I was at the recent tweetup with Shashi Tharoor in Bangalore, and I need to say it was one of the most enjoyable blogger/twitter meets I’ve been to. I wrote about the event in @DNA already, you can read it here and here. So the subject here is not Mr Tharoor who shares his first name with my father, but my identity crisis.
When I’m at one of these tech/social media events I feel like a double agent who is supposed to keep both sides happy. On one hand, I need to write a story about the event or spot a trend which could lead to a story; on the other hand, I’m required be my usual self, tweet-tweet at the event and interact with people I have met and those I have interacted online.
How do I prioritise? Editorji, can I take a day off today and just attend the event as a normal human being? I don’t think I can ever ask that question ever, it’s just not that simple.. never. How would it look if the sports desk takes a day off to watch ManU or Sachin (not cricket)?
Well there I was at the tweetup hearing Tharoor speak… I wrote as fast as I could, please do understand that me, pen and paper don’t get along well these days, thanks to my affair with computer. It took a while to get my hand to coordinate with paper and pen, I tried. I wrote a lot of notes, tried to write every word he spoke (big mistake!) and ended with a tired hand and aching fingers at the end of the day.
Now that’s what I ended up doing, what I really wanted to do was sit back, chill out, smile and join Manu and Nikhil as they cracked PJ after PJ and commented on every question and answer. Sheesh now that sounded nasty, trust me they weren’t nasty in any way. It was just good humour.
Some say I’m lucky because I get to write about things I’m interested in. Really? Am I? Sure, it’s easier for me, but does that mean it’s good? I’ve heard of coders who code for fun and met a few who hate to code when not at work. I think in journalistic sense I’ll come in the latter category. Can I let my interested remain interests and my work remain my work. Because when both are mixed, at times, it becomes a heady cocktail that ends up giving me a bad hangover.
They say don’t mix business with pleasure, but it’s just the opposite when it comes to journalism and entrepreneurship. Can a film critic watch a movie without having to review it; can a sports correspondent watch cricket and not worry about all the adjectives that needs to be used in the final copy. (I think sports copies use way too many adjectives.. I’m not complaining, makes an interesting read); can a sub-editor read a newspaper without worrying about the typos and the stories missed; and finally can and would a photographer want to take a picture without worrying about perfection? The answer will be no for all these people, because that’s part and parcel of being a journalist, just like the coke ad which said eat cricket, sleep cricket, drink only coca-cola, it’s passion that drives this industry. No passion, no interest, no beat, no news.
I can’t stop writing about things that I write about as of now, because I don’t know what else I’ll write about. Is there a middle path? Any point in following it? I don’t know. But life’s an adventure, if this path doesn’t take me anywhere, I’ll clear the jungle and create a new one. 🙂 In other words it’s not necessary to take the one not taken by others, you can always create your own. Just make sure it’s a 8-lane highway.