From Hearing Stories To Telling Them

I didn’t know I’d become a journalist.

As a child, my mother would tell me bedtime stories every night (which, by the way, is not a very Indian thing to do). The stories brought out in me a love for the unfamiliar and a curiosity to know more. listen

I quickly formed the habit of puncturing my mother’s stories with a “why?”. The tiger entered the jungle- why? The pixie cut her long hair- why? The dog shivered in the winter cold wind- why? I’d interject her story every now and then to know why something was happening.

Years later, my mum told me that this was one of my most annoying habits as child. I still chuckle at her exasperation.

The Sneezing Dog was one my favorite stories as a child, and even now.

This curiosity by all counts is not very unique. All children are intuitively curious, it’s how they learn about the world around them; questioning their experiences and environments are one of the ways their younf brains form concepts about realities.

So my curiosity was no different from that of my peers. What was different however, was my drive to learn. Not in the academic sense- I was a pretty average student for the most part of my formative years, and I still am no intellectual wonder.

I do love to learn though. It’s one of the reasons (my impulsive tendencies being the other) that I’ve shifted cities ever so often and switched career trajectories to start fresh in a new sector. I love learning too much to compartmentalise myself into strictly defined, non-negotiable roles.

When figuring out a college degree, I was really at the point of tears because I wanted to learn EVERYTHING. It stumped me that to get a degree, I’d have to forego learning about the world at large. (Liberal arts education still hasn’t picked up in India, and at that point in time, I didn’t know such a thing as liberal arts existed).

So I hopped, skipped, and jumped my way through a undergraduate course in finance, two miserable months as a banker (more on that later), a job as a digital marketing executive, and a stint as a teacher with an NGO, until I found myself at journalism school to learn writing.

When I started journo school, I emailed a professor about future plans. It was an extremely disorienting period and I didn’t know what to do after I finished what I joined the institution for- becoming a better writer.

I remember what he told me. He said, let the course happen to you, you don’t know what you’ll want until the end of it.

He was right. Becoming a journalist wasn’t in the books at all, yet here I am- a journalist who doesn’t have to choose between learning something and learning everything, and who can ask as many questions as she likes.

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