and start finishing one by one until I can turn myself into a ‘book addict’ and with actually little knowledge about journalism too. (yes, a book addict! I have to be one. Journalist needs that more than anything, to collect facts, to acquire plenty of knowledge for doing a proper research and to finally to publish an article). So, the first goal is “To be a book addict”.
I have only a little knowledge on society:
I always have this thought which bugs me while I read news “Will I gain anything after I finished reading this article??” If it’s a political piece, the dilemma occurs due to the fact that I was not knowing it’s background and hence no reason to read a random piece of the whole story. So, I usually put everything which I have no prior knowledge about, out of my head. This is the way I’ve ended up having very less knowledge on the current affairs or the local politics.
With the time given, I should try to explore one by one issue. I am not prioritizing it, my first priority is to be a book addict. But, I will try to take sips of social issues whenever possible. I will not bother about this now, my previous point and the next point are more important for me now.
Motivation and belief is the biggest problem:
It seems a very good idea, reading books one by one. But there are many times I have faced this, it is very difficult to keep motivated when you think of the vastness of the journey. I might have found motivation today, but how long will it drive me? And how long will I be able to keep the motivation? Undeniably, not so long. On some day, with in a week, if to put it hardly, I might end up having no belief of that I could continue doing what I had been doing. It’s really the hardest part of all.
Do I think I can really be a journalist?
Until few hours ago, 100% yes (in dreams) and 20% yes, in reality. Now, I would say 50% yes, in reality.
Am a I being too optimistic here by saying that I have 50% chance, after all I haven’t taken a step and with my drawbacks over-weighing my advantages?
The reason I would say 50% is, just think, if you know that that you have a least percent of chance to win a thing, why the hell would you dare to bet on it. You would bet only if there was 50% or more chance. So, hell I decide it’s 50%, because I’v decided to be a journalist. All I need is to win every minute of my life from now on that gives me opportunity with 50% chance.
So, I found this place today: Lamakaan in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad. It’s a cultural place provided by Lamakaan trust open for everyone, to come and interact or showcase their talents with talks, screenings, plays, exhibition, converse, cafe, chat etc.. I happened to find it online while looking for a good place to study. An anxious me have reached to it’s fb page, went through all the photos, and sent a message to the administrator:
“I need one information from you. Before that let me tell you my brief story. I am a project engineer in Wipro. I am dreaming to be a journalist..but no prior experience or degree in it …and adding to that, I am not a regular book reader..I have read only 3 books completely in my whole life..so, I am trying to start reading more and more books and eventually to be a good reader & writer too…I prefer to read non-fiction – history, biographies, science etc (I don’t like novels)..time has passed..2 years gone and here I am…still the same..no progress in my reading ability..I am loosing my focus at home…so, I have decided to spend my time in libraries on weekends…searched for libraries in Hyderabad on google and in Quora…found a few libraries…IGM, City Central library and others…I had once visited British Library with the same intention that I might find good books there..but mostly all of them are novels or others, but nothing related to science..So, I am little doubtful if I can find my choice of books to read in the other libraries I mentioned. However, I am planning to visit Hyderabad Central Library /IGM next week. Now coming to point, I’v found in quora https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-best-places-cafe-library-etc-to-study-code-through-the-night-in-Hyderabad/answer/Girish-Mahadevan?srid=t4uv that at Lamakaan, there is space for reading..But when I visited your page, I have other thoughts..I am actually also looking for a mentor, as I find mysef last 2 years only dreaming and not doing anything except office work. I am not focused at my goals, as I have been having wide range of goals (sometimes I think of a scientist, journalist, traveller, or an IT guy working at company like Google. But nothing excites me more than imagining myself being a journalist. There is a good reason for it. I see truth. It gives me more satisfaction and pleasure than anything else in this world. Even wanting to be a scientist is the same reason.) So, I think may be if I can spend my weekends at Lamakaan, I can meet new people, at the same time I can volunteer, I can get inspired to read/write. Or I can spend my time reading and at the same time, I can practice being a journalist by interacting and taking daily notes of the activies there. So, many childish hopes. So, now what I am asking you is, after hearing my long short story, do you think Lamakaan is a right place for me?”
For those who are not willing to read the whole shit I wrote to him – I sent him the big short story of myself (the story that you’ve already known by now) and asking whether I can make Lamakaan useful for me.
The next day, he replied like this:
“Hi, welcome to Lamakaan and mid-life crisis. smile emoticon sure, you are welcome to drop by at Lamakaan whenever you can chk lamakaan.com for events and we have a film screening this thursday 19th may 7pm about the decision crisis faced by at Reporters at NY Times during wikileaks. You are also welcome to drop by weeknds or whenevenr we are open and meet people, make friends etc. We also have a small book shelf; help your self.
I treated this as a very good signal and really looked out going there on Thursday. So, I reached there, leaving early from office, in office cab at 5:40 pm while the screening would start at 7:00 pm. I must explain my day there and the environment.
I thought there wouldn’t be much people there.So, I was thinking may be the few people that could be in the house might show curiosity of my so early presence there and come talking to me. As I reached the place, I was asking the watchman who stood at the entrance if I could go inside and he showed me the usual pedestrian way around to go and he didn’t even bother about me asking for permission. So, I thought “Cool!” And immediately I found the house entrance and the adjacent street road and then the house itself full of people. I was little happy that I can go unnoticeable without any weird introduction of me.
At the entrance room, I had noticed small boards with posters and events list written on it. Standing at the entrance, I made a quick 360° glance and found a cafe on my right side, room and a balcony full of benches on my left side and people on both the sides. I actually had a panoramic visit of the most of the building the day I found it online. So, I was not surprised with the building, but surprised by the amount of people there, for sure. I saw stairs to the second floor, where I was not able to visit in the panoramic view. And it seemingly blocked by people. So, I though it’s not our jurisdiction. Then, I ordered “Ek Plate Samosa”. I was shocked by the mini size of the two, but not angry, as I know that it brings some revenue to the place. Then, I found my place in the balcony, started eating one by one, piece by piece, and kept staring at everyone and my surroundings. My impression at that time: it’s just like our AUCE cafeteria at Mechanical department, where everyone come for time pass and there’s no one really worth to interact or do they care? I see people coming on cars, bikes and some posh people really, and I had started judging them.
After finishing my samosas, I had a “Nimbu Pani”, then found the gallery in the ground floor where the movie screening will take place, the chairs were already arranged and one foreigner and a woman sitting and discussing something, seems very educative. So, I know they are from US consulate. I don’t want to give them an awkward impression by sitting near to them. So, I sat in a chair at a distance from them. Other people were also there talking in groups, mostly friends I guess. Some arrangements were being made to setup the projector. I thought I came so early and no reason to sit there and expose my anxiety in front of others. (In fact, I also want my anxiety to be known by a few that could offer me some valuable interaction.) I left from there and went to first floor again, noticed book shelf, kept staring at all the books (which could be all together, less than 40), hoping to find the likes of my book. Unfortunately, all the books were novels. That’s a big bummer!! Depressing!! Then I saw people using laptops and wifi. My phone was switched off and I had nothing else with me, except an empty bag with probably “Orbit White” sachets. “Hmm..Looks like it’s a good place to hang at night and read some books”, I thought. Then I asked one of the guys if it opens at night time. They said that 10 pm was the closing time. So, another bummer!! I can’t afford to travel up to 20km, hoping for some privacy to read. But inside I was thinking that I could explore for more such places or I could use my ODC, or WIPRO’s library.
The people seem to be really cool. All age groups were present. I have never any likeliness for arts, as I think its boring. And the people here seems to adore arts. So, they were not really of my league. My only hope is to find some journalists there, that day.
So, I kept on roaming outside, inside, up stair, down stair and at last, sat outside near the gate, for 15-20 minutes, I had realized, it’s time to go to gallery again. I found first chair in the third row in the gallery, hoping for a breeze, did I mention it’s open gallery? Then people started coming and the gallery was almost full. We had an introductory speech by the person from US consulate and a guy whom the US consulate guy called as “Mr. Namakaan”. I think he was the one who’d probably replied me on facebook. I saw one old age woman sitting in the next row beside me. She was very sincere and curious out of all, just like me, just before the movie started to screen, she crosschecked with the other people if it is that documentary “Page One: Inside New York Times”. I felt quite happy that there are people who are curious for a documentary on Journalism and what here age could be – 60 or even more? That minute, I was sure that I was in a good company of people. The movie started and I kept struggling to sit in that chair in a fixed position till the end of the movie. The documentary is about the New York Times and it’s struggling career in modern times, the decisions it should make to be avoid it’s bankruptcy. It’s quite good, I felt sleepy at some parts, but as a whole, it really showed how news papers work and it’s challenges. Apart from that, it tried to evaluate different forms of media like internet, TV etc. I liked it.
As the movie ended, as happy as I was that I no longer need to sit in that chair, I was sad the same that I should be leaving now. But luckily that’s not it, the US consulate guy had begun a discussion over the documentary. He started asking questions and moving randomly from person to person and handing over the mic to them for their opinions. First, he had asked about what we feel as the New York Times had made it’s online version paid. Then he asked if we invest our money to read it online, if the New York Times should have not published sensitive government articles of wiki leaks, and the same question again and again and again, in different ways, along with a few others I don’t remember.
I have seen many kinds of persons there, mostly journalists of all ages. The old woman had not stayed for the debate. One looks to be very senior, and experienced, and probably a journalist, who was very fluent in English and felt no shy to express his views and showcase what he knows. Another guy might be a TV artist, or a TV journalist, I had seen him somewhere before. One woman who sat beside me, must be a journalist too, also very fluent in English had given her opinions.Two senior citizens, by the appearance, could be Bengali journalists, each tried to prove their knowledge. And 2 guys also with clear views on journalism and with fluent English had shared their comments. And one other woman, with whom I mentioned the consulate guy was talking before, also was kept giving her opinions on the topic. They all seem to be of top notch at speaking and also at knowledge. But, at the same time, they were really normal people with normal brain. So, I felt encouraged.
During the whole time of the discussion, I was trying to add my opinion too. I had asked for a mic once gesturing my hand and the guy didn’t notice me asking. Since the time I too wanted to speak, I started having my heart beat goes up and started shivering inside. We still had chance until the end of the discussion to speak as many as times. So, I had decided to speak and that it’s either now or never. Then for the next question about wiki leaks, I had taken mic from guy sitting behind me and dared to answer. I had a perfect rehearse before taking the mic, but a soon as I started speaking, I started stuttering very very badly, that I barely completed a sentence. The guy came close, and wanted to help me finish my answer quickly, by showing an approving face. I did answered but not in the exact way I wanted to.
The question was “Do you support New York Teams leaking sensitive government information on collaboration with Wiki Leaks?”
My Answer was
“In a journalist point of view, at the time of leak happened,
– they might be having a dilemma over their ethics as journalists. They might be thinking that as a journalist they should provide whatever information they had to public without judging it’s privacy or any personal opinions over the matter. It is in the interest of the people to derive a conclusion from the whole information they provide. In my opinion, they should be also act as responsible citizen and shouldn’t leak any sensitive information to public, which is rather unnecessary, but only to create more chaos. We should take a very few things like these, sometimes in our judgement.
– But also they could be gone too greedy / compelled to coordinate with Wiki leaks to earn revenue.”
Luckily, everyone had understood the answer. And I acknowledged that as the guy repeated what I had said in his own words and that it was a valid point, to talk about a journalist ethics. He also mentioned that there going to be another sessions regarding the ethics of Journalism. That was relaxing. And also after some time, one girl of my age, whose face I couldn’t see in the dark, pointed my answer and says that she agrees with me. Then, I thought I had added a little value and I did worth a little among those. So, I interrupted one more time at nearly end of the session to tell them about “Pinnochio” Korean drama. I had started speaking with out mic and was asking if anyone had ever seen Pinnochio Korean drama. The consulate guy had an expression saying why did I talk about all that there and also looked like no one had seen it. So, I started explaining the summary of the movie. He had to come to me and handover the mic. I wished he hadn’t given me the mic. Because, everything looked to be going normal and I started stuttering again in mic. As he was asking the mic by extending his hands, I kept trying to complete my story. They were not interested. But they did got the summary that I tried pointing another example of Journalist ethics. He then concluded that if we kept talking it would take the whole night for us and so ended the session.
So, as everyone dispersing, some stayed talking to each other. I stood there, assuming that some of them might be journalists and I wanted to have any suggestions from them. So, they noticed I was not leaving and so the consulate guy shook my hand greeting me to send me politely. Then, I had the chance and I asked him why did they do that screening and what for? The hyderabadi guy intervened and said that they were fun loving people and so they want to create such events. I asked him again, why this topic. He replied just to get interest of the audience. I was not convinced and I asked him if it was official from US consulate and he said yes. I asked him again why and he kept saying the same sentence for every question of mine that they were fun loving people. Then he wanted to know what I do. As I said I work in WIPRO, he asked me the location and I also said this is my first attendance here and I am an aspiring journalist. He gave a free advice to me that I need to keep money and go for Masters of Journalism in US. Then, I left.
I came to the bus-stop, walking with myself, throwing my bag up in the air, in thirst for a coco-cola. I was really happy, that I had taken my first step, and actually involved in a debate that was full of journalists. It really did motivated me today. I believed I can make it possible, if I can be more punctual, if I keep learning, if I keep working hard on my drawbacks, I can make it possible.
So, this is the kind of motivation I look every day. I can visit Lamakaan in the day time too, on Saturdays and Sundays. I have decided, whether I benefit from there or not, I want to try everything, which will keep me moving and any new interactions there will keep me motivated. I will try my chances and let’s see how far I can be kept motivated.
And this was how it went “Day One: Inside Lamakaan”, having watched the documentary “Page One: Inside the New York Times”.