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18… legally a journalist?

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Eighteen years ago today I joined the Indian Express as an intern. And through months of unpaid work, years of really poor salaries, stints of awful employers and 14 years in a country that’s struggling with free expression, I have never really regretted my choice of career.

Very early on, I took to heart an advice given by a very dear mentor (you know who you are): Loyalty should always be to your profession not to your employer/organisation. 

I’ve modified that a bit to include: and even if someone else pays your salary, you still should work only for yourself. So yes, 18 today, and I still don’t feel so grown up. Everything is all new and exciting; and I still don’t know when to shut up.

By UmmON

Umm Oviya + Nilah = Mother of Oviya + Nilah. Because in the Arab world a woman is first addressed as bint X (daughter of X) and then once she has a son (Y) she is Umm Y. I am not sexist, so don't mind surrendering my identity to my daughters.

13 replies on “18… legally a journalist?”

Great that you still love your career choice and honor the advice given to you years ago! My husband has always felt the same way about his profession and the organizations he works for. It is the bigger picture and his purpose he keeps in mind, always. I think here, particularly, it is doubly difficult to do. Happy 18th!

18 years in the profession has honed your talent.. you know how to speak to a reader’s soul when you write.. i am referring to your recent fact/fiction posts that left me brokenhearted, even though i am an uninvolved passerby.

congratulations on completing 18 years, and wish you joy for the future!

i worked in the very same indian express — as an intern about 12 years ago and then as a staff — , and the very same corridors where your name was a hissing and a byword – and yes, it was mostly unpaid and underpaid work

moved out of the profession…

but not out of love for writing…

cheers to your grit for staying on

Start to take it easy, you have earned it! No one does better at what you do. You have mastered the recipe; always take an unusual vision, add lots of smarts, a dollop of modesty, a ton of tenacity and mix it with plenty of principled philanthropy. What you get is an outstanding leader/journalist/Indian! Congratulations from your proud friend and fan.

saw your review in the hindu today… my dad brought in the paper today because my firstborn does the sudoku in YoungW — and aha. there’s the familiar VS

How did I miss this??!! Congratulations on becoming an adult in the world of journalism 🙂 Long may it continue!

I would love to hear your feedback. So write to me: umm.of.on@gmail.com

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