This is the space which we treat as our own little blog spot. A place to unwind, unburden, un-Block. Where we share our thoughts on anything. Sometimes personal, often irreverent.

Since we have embarked on this new journey, my thoughts go back to the time I landed my first job (well technically second, but the first one doesn’t count and that’s one story I have no desire to recount)… that was November 1992. I joined as a trainee journalist at The Telegraph, an English daily published in Calcutta. The city that I was born and raised in, it was Calcutta then and it always will be, to me, even though it goes by the de-anglicised name of Kolkata now.

It’s true what they say about interns. Much like those surgical interns at the Seattle hospital (I’m assuming there are a few Grey’s Anatomy fans here), we too learned that there are no fixed hours. The days merge into nights and nights into days, but the newspaper office is always open. Journalists may not dissect bodies but every bit of news is handled carefully, edited, re-written, proof-read and then presented to the readers. Being the first on the scene or breaking news, giving a catchy headline, scouring papers and magazines from all over the world for the next bright idea — these are the elementary things one learns. And just like the TV serial, there was the boss everyone liked to avoid, except that in my case I wanted to avoid more than one person.

But beyond all that, there was the adrenaline rush of simply being in a newsroom. To see how news unfolds, how the paper literally takes shape. There was also something thrilling about returning home and going to bed just when the rest of the world was about to wake up and start the day. Weird and not very healthy, but thrilling all the same.

Two weeks into my job, all hell broke loose. The country just exploded, there were riots everywhere. Without going into details, suffice is to say that it’s one of the worst political turmoils India has ever faced. For journalists, including trainees like me, it meant even longer hours. Since there was curfew in the city, there were limited numbers of Press cars to take us home. That’s the only time I’ve seen Army tanks on the road. One of those came straight towards us one night until they realised we were actually from the Press. I didn’t even get my first salary till much later as all non-journalists stayed away. It was a scary few days and it was exciting. That’s when I knew this is where I want to be, even though my father kept telling me to quit the job.

A couple of years later I left the city and moved to Bombay (errr, Mumbai). I also moved away from what we call ‘hard news’ and opted for the features sections. No more night shifts, no scary confrontations — there was much I learned while working there. Got to see the film and fashion worlds, interviewed some music legends (the late Pandit Ravishankar and A R Rahman come to mind), went to Hollywood to cover a movie awards show, came across heart-warming and gut-wrenching tales. In a word, it was fulfilling.

Still, those first few weeks have left an indelible impression. Whenever I read about disasters, natural or otherwise (and unfortunately, there are too many everywhere), I think about that time. I wonder what’s going on in the newsrooms across the world. And if there’s an intern who thinks, this is it, this is where I belong. Or if there are others who feel just the opposite.

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