I have an existential crisis. I am really tired of being a journalist. Not because my life revolves around deadlines and deadlines and working on days when the rest of the world is relaxing or holidaying. I am tired because every Tom, Dick, Harry has an opinion so far as my profession is concerned. I am supposedly everybody’s good friend even though I have hardly any friend (in the true sense of the term) in a city where I am living for quite some years. I am tired of going to parties where people jump at me the moment they come to know that I am a journalist working for a leading daily. Suddenly, everybody becomes an expert in things related to media.
People don’t think twice before terming everything that appears in the newspapers as ‘shit’ and how they loathe these ‘toilet papers.’ I would have been happy if the buck stops there. But they all eventually take my mobile numbers and email id even though I hardly ask for all these details in return. I am on a minimalist drive in my life, so I am not really into forging new friendships. I know if I am doing a story, I will always manage to get the information I want. And after being agitated about the ‘shit’ called newspapers, they all want their slice of shit. So, after 2/3 days, I eventually get phone-calls/emails asking for some coverage for them or their family-members. And they all tell me with great confidence that their story has got great potential too. Well, I don’t give my ‘expert’ comments about a cardiac surgery or building a flyover to my doctor or engineer friends. Just because one buys a newspaper that doesn’t make him/her a journalist.
And then there are issues relating ‘passes’ (read free) for attending events. In October, I was at my mom’s place in Bhubaneswar for a short break. Suddenly, my phone started ringing constantly as people wanted passes for a 10 day festival. Repeated attempts to tell people that as I am not there in Ahmedabad, I could do little to help them fell on deaf ears. People just don’t understand it. The standard answer is, “Kuch kar lo (do something). But we want the passes.”
Needless to say, I am amazed at people’s overactive imaginative power of networking. In the last 24 hours, I have got four phone-calls from Amdavadis holidaying in Goa asking me to arrange passes for the much-talked about Sunburn Festival. They all presume that as the publication ( I work for) has a Goa edition, I can easily arrange passes for them through the Goa office. I wish I were that efficient ‘jugaadu’ (networker). I would have been much better placed in life.
There are times I just feel like surrendering my mobile phone, deactivating my mail id and just be with my old friends from school/university for whom it just doesn’t matter where I work. They love me because they love me. They call me up because they want to talk to me.