>For somebody on the precipice of 30, I’m ashamed to say I don’t know what my calling in life is. Or perhaps I do.
I started my career when I was 22 as a lifestyle journalist. My name became a staple in the most widely-read English newspaper daily of the city. I wrote happily about social trends, celebrity interviews, off-beat events. I took dakka after dakka (the gifts that journos get at press conferences) with embarrassment and stuck a ‘Press’ sticker on my car. I spent hour after hour calling up elusive celebrities trying to get a quote for my stories and hated it. I battled writer’s blocks to meet my weekly stories-filed target. I racked my brain during ideation meetings. I clocked extra hours into work uncomplainingly.
I edited – threw out the words and phrases that offended English grammar and replaced them with my own that fit the eccentric rules of the language. I gave “catchy” headlines, played on puns, twisted and turned the words in my head to come up with headlines that met the demand of the “young” product that I was working for.
I made pages – the ones that you see ultimately see in the morning papers. Added colour here, pictures there. Visuals here, word play there. I discussed, often debated, with my editor what stories would be carried on the top fold, what would go under. What story needed to be scrapped because it couldn’t hold its own. What reporter needed to be rapped for copy-pasting from the internet. I met deadlines. I woke up in the middle of the night thinking if I had let the overflow of words from that article in the right column of the page go to print as it is. I stressed over having misspelt a word in the introduction, of putting a wrong picture caption, of not giving photo credit where it was due.
That was my job.
I earned peanuts. I got promoted. I got new enemies. I got passionate about what I was doing.
And then I left it all. Because they came in the way of me and my work. Because I wasn’t there for money and the satisfaction of a four-year old job was being snatched away by an idiot, politicking boss. Because I couldn’t wait to be 40 to be where I should have been!
I left it all to become an entrepreneur with my husband.
It’s good to be the boss, but what of my words? Where do I take them now?
I bring them here, on my blog. But without the byline that shone atop every newspaper article I wrote. I bring them here without the promise of having them read by thousands of pairs of eyes that pick up the newspaper everyday. I bring them here, but I leave behind the ones that do not find a place here.
I cringe each time a friend or family member tells me I made the wrong choice, that I belonged there. That that was where they expected me to rise. That what I am doing now may be great but it does not match up to what I was doing then. That the place I vacated is still unoccupied.
And it breaks my heart to know they may be right.