As I am off for an assignment for a fairly established media house, my first in a while now given my prolonged break, I sense some butterflies in my stomach.
It is the same feeling I had when I wrote my first article – a profile of the NGO Banyan – for the college magazine of Madras Christian College.
It is the same feeling I had when I went for my first assignment for my first journalism job with News Today. I remember meeting neurosurgeon Dr. Krishnamurthy Srinivas at a hospital in Mambalam. His first words to me: “You look so young. Will you even understand what I talk? Or shall I ask Jawahar to send some senior journalist?”
It is the same feeling I had when I was about to be interviewed by the then executive editor of The Hindu and was waiting in front of her cabin. I had taken a written test. I was slightly offended that I had to take the test, given that the call to join The Hindu came when I was doing fairly well as a journalist covering the city water supply beat for The New Indian Express. I protested with the senior journalist saying I am no fresher and should not be asked for such a test. But the truth was also that I was nervous. He told me it was just a formality. Besides, he added: “the topic is a report on Chennai’s water problem and you can ace it.”
It is the same feeling I felt when I was waiting outside the Kanchipuram Tahsildar’s office ready to sign a legal document that identified me as a printer and publisher of a daily newspaper on behalf of a major publisher.
Last year, when I quit The Hindu, a few friends asked me if I was nervous. Some people who don’t know me well enough but sometimes hear me speak assume that I am very confident.
But like so many things the truth is in between. I am neither scared nor confident.
Most importantly, I respect the butterflies.