From the dark and dreary world of a journalist

Published: October 5, 2012
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I don’t know if other newspapers follow the same rule but where I’m employed, we lurk in the basement. DESIGN: ZAHRA PEER MOHAMMED

Working for a newspaper tends to change a person. I’ve yet to figure out if it’s for the better. I do know that the few odd months before I started working here I was a different person in many ways.

These are not only changes you see when you look at yourself in the mirror – the few times you do look in the mirror because the first thing that seems to go is your sense of self-worth – but traits and mannerisms which others point out did not exist before.

I don’t know if other newspapers follow the same rule but where I’m employed, we lurk in the basement. You start thinking of a world outside where people wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night and spend the day communicating with other people.

People.

The word seems funny now.

Like there could be another human being with whom you could have a conversation about, nothing. A conversation, in which you aren’t trying to advertise your intelligence and knowledge about current affairs. A conversation in which you aren’t anticipating a slip in pronunciation or grammar, ready to pounce on the unsuspecting victim with a look of pure derision before you club them over the head.

“He said ‘who’ instead of ‘whom’, your honour. I had to do it”.

We are below-ground folk.

Lack of sunlight has made our skin pale and flaky. When a sliver of light shines through a crack in the window, we catch ourselves staring at it mesmerised.

Gradually, more of your fellow wretches – sorry, ‘colleagues’ – start gathering around the light source.

“Where does it come from?’ ‘It’s so beautiful.”

“Can I trap it in a jar and teach it all the amendments of the Constitution?”

“I’ll name it Suo Moto!”

Then, an official from the levels upstairs wades through the crowd and covers the crack with a piece of tarpaulin. Everyone stands around for a while blinking, then shuffles back to their stations. Soon, they will forget.

Occasionally, when I go to sleep in the morning, I wake up screaming “Pervez!”, a three-headed Musharaff, Elahi and Raja haunts me now. However, when I look at the newspaper knowing that millions are reading something that I’ve produced and thousands are getting influenced by the thoughts I’m putting on paper, I feel something.

I think humans call it pride.

Read more from Fyez here and follow him on Twitter @fyezeatscake

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Fyez Ahmed

A Dubai based writer who tweets once a month @fyezeatscake (twitter.com/fyezeatscake)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Ayesha Ahmad

    I can so relate to this!Recommend

  • J.K

    Dude, aap love ho. LOVE.Recommend

  • Nandita.

    haha ! You sound like Kaidi No 420 imprisoned in the dungeons of Azkaban. Is that desk in the pic really your workstation ? If yes, you have my deepest sympathies. ;PRecommend

  • Parvez

    If what you do gives you satisfaction and obviously it does, that’s the biggest reward.Recommend