December 27, 2006

Brrrrr

Posted By:
Okay, almost in an ominous response to my last post, winter has arrived in Delhi with all its chill. It's cold, it's wet and it's chilly! I was kind of missing the bone-chilling winds and the winter rain which we so lovingly look back on in the scorching summer months. Must say, now Delhi seems like it should be in winter. The misty atmosphere in the mornings is great to look at, but makes getting out of bed a momentous task!

I guess what adds to the charm of the winter is the holiday spirit all around. I am not exactly a party animal, but it makes me feel good to know that people are having a good time.

December 20, 2006

The chill doesn't bite!

Posted By:
Winter has been disappointing this time round in Delhi. There was a time, not very long ago, when people used to be warned against the Delhi cold. Alas, what a misnomer it is now! One of the things I have noticed this winter is that the city does not look like a modern version of Kabul. There are no walking blankets passing you by! People are doing well enough with a sweater and muffler. I don't know who to blame for the weather shift - George Bush for global warming or the Delhi traders for setting the city alight during their sealing protests. Nevertheless, I do miss the Delhi winter.

I understand that the real people to comment on the weather should be the homeless, but I just see the slum kids in knickers running around barefoot with careless abandon. When winter first set in, I felt I was the only one feeling the warmth. Now I notice people hanging up their coats and jackets in office, and they only seem to be wearing sweaters out of respect for the winter.

I guess more than the weather itself, it is our mind which makes us feel hot or cold. Now that I strongly believe that winter's not really here, nothing makes me feel chilly.

Temperatures apart, I think December's a wonderful month with a very festive feel to it, as the countdown to the new year begins. Now, thats another story...

December 17, 2006

So, what do you do?

Posted By:
Simple as it may seem, this is one question I dread. For some reason, I find it hard to explain to people what an 'online journalist' is. I am not talking about old-fashioned auntys and uncles either, I am talking about people whose online interaction is limited to emails and chatting. Even if I do manage to say that I write for a media & advertising website, they think I am some content writer who fills in the spaces between the pictures. With all due respect to Content Writers (notice the capital c and w), I do work a little harder on developing my feature articles. Again, I am not a daily reporter which makes it hard to explain to presswallahs. My forte lies in writing feature articles which you see in any business, current affairs, lifestyle or travel magazine. The only difference is, that my work is 'published' online (that's the terminology used).

Yet, people remain under the impression that if I am not a reporter either, I must be doing some dilly-dallying and passing it off as journalism. Let me clarify that my job is not an easy one. When I call up people for an interview or to answer my queries, they are always a little disappointed that their words will not appear in ink. I guess the written word on the web has a very transitory reputation. People who are in the online business themselves are of course happier to be written about in their own medium, but this proportion is clearly small.

I do admit that the online medium allows a more, let's say, friendly language. But I prefer to see that as an advantage. People who read online (yes, people do that) want the writer to get to the point - fast. One has to be concise, conversational and accurate. I will, however, not deny that I am stanch supporter of newspapers and books myself. Yet, over the years, the web has evolved its own fraternity. What I can read on other's blogs, I may never get to see on any other medium. Online communities allow me share my opinions with like-minded people in a frank manner. Online news sites are updated frequently. Online magazines like http://www.chowk.com/ are doing a great job too.

Let me add that I write occassionally write for a print magazine, but when I was offered a position as a full-time correspondent with the magazine, I declined to accept. This is because I see the web as a more radical and evolving medium, even as it grows in respectability. I have a feeling that the web is where the future is. I am as concerned about the sanctity of the language as pro-print people are. And that is why we need more talented people to move from print to online. Not only will this add to the credibilty of the medium, it will fulfill the need for better writing on the web.

And when the aforementioned Auntys and Uncles do ask me what I do for a living, I just tell them I write for a magazine.