I am a Congress child, which means, I grew up watching Congress shred the country into bits and relish the destruction. They were the greatest rulers in the world since Emperor Nero. They fiddled, while the country burnt. But as they say, a Baniya is mostly concerned about their ‘galla’ and hence, for the longest time, I ran my own business. But my heart, that damned heart was more into writing.
I liked the lines of a notepad far more than I liked the dotted lines of the chequebook. I started off with some recreational writing on some blog and then, short commentaries on Twitter. I think I was liked. I like to believe I was liked.
A couple of guys approached me one day and asked me to write for OpIndia. It was a good website and exuded passion. It didn’t have the resources of the left but it survived, somehow. Which is an amusing commentary on its own because a baniya gave up her ‘galla’ to work at a bankrupt ‘right-wing’ portal that believed in capitalism and wrote against the socialists and communists who had all the money in the world to transform idiotic porcupines into Pulitzer worthy writers. OpIndia wanted to be different from the rest, and boy it was.
I got sucked into this job. The passion of it all. The thought of writing to further an ideology that had so far, been abused and branded by the wine sipping elites. I believed in it truly. With all my heart. Quite un-baniya-esque, but that’s how it really was.
Next thing I knew, I got sucked into this job, head first. I became editor of the portal. I became a journalist. I have a new profession now.
I did a good job I think. After I joined, OpIndia became a better brand. It got better rankings and traffic. I have close to 180 bylines and god alone knows how many staff reports. I travelled to Chhattisgarh to interview a surrendered Naxal and that became quite the hit. The Naxal revealed that ‘Urban Naxals’ was not just a term invented by a filmmaker for fun. I broke a story about suspected financial impropriety of Congress leader Kapil Sibal (almost got sued for it and it might not seem so, but that I got threatened and no lawsuit eventually, is quite the victory), we broke the story about Ashok Gehlot’s brother’s fertilizer scam, a financial impropriety story by another Congress guy, I got offered to “meet and settle” (we all know what that means) by someone (whose name I won’t divulge) and I had the courage to say “f*uck off” in parliamentary language and as a brand, OpIndia managed to bring BBC to its knees about their shoddy research and get some other portals to retract their stories. I also erred, and I apologized and made amends when it was pointed out.
I thought we were ok.
But I didn’t get the Ramnath Goenka Award.
And today, I didn’t get even a Padma Shri like Rajdeep Sardesai, Barkha and the other good journalists.
I was failing.
I started wondering. I started looking at the greats in the field of journalism and after observing them for a while now, I have recently realised I don’t have it in me to become a good journalist.
You see, journalists are supposed to be “neutral”, that is, they are supposed to despise the Prime Minister with every fibre of their being. You see, journalists shouldn’t have an ideology other than radical communism and most certainly, journalists are meant to support the very forces that are out to break this country into tiny little bits and sell the pieces off for a neat little profit. They are supposed to look away when politics is taken over by non-achievers simply because they belong to a family. Good journalists are meant to transform themselves into minstrels in the court of the clowns.
Journalists are not supposed to be cheerleaders. They are supposed to ask tough questions like a leaders’ relationship with her mother-in-law, so on and so forth.
Journalists are supposed to love the more charismatic, smarter and more dynamic Gandhi.
To top it all, I had no intention to view the gullible, sentimental, stupid right-wingers as some sort of a stepping stone, just to turn around and spit in their face. That quality, that quality is priceless. It takes one places.
And to make my nightmare just a little worse, I was working hard and not resting on my past laurels. OpIndia was actually thinking about what it truly believed in and not what might fill up its pockets.
My boss would tell me I should get fired because of one thing or the other. Even in jest, it would make me realise that receiving feedback is futile. That my hard work is hardly recognised because my boss is worse than I am.
And then it hit me. What if I actually do get fired? I have made some powerful enemies in the mainstream media and I have antagonised even the Congress, including the more charismatic and less charismatic brother-sister duo. My journalism career would be over. Shattered. Forget the Ramnath Goenka award, I wouldn’t even be able to hanker for a Rajya Sabha nomination like most other GOOD journalists. I would work and perish as a new journalist and never have the chance to get away with idiocy by flashing my seniority card.
Two emotions overpower me right now – job insecurity and a wish to win awards like the ‘liberals’ do.
So here I am. Declaring that I am neutral. Declaring that I actually like the more charismatic and smarter Gandhi (I don’t dislike the less smart Gandhi either). Here I am declaring that she is a game-changer and the Gandhi gene’s gift to humanity (and journalism, yes, journalism).
I am hereby declaring, with all the intellectual, suave English speaking power at my disposal, that I am now a Priyanka Gandhi fan.
P.S. – The Print, The Wire, and Scroll can republish this. You guys rock!
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017