In the fourth year of my career, I see myself as someone who has just begun his journey along the exciting and meaningful profession of journalism. The impressionable adolescence obsessed with reading, debates, poetry and activism with a mix of personal struggle against the constraints of rural backwardness, I believe, shaped the journalist in me.
Yes, born in a village in Kerala, educated in local schools in the vernacular medium (Malayalam) and in government-run universities, I am one among millions of rural youth who broke into the urban expanses of the professional world. At the risk of sounding immodest, I add that among the hundreds of professionals produced by a village cluster with a population of 70,000, I am the only journalist writing in English.
Writing in a language whose basic grammar I picked up after 18 is indeed a matter of pride for me. Yet, the foremost feeling is expectation mixed with apprehension about the long way ahead. A degree course in English has put my basics right and a postgraduation in journalism with practical training has made me reasonably confident in journalistic English.
Apprehension about the loss of a linguistic proficiency I painstakingly acquired made me leave a comfortable sub-editor’s job in The Malayala Manorama to take up a reporter’s post in a comparatively smaller English paper with less salary but with more challenges. After two fruitful years in The New Indian Express I have now graduated to The Hindu group and this I hope will definitely aid in my further learning and growth.
(Part of my entry for a short-term course on Writing International News, held in Mumbai from April 21-25. Six US and seven Indian journalists, including me, were the participants)