Monday, 2 January 2012

Chronicling Lessons

I learnt a lot this winter, all of them essential truths that infants above the age of five are familiar with. Yet, this twenty-one year old had a momentary lapse of memory. By momentary, I mean two and a half years.

One, being unfit sucks. The way to not be unfit is to exercise and eat right. The eating right part still eludes me, but at least I have begun taking trips to the gym and the swimming pool in an attempt to get healthy (and I don't mean the adjective 'healthy' they politely use to indicate you are fat). Fitting into old jeans became an event worth celebration.

Two, not all work is terrible and CV oriented. On the morning of the 12th of December, I woke up cursing my father for the internship I had to do at the Deccan Chronicle. I am not high on the recruiter's list of ideal future employees so at least, this would make that ever unimpressive resume shine marginally brighter. But in those fifteen days I realised that work that we enjoy is rejuvenating instead of tiring. I began to look forward to waking up in the morning, to driving through city traffic, to meeting strangers and talking to them. I learnt to understand the jargon: an anchor was a small 250 word piece, a lead was 300 words or more. I could figure out the back-and-forth banter between departments like the Tabloid writers making fun of the Broadsheet writers and vice versa while Ajayan Sir peppered the conversations with his quips. The keen interest I had in learning and improving was something I hadn't really felt before. For the first time, the internship wasn't about a CV. I was doing it for myself, and it made a world of a difference. The last two internships I did were tiring, I was exhausted and glad I was done. This time around, I asked Sujit Sir myself if I could stay on for a few more days.

Three, getting lost is the easiest way to discovery. Driving around the city to take interviews for the Deccan Chronicle led me to discover nooks and crannies of my city that I wouldn't otherwise have found. When I find myself in an unknown area, two conflicting forces drive me. On one hand, I am fear-struck and wanting to find my way home and on the other, my curiosity pushes me to drive further and see what comes next. Cochin is tiny, I agree, but it is filled to the brim with interesting things. Like the man selling LED candles in Broadway, or Vishal Hotel that serves a hearty North Indian lunch for less than a hundred bucks.

Four, there isn't a goddamn thing I want to do with my life other than write. This was one of the most important reminders that the people at Deccan Chronicle gave me. I had forgotten how amazing it felt to end every day, just tapping away at my keyboard, writing a story for the next edition of the paper. That feeling of holding my words, in print, in my hands was a warning of sorts, telling me never to steer away from writing. Ever since my stint at the Deccan Chronicle ended, all I've been doing is miss it; Jiji Ma'am's quiet typing at her computer and her eye for things that make one 'House Proud' and Priya Ma'am's easy smile or the twinkle in her eye when food is the topic of conversation. I miss Sujit Sir's constructive criticism and snippets of stories and experiences. I miss laughing with Shruti about the most random things and watching in amusement as she cheekily pulled someone's leg.

No matter what I end up doing at the end of this year, whether its saving the world or selling my soul or following my heart, I know that I will never let myself get too far from being able to write. I know now, for certain, that there is not a thing in the universe that makes me happier than this.

Here's to the amazing people that helped me remember my immense love for words and the English language: Jiji Cherian, Sujit Chandrakumar, Shruti Karthikeyan, Priya Sreekumar and everyone else at the Deccan Chronicle, Kochi. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.


  1. It really must be a heady feeling seeing your words in print no?And it seems quoted right out of my head when you say that nothing makes you happier than writing.I don't know if you've noticed but,I actually realize what my views on something really are when I write.I sort of discover it as I go along.I'd start writing and I'd be like 'hold on,I didn't know that was what I thought of it'.

  2. Aditya,

    It certainly is. It's awesome to know what makes you happiest; the even more awesome thing is to have the opportunity to actually do that for a living.

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  4. The feeling is mutual, Marita. I too loved your blog. I've just read the last two posts and I will surely come back here.

    You writing has a touch of class. Keep them coming!

  5. Santanu,

    Thank you! Do keep coming, it's good to have some company.

  6. Good and interesting post, not everyone thinks that way you think and glad that you do things which makes you happy. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us

  7. Martia... You are a very sensetive person. Who thinks about others and about thier problems also. I am glad that you know what makes you happy and i think this is the best information one can have knowing oneself. I really like your writings.