Today marks my last day with Midday. I grew up reading this tabloid and to be candid, i don't remember much from last millennium—except some popular bylines i ended up sharing the air with—other than pictures of those models who passed off as Midday Mate! They aren't published anymore but they surely 'ignited' the earliest form of sexual awakening in me. As of today, after serving for three years and three months, i can only feel gratitude towards the paper. For one, my boss hired me when i least expected it. And she has been wonderful since. Had it not been for her, i wouldn't have known this exquisite universe called film journalism especially since it revolves around this farcical planet called Bollywood.
During my time, i learnt quite a bit about how numbers roll be it the BO figure or readership survey or punishing deadline. It's one heck of a ride. A common man who licks his fingertip to flip through the pages wouldn't have the faintest of ideas to acknowledge the kind of mechanism that lead to an output called newspaper. Trust me, it's as amazing as it gets. Explains why i'm proud of adding my three-cent to film journalism. I'm not only proud of writing about stuff that matters but also about stuff that don't. The balance is always a good ratio. Also why i wonder how the world will look like when print media lets the curtain down. But then, humankind didn't really change with the upheaval of telegram, typewriter or Walkman. Did we?
Coming back to my tenure as a film journalist, i always felt my life lacked drama. It was too mundane, too predictable. Wakeup-gotowork-comebackfromwork. No party. No smoke. No drink. No wild nothing. Furthermore, it was not like i craved to be in the herd. In fact, i tend to respect those who don't need company to indulge themselves. You know, the loner who smokes alone staring into nowhere or the one kissing his glass of liquor every now and then. Speaking of drama, my existence was heavily punctuated by information of how film celebrities lead a staged life—off screen as well. Seldom do we come across a star who isn't blurting out scripted quotes or cracking an original joke. You meet them and you begin to lose respect for that veneer called stardom. "They are just like us!" becomes the new dictum for you.
Yes, there are exceptions too.
I will always remember how Naseersaab patted my right knee and said "Write whatever you want!" at the end of our interview. Or how i am one of those last journalists whom Farooque Shaikh spoke to. Or how i still haven't had the heart to delete his cellphone number. Or how SRK hugged me before i left his study about half an hour away from midnight. (Turns out i wasn't special as he treat all journalists with immense respect.) I cherish finding out first hand that Prem Chopra is a thorough and sweet gentleman. Wonder how he played such badass characters! I also cherish pointing out to Vidya Balan (whom i adore to bits) that we both share a Chembur connection! Over the last three summers, i've had several such beautiful memories. Memories nobody else has to give a damn about. Memories i take with me wherever i go. They are mine. Interestingly, i posed for just one picture with a celeb back in 2012 and that happened to be non-film personality: Shashi Tharoor. It's all about memories i guess. I didn't create them single-handedly but i was an active participant. And it all happened because i was associated with a respectable city-based daily.
That said, i believe it's time to move on from the 3Ms—Mumbai, Midday and Media—not in that peculiar order—that dominated my life for a long while now. Of course, i'm petrified but in the same vein, i also believe it's high time. I'm sure there's always something new to miss. Or be a part of.