POWERFUL VOICE FOR A POSITIVE CHANGE
“Why did you have to waste an engineering seat in college if you wanted to become a journalist?”
It is a question people who have known me as an engineer till a few years ago, ask me often. Back then, writing used to be a hobby. An outlet for the writing urge.
In an youth magazine, I had written about facing failure with courage. It was based on my experience. I was overwhelmed by the responses to the article. It was then that I realized that words had the power to make a lot of positive difference to people’s lives. I was gradually drawn to issues that were not being addressed. While writing, one cannot but help becoming personally involved.
Suicide is one of the issues that affect me deeply. I interviewed Shanthi for an article. ‘Shanthi’ means peace; she had anything but that. She kept on pouring out her woes, long after I turned off my recorder. She was contemplating suicide after putting her nine-year-old son in an orphanage. I counseled her as much as I could and promised to help her. She called a couple of times. And then the calls stopped. I had neither her address nor any contact detail. It is a long while since she contacted me last. But I am still hoping to hear from her, to hear the endearing way in which she calls me ‘akka’, meaning ‘elder sister’.
Then I learnt that another whom I had interviewed for another article had committed suicide. I could not prevent the death. But I do believe that if I write about the issue, convey why people contemplate suicide, whom they should approach to get support, etc., then I know I would be making a positive difference. (From experience I can say that I have, but it is not enough). Our words can prevent someone from taking an extreme step. This holds good not just for suicide prevention, but for all issues.
Having no formal journalism education, I always attend workshops, study literature available, and look for more, to improve my writing, add more power to my voice and to get insights into positive journalism. That is how I stumbled upon World Pulse and Pulsewire. To be honest, I did not expect to learn so much, en route the actual, possible training. It has been an eventful journey thus far. I am sure it will continue to be.