Saturday, September 21, 2013

Journey of a Journalist III



An interesting assignment came my way when a PR agency sent me to Welham’s School in Dehra Dun to profile its fifty years of shaping young minds. Srivatsa came too and it was a honeymoon with a difference! I wrote five articles on different aspects of Welham School. It is just a matter of perspectives and writing. Have I inspired you enough to grab that pen? Start writing letters to the Editor, jot down your opinion on current issues, draft a citation for yourself, to be read if you get a Padma Bushan. It can be an imaginary one, spelling out what you’d secretly like to do in life. You see, imagination is nothing but intelligence having fun.!
   I have made many friends and met wonderful people as a result of my writing. One of them is the well known painter Late  B Prabha and her late husband Vittal. I wrote about Prabha’s series on women for Eve’sweekly. I did not know anything about art but Shola Rajachandran who gave the assignment said she wanted a non-critic approach. Prabha was very happy with the piece which she felt, had a fresh slant to her work. We used to walk together every morning at the US Club along the sea and she would talk to me about her work. I loved those mornings. Vittal was a sculptor .He was a rugged man, like robust coffee while Prabha was like a soothing cup to tea. We met socially in the evenings as Srivatsa played golf with Vittal. They were a fun loving couple and sang duets. I have a small Ganpati figure sculpted by Vittal and am looking forward to making enough money to replace my Prabha reprint with her original!
  A photograph cum interview session with the R K Laxman’s for Savvy is a memorable page in my writer’s diary. An eye opener on labour issues was the pow-wow with Datta Samant the union leader who spearheaded the textile workers strike, paralyzing the industry. I was shocked to read about his gruesome death recently.
 I recall with amusement an interview with Mr. B (name withheld for obvious reasons) an art director of an advertising agency. We knew each other well since we had worked on some assignments together. I was to do a profile on him for an advertising tabloid and I met him at the agency, as arranged, at 6.30 pm. It went off fine and he offered to drop me home. We chatted about common friends and their quirks, on the way. As I was about to get off at my place, he asked me to kiss him. For a moment I thought I had heard him wrong. It was so shocking. He repeated the request and I sat down again in the car, closed the door and faced him. Very calmly and firmly, I told him I was a happily married woman who did not go for casual flings and he should not spoil a perfectly good friendship by bringing in an imperfect relationship. He was surprised that I was so prudish about a harmless kiss, especially being in advertising! Very patiently I told him about some women like me who found fulfillment in their personal and professional life, reserving kisses and hugs for near and dear ones, meaning he was not one of them. I could have been offended, banged the car door and walked out, but I thought since he was decent enough to ask me instead of forcing his advances, I should educate him. We parted friends and I still have the letter he sent me the next day by hand. He had sincerely apologized for his behavior and wished me all the best in life. He also mentioned that I had given him a different perspective to what women want as he was only used to women free with their favors.