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Monday, March 26, 2012


I started out as a reporter around three and a half years ago.
Well, I can’t say I decided it. Fate did (and I am glad it did).
Starting out as a reporter – meek, vulnerable, just out of college and most strikingly, an introvert inclined to be depressed all the time leaned the scales (and the tides) against me.
I had few friends and absolutely no contacts. My sole world was my soul and my best friend was my supportive dad.
And to tell you a secret – I hardly read newspapers then except the entertainment section.
With all these handicaps, I started out but got selected in Bhutan Times, the country’s first private newspaper, solely on the strength on my language or so to say writing skills.
I remember I had to write on media and democracy. I admit now that there wasn’t much substance in my essay, just aesthetic charm.
But I slogged for the one month I interned.
I admit I didn’t do many screamers; howlers were more like it.
But I think the management knew I was trying and trying hard.
At the end of the month, my first front page story was published, interestingly on “night hunting”.
Six months I was at the capital and everybody was nice to me and appreciative of the “suicidal interludes” I wrote for the paper.
Now, I wonder why I was so sad. There was no reason to be.
Then, like a bolt from the blue came the news – I was to be posted as the eastern correspondent for the paper.
Fear, apprehension, nervousness….the question – “Will I manage it?” dogged me throughout the time I journeyed from Thimphu to Trashigang.
I need not have worried because my family was there.
But my dad got another posting after a few months.
It was a blessing in disguise.
I became so independent and strong I could not have imagined it was the same me.
I stayed a year in the east as a correspondent.
Soon, there was a change in management and problems arose. My dear colleagues walked out and I was terminated, too because I became sick and irrational.
I am schizophrenic but I have no qualms about admitting it. Sometimes, you see the light only when there is darkness and this malady has taught me so much about life, myself and God.
At the end of another month, my health stabilized and I joined Bhutan Today.
Here started my first stint as an editor. I was reporting as well as learning to edit.
After some months, I was transferred to Gelephu as a bureau correspondent again.
Life was lonely but I was again independent.
After the end of a busy day, I would sit on the balcony, watching the rainfall, or listening to cicadas and sip a cup of aromatic tea.
However, I was not to stay in Gelephu for long.
When I visited the capital after a period of time, I met with an accident (a cab hit me) and I was bed-ridden for a month.
Another blessing in disguise.
My well-meaning boss delegated me solely to the editorial desk and soon I turned copy editor.
After I was on my feet again, I was reposted to Thimphu and I started editing for two newspapers.
The training I went through was grilling, thrilling and wonderful.
Now, I am news editor for The Bhutanese and it seems like I have come a long way.
How does it feel like to be (known as) an editor?
Well, to be frank, the name sounds good and it is uplifting to the morale but I know I have a long, long way to go.
Dealing with reporters is tricky – you have to know when you should get close and when you need to withdraw.
Personal and professional prejudices should be kept at arm’s length though sometimes no matter how much you try, they tend to overlap.
And as for my knowledge and expertise (or the lack of it), I feel like a frog in a pond sometimes.
I am learning day by day, minute by minute.
Sometimes, I feel like the reporters can teach me a lesson or two when it comes to economics and finance!
I still need to hone my analytical and expressive skills.
I know I have got a tremendous bit to learn.
So the onus of being “an editor” does not come easy; tagged with it comes responsibility to yourself, the reporters, the newsroom as a whole and most importantly the society.
What you write can build or destroy.
What you write can kill or heal.
I am lucky I am known as an upcoming paper’s editor but I know I have yet to prove that I really am one.