A friend told me a very weird thing yesterday, "You know, you probably have one of the best jobs in Indian print journalism today, K. You travel like a maniac to exotic locales. You cover just about anything that takes your fancy. Your life is like a constant blast."
Sometimes, I really wonder how I wandered into the job I have, not journalism per se, because I know how I wandered into the profession, but the job profile that I have. I mean, some of the assignments that I get boggle me, and sometimes sometimes the assignments that just land on your lap are even more puzzling. I just spent the weekend in one of the most beautiful parts of the country on a story that I doubt I enjoy the 'qualifications' to deliver, but then again, I guess writing is a skill and if you were born as a straight bloke, you don't need qualifications to stare at good-looking women.
But I have to admit, my job has been very good to me, in terms of travel. Sure, my passport still has empty pages, but when it comes to going wild and whaky places inside India, I have travelled to some really crazy places, seen stunning natural beauty and environmental destruction, both in scales unimaginable and experienced both abject poverty and gross oppulence, sometimes within hours of each other. But I guess in the process, my ability to get shocked or 'feel' pain or even enjoy a bloody good single malt has taken a hit. Sure, I guess I say all the right things when I have to, feel sympathy with those I have to, and I've probably attended enough alcohol-tasting sessions to blab out all the nasal and palate notes by rote.
Can you manage to see eye to eye with a widow whose husband killed himself over a Rs 20k loan one day in Wardha district and attend a champagne lunch with starlets snorting coke next to you two days later in some South Mumbai joint and feel equally comfortable doing both. I can, I know because I have, and I don't know if that I can possibly be proud of myself because of that.
I sometimes try to rationalise everything by saying, 'It's a job, if I didn't do it, someone else would', and that is exactly what I feel. I have always felt that one should experience a multitude of experiences, high and low in their lives, and god knows, I've had both, both professionally and personally. Totally natural too, but yes the acid did help out some years ago, but the drugs are a thing of the past now other than the occasional smoke.
But my life isn't a constant blast. I don't have a life, I just bounce around from one experience to another. It is fun alright and I really enjoy it, but I'm also killing myself doing this. This is my drug of choice now, I need it, I need the rush and I don't think I can cold turkey. Shit!
Photo : Vijaynagar Beach, somewhere in India!