Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wish Me! I’m Five Years Old Today!

Five years ago, I was a reporter with NDTV in Chennai and I had just covered the biggest story of my career – the Indian Ocean tsunami. Reporting on the tsunami from the ravaged coastline of Tamil Nadu had been fraught with a muddle of emotions – shock, sadness, pride, joy, despair, hope, anger and frustration. I was full of stories and the medium of television wasn’t enough to tell them.

I wanted to empty every corner of my soul and put it down in words. So I asked someone to teach me how to start this blog. The title ‘A Reporter’s Diary’ was hurriedly chosen and I settled down to the business of jotting.

I began with the tsunami but soon started writing about everything else. The personal side of my work for NDTV found expression here. The formal interview with Richard Gere was for them, but that he had torn his trousers was discussed here. The formulaic he-said, she-said of political coverage was for them, the outrage and the disgust over much of it was for here.

Sometimes when I go back and re-read some of that ranting and raving, I cringe. My choice of words feels embarassing and I can also see some earlier prejudices quite clearly.

But the process of writing has been incredibly therapeutic. It gave my impotent rage, from being a reporter in India, a much-needed release and improved my writing in the process.

To my complete surprise, you guys actually seemed interested in reading about it! And when you left comments, trust me, I felt and continue to feel thrilled. Some of you of course cursed me out and said I was shit, but I cunningly disabled anonymous comments. But all your legit comments became so interesting to me that often I found myself thinking harder about what I was going to write on this blog than put on air. (Future employers, please ignore.)

So today I want to say a big “Thank You.” Really. I love writing and I love that you read it. There was stiff competition for 'Most Loyal Reader' between my dad, other members of the family and Sathej, but in the end Sathej won because he is not related to me and therefore not obliged to read this blog and because he leaves more comments. Please take a very large slice of the cake above, Sathej. Thanks to everyone else as well. Sorry I can’t mention you all by name but I like you for stopping by.

The life-span of this blog also made me reflect on my own life during this time. Its been a terrific half decade. I’ve survived some awful decisions, made better ones, moved three continents, met brilliant people, felt humbled, met my life partner, felt elated, got a new family, definitely gained a few pounds, gone back to school, sank all my savings, emerged with wonderful friends, lost a debit card and travelled. I’ve also had several bad hair cuts and a bite from an unknown insect at night but I won’t bore you with that.

It seems as though more happened in the last five years than in the previous 25. (Stop trying to work out my age!). Through this time, this blog’s been my constant companion reflecting my life and my latest interests.

So happy birthday Blog and thanks for everything!


Unknown said...

JOY O JOY GIRL. To the next 50 years of enjoying writing.

Anonymous said...

Birthday wishes to your blog, Alaphia! :-)

On that note, quite a few points of concurrence I need to offer:

(i) I find writing very therapeutic too although in my case there is hardly any stress to de-stress from.

(ii) The emotions you had talked about experiencing during the Tsunami coverage were akin to my own as I visited (as an interpreter) areas like Cuddalore and Nagappatinam with a senior journalist from LA times. What I saw shook my very being!

This line says so much: "I wanted to empty every corner of my soul and put it down in words." and silence!!!

Hope to read more and more from you :-)

Mochatini said...

happy 5 years. congrats!! heres to many many many more. xo

Sathej said...

Oh just happened to drop in here today and nice to see this post - Five years - that's quite a while for a blog! Congrats :) and keep writing. Yes, both the content and the style of writing has changed over years, but I suppose that always happens. The tsunami, the ration story (think you would remember that)et al to international affairs. Writing is indeed a nice source of letting out things/relaxing.

Anyway, wish you more years of blogging and writing and best wishes for your career as well.

And thanks for the mention in the post! Was a very plesant surprise! Very nice of you to acknowledge readership. Am honoured :)


Natasha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alaphia Zoyab said...

Thanks a lot Tisha, and Mochatini.

Aah Srini, so you know exactly what I'm talking about. I'm sure you came back from tsunami coverage with plenty on your mind as well.

Sathej, you are most welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed the little surprise.

Journomuse said...

Its been a while since I tackled the 5Ws and 1H and balanced out reportage..who needs balanced reporting anyways these days?

But loved your blog...i think sometime around three years back, i remembered the same tsunami we covered...and remembered writing about a bit of my 'coming to terms' with it somewhere in some corner of my blog...and that's perhaps why this rings so familiar..

anyways, Happy Birthday to Alaphia's Blog...:) and I hope to visit more often...


Alaphia Zoyab said...

Thanks Journomouse! Blog says thanks and urges you to eat cake.
Just stopped by your blog and I loved 'Laid in Sussex'. I will keep my eyes peeled for such information when I next contemplate making omlettes!

Anjali said...

Happy B'day "Reporter's Diary"..I can imagine how therapeutic writing can be. Someone once told me that the best way to give vent to your feelings is writing them down. There were times when I had such thoughts that I just blogged them and then deleted them but it made me feel strangely calm and then never again did I have those thoughts again....funny isn't it?
Take care and keep writing..

Alaphia Zoyab said...

Hi Anj!

How are you doing? I go through these phases where the narrative of my blog is building in my brain for weeks and then I simply have to find the time to let it all out. So I can fully understand that calm feeling. Reporter's Diary says thanks.

Ganja Turtle said...

The cake and the balloons were a nice contrast to your usually sober tone - happy birthday!

You're right and Gene Fowler agrees:'Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead'

Alaphia Zoyab said...

Blog says "Thanks Ganja Turtle."

Sathej said...

Hi would like to mail you requesting something. Can you please drop me an email at sathej@gmail.com


Neodawn said...

My hearty wishes... Keep going... :)

Alaphia Zoyab said...

Hi Neodawn,
Thanks a lot.

Unknown said...

Congratulations Alaphia, and al the best.

Alaphia Zoyab said...

Thanks Delhi!


Good , Alaphia. It is a joy to read your posts. Look forward to 50 more year of the same.