If I would have borne in a rich family, I would have married by now. Cause you don’t have to worry about your future. We waste our prime time to get a foothold, we have to first make sure that we can survive with our wife and, if at all, children. The thought that I may lose my job at any given day, chills me and deter me from getting married.
Is it good, or is this sense of insecurity bad. Of course, many people would argue that it’s bad. And some others, a handful of them, would say that this sense of insecurity is actually not that bad. Well, I go with the second class.
I think the sense of insecurity that comes with an empty pocket, draws you closer to human beings, and the greatest human qualities can only spring from you if you can just manage to carry your life that is, can never think of luxury. In which having a radio is a big achievement in itself. And a status symbol too. Leaves your friends envious.
I started my career with a job which paid me only Rs.1500. I traveled all the way to Shillong from Calcutta to work as a sub-editor with a little known newspaper ‘The Shillong Times’. Detractors argue that nobody has heard the name of the paper across Brahmaputra, in short, it’s quite a well known paper in the north-east but it’s not heard anywhere in rest of India.
So was I justified in joining the newspaper for that meager amount? Actually no, if you go by the term ‘job’. Well, I didn’t go there for a job. I went there to learn something. Something called journalism. I worked there for one-and-half-year, met some excellent people, made some friends who, am pretty confident, would stay as they are for life long.
I met EM Jose, a six-feet tall mallu, with fire in his eyes. Long hair, with a beard, he resembles Jesus Christ. The chief reporter of ST, he was my journalism guru, to be precise, he taught me reporting.
My chief sub-editor, a sadist and a staunch Bengali hater, turned out to be my greatest well-wisher and though he usually did not risk anything out of his little knowing (he keeps on repeating again and again the same thing, and deletes anything that does not fall into his own learned things), he taught me the basics of editing, what it takes to make a story precise, to the point,, that hits you directly. Though he made me suffer like hell, only because I was a Bengali, that too from Calcutta, he was perhaps the saddest person when I left Shillong Times. I could read that expression on his face. I had turned onto his favourite student.
Ranjitda, another Assamese (I must tell, the relation between an assamese and a bong is not that cosy one, and bongs are responsible for that. Bongs have this bastardly habit of thinking themselves superior wherever they go. Forgetting good old, peace loving assamese were the people who actually let them live after the partition, they tried to dominate their hosts…when they got a sound beating during assam andolon, they started complaining how they were being treated. Of course, the history is pretty complicated and there are some follies by assamese also that someday I intend to write) taught me photography. He taught me as if I am his younger brother. I broke his costly slr camera, and he never complained. The day of my coming back, he packed all my mess beautifully and saw me off. I love you ranjitda, and I despise those bastard bongs who complains assamese should not be trusted. If you approach a person with hostility, his reply will be also hostile. In fact my closest friends are assamese or from north-east, mainly khasis and garos. Anup sharma, who is with Times of India now was my room mate and a great cook. He took care of me as I couldn’t cook.
He even washed my dishes, and I must say, he knows Bengali literature more than an ordinary Bengali knows. There should be a separate post on sharmada.
Then I met Syed Naquib-Uz-Zaman, my news-editor who later became my roommate after sharmada left. How can I forget the delicious foods that he used to treat me with. He is also a subject of a separate post.
I reserve my comment on my Editor Manas Chaudhury, who was conferred Padmashree the same year with Shahrukh Khan. What an inspirational journalist he is. His personality still reverberates in my mind. I remember everything from the first interview to the last day of our meeting. And my greatest gain in shillong was Didi, who was like my mother there, an entirely different post on her antics.
Biswajit sengupta, the editor of purbanchal sanbad and a distant relative of mine, introduced me to shillong times. Separate post for him also.
The time I spent in ST was my golden period. Always cash-starved, I knew what the meaning of money is, what it takes to earn something, what it takes to view the world from a half-hungry mind. What it takes to stay as a poor, away from all the cosy comforts of your house. I turned into a man from a boy after going there.
Think, money takes away all the joy from you. Now my job is not secured but I get a handsome amount. Now I think of my future saving, I live for future now, and have lost the knowledge of living for the moment. Life is a bitch now, or I have turned into a prostitute.