Story of a lost journalist

December 25, 2012

Online Offline

Filed under: life,Personal — Cris @ 23:22

Not quite time for a yearender but just realized I met four of my online friends in person this year. Just came back after meeting Binu Ninan, blog friend for five or six years, and birthday sharer. Last month met Madhavankutty Pillai, online friend for more than a year. A little before that, met Preethi Krishnan, friend from a google group and a rare g-chat. And before that met Roshni Raghavan, email friend for six years!

Problem with meeting online friends is you have become so comfortable having a computer in front of you to talk to them, you feel nervous about actually presenting a real human form for the other. With a real voice and a real face. It’s almost like going on stage. People are expecting something from you, can you give that? It’s not like they expect a star. But years of knowing each other would naturally build an image of what someone is like. What if it shatters with one look at you, one little conversation? When you stutter and stammer and blush for absolutely no reason, wouldn’t they feel terribly disappointed?

I don’t know about the others, but for me, each meeting has been really rewarding. I felt closer to all of them. Felt a better connection. And none of them appeared unsure, they chatted like long-time buddies. Only thing is I haven’t met any of them for a second time, yet. Gulp. Hope the connection was not entirely one-sided :D.

Rosh and Preethi are both really smart women with really strong views about life. I am a lot scared about meeting people I tag as intellectuals but both these girls had made it so easy for me. Good thing about smart people is they know to tone down their smartness to meet the level of those they meet. So Preethi and I chatted three long hours about everything unintellectual in the world. Was no different from talking to an old school friend. Rosh I somehow imagined to have a really tough voice and a tall frame. She turned out to be tiny and squeaky and adorable. But I missed her funny quips, possibly because I didn’t give her time to chat. I was talking non-stop.

With Kutty Pillai, I turned out to be the absolute shy and non-speaking mess I was afraid I’d be. Thankfully I had given him the exact image before. So no surprises there. He was nicer than I expected, I somehow had a grrgrry image of him always looking angry for no reason. Binu Ninan was easily the friends material I could be myself with. Mainly because he laughed at everything I said. I made a major discovery, laughter is the best medicine for shyness. So next time I feel shy I am just going to laugh non-stop. I might need to remember the sound of Manu’s funny car-horn or one of those just-for-laugh gags or else Maverick’s balloon blowing.

And on that note I stop with a ho ho ho and a merry Christmas to y’all 🙂

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December 21, 2012

Harmville

Filed under: Journalism — Cris @ 02:45

Some madness caught me at midnight to clean my room, last attempted two years ago, when we moved in. There was a lot of dust and a lot of memories. Funnily, both had me sneezing. I came across the bit of paper I used the day I joined Deccan Chronicle on March 7, 2011. I had come without a book or pen and stared blankly, as others, already a week there, seemed to know what they were doing. I was suddenly given an assignment and a lot of contact numbers. I had it all scribbled down on someone else’s paper with someone else’s pen. It was a scary day with new people in a new place. (Long sigh).

I took a break from sneezing to login to Facebook and saw a message from a friend. A friend I had quoted for a write-up more than a year ago. He had seen my last blog post and told me how he and his wife were unhappy with the way I quoted a casual comment he passed. The lovely first day memories and thoughts of ‘creating stories out of everyday life’ suddenly turned ugly. It was now a tirade of ‘I have to quit’s – my immediate reaction to anything bad in the job. I had of course resorted to justify my act, making speeches about never misquoting people till he reminded me what happened. He was busy at the time and since I was chasing a deadline I used a comment he had made earlier on the subject in another email. That comment was of course meant only for a friend, not a newspaper.

A few days ago, another incident had triggered my quitting thoughts. I had blamed then the newspaper system of selfishly putting stories in the name of deadlines and competitions, not caring about people’s feelings. To this friend, I was that system. I don’t think I’d even wondered if it would be a problem to him. That was bad. Real bad.

Maybe I should be a peon, or do my dream-job – waitressing in a faraway land. That way I can never mess with people’s life. The worst I do may spoil someone’s dinner or clothes (spilling curries for instance), which can of course be replaced. Maybe I got off on the wrong foot. I should have become a waitress and kept journalism as my dream job. That way I’d only dream of meeting people and writing their stories. And in dreams, you never bring any harm to anyone.

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