I’ve had my fair share or ‘first days’ in my media career spanning a little over seven years. They were good, not so good and downright ugly. Like ’em or loathe ’em, you just can’t ignore ’em! For instance, when 21-year-old me walked into the office of a reputed media brand as the newest recruit, the formals-clad editorial team was jolted out of their cushy cubicles and enclosures. They were staring at this strange creature, just out of college – red head (and bed head), ripped jeans, hoodie and backpack. “Hi,” said the creature (very un-prototype!) in a manner characteristic to its nature before dropping this bomb, “I’m here to be a journalist…”
A year before this catastrophic turn of events, the creature, in dire need of ‘earning her own living’, was referred by a professor to an art collector. “You want to be an art curator?” said the aforementioned art collector who, back in 2004, had a couple of galleries to her credit in the city. “Yes. I am specializing in the Renaissance. I have Titian, Giotto and Leo Da Vinci at the tip of my fingers.” “Well, young lady, this is more about modern art…” and her voice trailed off as she floated towards a Kandinsky. I knew my gallery days were numbered!
First days needn’t be unproductive. My first day at a national news channel right after J-school lasted almost three days. It was when Sunita Williams and Atlantis touched down on planet Earth. The TV channel streamed the live feed from NASA and since I was in the production control room, I had the privilege of sitting through most of it, switching to the live feeds and being involved in the programming bit, switching between reporters and stations with the ease of a pro. Oh, what a day it was! And after the 50-hour plus run, all of us stood up and clapped. Followed by, of course, a round of beer – the sweetest I’ve ever tasted.
My seven-year media career did suffer an interruption when, thanks to downsizing and the slowdown, jobs were jeopardized. Since the creature can’t go hungry, she had to look for a means to support her stomach. And so, the insurance company happened. The pay was good. The location of the office was excellent. But, the dress code was formals, though that had nothing to do with my first-day-first-show here. Buoyed by the prospect of a job in the mad market economy, I arrived before time. I had taken special care to even purchase an expensive pair of formal pants. HR formalities over, it was time for me to learn the ropes of insurance. I was given a workstation which, except for printing cover notes of insurance policies, had no other talent. And so, I spent eight hours reading and re-reading the company insurance manual. By the end of the day, I had it by heart. But my heart ached to break out of the Rs 1100 pants and settle back into my favorite shorts,
The Rs 1100 formal pants now costs Rs 2500. What an investment it turned out to be. Here I am, writing about my first days after having a very fulfilling and ‘real’ first day in a proper corporate setup. And guess who came to my rescue? The Rs 1100 formal pants! What an investment it had turned out to be. And what a lovely, though tiring, day I had! It was real, very real. Flesh and blood. Seasoned with oregano, dunked in Rs 40,000 a-peg cognac and blended with the choicest of the herbs – all export quality.
Watch this space to know more about this ‘real’ thing!