As a journalist, besides meeting the rich and the famous, fantastic opportunities have come my way and I’d like to write about one such. I was an admirer of Anita Raj, a New York based TV personality who reported the Festival Of India show from NY, on TV. A compere myself, I liked her breezy style and natural presentation. When I was working in Taj Hotel. I saw her talking to a lady and overheard her saying she was staying at Sea Rock Hotel. As soon as I got home, I called her and requested an interview for Sunday Observer ( I had already called the Editor and got a green signal) and she asked me to come early morning next day as she would be leaving later in the evening, for USA. It was pouring and I had to take a suburban train (it would have cost a fortune by cab and could not afford it) and a bus, to reach on time as the hotel was at the other end of the city from where I lived. The article appeared and a month later, I got a letter from Anita, by courier, offering me a three month assignment as script writer for the Video she was making on South India, for the travel channel. I had never written for the Electronic Media, but if she felt confident, I was game. That is how I landed one fine morning, at JFK airport to be received by Anita and driven to a posh apartment on Columbus Avenue in Manhattan.
A Sojourn at the big Apple
I have to take a break from journalism and move to New York, for a while. Anita had taken her camera crew to \India and shot a lot of footage on South Indian states, I had to transfer this from betacam to VHS and log the footage. This way, I could see what visuals were available and write the script. Out of my own interest, I would stay back after work hours and sit with the editor, watching her cut and paste. This helped me write the script from the editing angle. I learnt how to script and produce a Video and I used this knowledge later to make training videos.
Beside what I learnt at work, I got a lot of material to make a series of articles on New York. That was thanks to Giri Raj, Anita’s husband, who was an excellent host and gave me an inside view of the Big Apple. Every morning, I would walk to the Studio on 52 West, Broadway from 60 Columbus Avenue. At first, I was shy returning the cherry greetings from passers-by. Then, I got into the mood and was that fun! Americans are friendly and spontaneous. By the time I reached the Studio, I would have wished at least a hundred people, ‘have a great day’.
Even if I had taken a professional course in Video making, I would not have learnt what I did with Anita. It was a wonderful experience and it happened because of my nose for good subjects to write about. If I had been put off by the heavy downpour and not met Anita, I would have missed a chance of a lifetime. I am saying this again and again, because, opportunity comes in various garbs and reveals its identity to the one who is hard working and willing to go the extra mile. It was Napoleon who said, he saw a crown in the gutter, so he picked it up and put it on to become Emperor. The throne is for the one who has the guts to try and sit on it, if only for the fun of it.