I finished my M. Sc. (Life Sciences) examination from Institute of Advanced Studies , University of Meerut in June 1980 and was at a loss over the career option for me. There were no career counsellors , no guidance at home but peers suggested me to go for research since family’s priority was to take a Lecturer’s job considering it to be a holy and principled profession.
Totally clueless about my destination, I boarded a bus from Meerut to New Delhi and landed at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). Having specialisation in Parasitology, I intended to get entry in Department of Microbiology for research. I met the HOD telling her about my area of research. After getting a patient hearing, I was put on an assignment of writing a draft /synopsis on my proposed project.
Ideal place to stay was the Resident Hostel which the Head of the Department arranged with ease and accommodated me with another Research Scholar who was pursuing research to become a pathologist .
However, three days of discussion forced me to have a second thought of continuing at AIIMS as it was not an appropriate option for a non-medico like me. Rather I was suggested to look for an institution like Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) – Asia’s biggest drug research lab — where non-medicos were preferred.
I decided to catch a train to Lucknow. Went to CDRI and got the chance to meet the then CDRI Director Dr. Nitya Nand , FNA ; D.Sc. and an expert in Drug Research. After a fruitful meeting with Dr Nityanand, whose simplicity made me at ease, my name was recommended for an ICMR Project on Drugs against Ancylostoma Ceylenicum (commonly known as hookworm) . The JRF was sanctioned and I joined the Department of Parasitology at CDRI under late Dr. JC Katiyar .
I thought I had reached the destination I wanted to but destiny has its own ways. My hobby for writing in Science Reporter fetched me a regular job at India’s premier news agency , The Press Trust of India (PTI) though on a meagre Rs.550 per month stipend. I was the youngest career journalist in PTI having joined New Delhi office in March 1982. My mentor at PTI was Dr K.S Jayaraman who took me into Journalism primarily to write on science and technical issues.
Now after this twist in life, I was seen as a scribe. Spontaneity of the events in my life made me believe that I was born to be a journalist only. Even today, PTI continues to be the best School of Journalism for the budding scribes. A copy once written by a trainee then, used to be rewritten at least 6-7 times before being finally released for the wire service. Bosses were tough and real Gurus to train the future journos with perfection.
I still cherish my 20-year stint with the PTI, remember each and every colleague, those tough talks and appreciation too, brought on record in black and white.
I had always been under the impression that I would hang up my boots as a journalist only.
Again the destiny presented a different hue. The academician was still alive somewhere in me. A lifetime opportunity came my way and I took a decisive step to move into media education and play an innings of an academician. I began it from Jaipuria Institute of Management , then switched over to Maharana Institute of Communication Studies and now am comfortably poised at Amity University. By virtue of being first a scholar, then a journalist and finally an academician, playing the role of an administrator never came naturally to me…. but Amity University carved out an administrator too in me.
Going by my intuitional instincts, my life should be in for one more change before I call it a day. Once a journalist is always a journalist and who knows tomorrow I may move into Media Consultancy.