Archive for April, 2010

Joining Reuters!

Tanta-Tanta- Ta-Da (Imagine trumpets blaring) And here come The Big announcement, the one I’ve been waiting to tell: “I’m joining Reuters and shifting to Bangalore! Monday – April 26th is the D-Day and I’m so very, very excited about it!”

I never ever thought that one day I would work in the company I dreamed of working in ever since I was a 5-yr-old. Of course I have a had lot of other ambitions in between like wanting to become a zoo warden, a forest ranger, a wildlife vet, a wildlife photographer, a naturalist, etc, etc….None of those dreams, however, bore frutition…But this one! Oh! I’m so skipetty-dipetty happy! I feel like singing; I’m on cloud no.9; ecstatic and have to constantly keep pinching myself to reassure myself that this is not a dream, but real!

Both my parents love books and are voracious readers. So when I was a 5-yr-old and my mother deemed it ready for me to progress from reading Appusami and Sitapatti in Tamil to reading English fiction; the very first book I ever read (not books that were read out to me) was Tintin in America. I struggled with the words and could barely decipher their meaning, but I just love, love, loved that book. In fact for the next three to four years, till I eventually discovered the merits of Asterix and Obelix, Swiss Family Robinson and Children of the New Forest, my staple diet was “The Adventures of Tintin and Snowy.”

Tintin’s lifestyle was the epitome of everything glamorous and wonderful for me those days. I proudly told my mother that when I grew up I wanted to become a newspaper reporter just like Tintin and travel the world over in defence of truth and justice. I also told my mom I could start off by working for the Hindu (in the innocent belief that editors in the Hindu would queue up outside our house with offer letters once they knew the intrepid, swash-buckling Chitra wanted to be a journalist) and then go on to better things like the Belgian Times. It was then that my mother first mentioned “Reuters”  – the news agency. She told me about their history, their coverage of landmark events, the fact that many famous authors were once Reuters journalists and that if I ever wanted to do international reporting I would be better off with an agency than a national newspaper. Of course, at that age none of this registered in my brain, but what caught my fancy was the name Reuters. I was intrigued that Reuters was not pronounced as it was spelled. And I loved the way I could roll out the “R” in Reuters as I had only recently mastered the letter “R” with great difficulty. Earlier, I could only lisp out “En pelu Aachel Chichida,” when people asked me my name.

Anyway for the next few months I constantly kept telling everyone who could listen, which included my mom, dad, maid-servant Maliga, pet canary Toffy and its arch-enemy our cat Coffee, that I was working for Reuters. I would also make frequent trips to the post box hanging precariously from our gate and dump all manner of scrap paper in it and announce proudly to my family members that I had posted the news for the day.

But the desire to become a journalist soon paled, once I discovered the fantastic world of James Herriot, Gerald Durrell, Jim Corbett and Kenneth Anderson. After that from 10-16 years of age, I only thought of the animal kingdom and used to debate the rival merits of being a vet vs being a naturalist. I had to shelve those dreams – post my standard XII results, as I hadn’t got the marks for studying veterinary science. I had got only 84% when the FC cut off was around 85% or so. So I just signed up for Chemistry, did a bad job of studying it and skimmed through my years at Madras Christian College without opening the covers of a single non-fictional book.  It was then that my interest in journalism resurfaced and I took a course in journalism at MCC. Then I went on to work for The New Indian Express, News Today, Deccan Chronicle, Premium, RTT News, before I finally landed up in – REUTERS!

So Wish me luck! This is the job I want! The one I have been dreaming of! I’m sure I’ll find the work interesting and plan to do a lot of reading in future! The only fly in the ointment is the marathon task of shifting from Chennai to Bangalore with all my furniture and precious books intact.

So here I am happy, contented and crossing a milestone in my life. I’m 25 now and will turn 26 this October. Its been almost 5 years in journalism and I have loved everything about the field. I hope I continue to find job satisfaction in the years to come. With an enormous amount of peace and goodwill to all my well-wishers, I’m signing off now (its 3.00 am)! Cheers! Love life!

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