Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Reporter's diary

Reporting is a fun job though I repeat again that it could be very tiring. Travelling from anywhere to anywhere in Mumbai is so tiresome and takes a minimum of an hour. That can be pissing off but well, all part and parcel of the job. Reporting gives me a chance to meet new and very interesting people. In this one month, I have learnt lot of things. I have some amusing experiences to share with you.

However recently, there was a suicide case in JJ hospital. The person had AIDS and he committed suicide jumping from the third floor of the hospital. To know more read..

I was asked by my editor to hunt down the family of the suicide victim and do a human-interest story on them. I immediately agreed. I had to first trace the address of the family. Now I called up the police to find out the address. Hmmm..After few attempts I finally got hold of the police-in-charge who gave me the required address. Surprisingly the place turned out to be somewhere close to the area I stay.

The person who died was Abhimanyu Rane and I had to meet his wife, Naina Abhimanyu Rane. The next day I left home early and went about hunting for that place. I realised it was not all that close either, but it was ok. In process I reached a slum area. I began hunting for Abhimanyu Rane. Now it was really odd that people couldn’t really figure out whom I was searching for. Normally when you go to slums, everyone knows everyone. I felt really odd. Nevertheless I kept asking around. Finally I landed up at the Rane residence. The people who were giving me directions kept asking me what work I have with them. Damn, some people, they have so many questions to ask! It was raining cats and dogs. I felt very weird. How to approach them in a moment of grief like this? One of the disadvantages of my profession is that it can land you in the most awkward situation possible. Also, I was doing something like this for the first time. I was supposed to sensitive too. I was just tongue tied and I can tell you it not the best situation to be in after you have landed up at the your subject’s house and knocked the door too. I knocked and man in his early thirties answered the door. (All the conversation that ensued happened in Marathi. I am speaking sexy Marathi now, I am proud of myself, Yayyy!)
He : Whom do you want.
Me: I wanted to meet Naina Abhimanyu Rane.
He: Oh, she is my brother-in-law’s wife. What work you have with her?
Me: (In a fix. How to tell him, that I wanted to meet her coz I want to talk about her hubby who died committing suicide coz of AIDS ) Well, I had some work with her (All I could mumble)
He: But she doesn’t stay here.
Me: Oh Damn… (I didn’t want to delay my article.) Where does she stay then?
He: Don’t worry, she stays nearby only. I will take you there.
Me: Oh, ok, great.
He: But she’s gone for work.
Me: Eh, work? (Goodness, her hubby died and she’s gone for work?) Where does she work?
He: She works in J J, she’s an attendant there.
Me: Eh? (An attendant in the same hospital where her hubby committed suicide? Oh my! this is amusing. ) Oh well….when will she be back from work?
He: She will come a bit late. In the evening only.
Me: Oh damn! (and I was there by noon. It would be late)
He: By the way what work you have?
Me: I wanted some information.
He: what you want, I know everything about her. I will give all the information.
Me: Well..err….I am from the press. I wanted to meet for some information.
He: Oh, press….hmmm
(He suddenly goes in to show photographs)
He: This is Naina. (Her marriage photos they were.) This is her husband. They used to stay here before. But she shifted to another place two years back. She used to stay here only.
Me: But the information I got was to meet her on this address.
He: Ohh…she stays at a different place now.
Me: Where’s her husband?
He: Well, he expired.
Me: Oh…how come?
He: HIV (in hushed tones)
Me: (All surprised. This chap doesn’t have any qualms admitting it. WOW) Ohh…sad.
He: Yea and Naina did not even marry you know.
Me: Does Naina have AIDS?
He: No. I did a proper check up. Neither does she nor does her son who is 6 years old.
Me: Oh, great. (Just for clarification) When did he die?
He: Some 4 years ago.
Me: WHAT? 4 YEARS?
He: yea…
Me: Did he not die some 4-5 days back by committing suicide?
He: No, he died a natural death and he dies four years ago.
Me: But how can it be possible? There was a suicide few days ago in JJ of a patient who had AIDS. Isn’t he the same? Isn’t he Abhimanyu Rane?
He: Arrey, But he died four years ago and He did not commit suicide.
Me: Oh Damn
He: You don’t trust me? Ask my neighbour.
(Neighbour nods in assent)
Me: (Shit shit shit) Sorry, Sorry I wasted you time. I seem to have got wrong information. (Freaking stupid arsehole police.)
He: (laughing) Arrey na, no problem.
Me: Thank you haan, bye!

Now I know how she can go to work inspite of her husband’s death. Well, he died 4 years back, she can’t be mourning for four years na. I was all confused. Why did the police give my wrong address? Damn it. I felt so stupid. Then the first thing I did was to go to JJ Marg police station. I went there and asked the police who made me wait for almost an hour. Finally when they gave me the address, I realised I had a different address. I was so angry. I told them that I was given the wrong address. But well, they were too busy to even pay any heed. I think the attendant’s address was used to accept the body for some official purpose. I am not all that sure. It still remains a mystery to me as to why that Naina’s name was present.
(GOLDEN LESSON LEARNT: GET YOUR DETAILS DIRECTLY. NEVER BY PHONE)

Lesson number 2: You still won’t ever get your details properly. I had to again call up at 12 in the NIGHT to get the proper details because the concerned officer was available only in the night shift. Bloody….grrrr……^%$%^$%$^%

Finally I got the correct address only when the clock struck 12 night, the next day. WEIRD!! WEIRD!!!
Just imagine if the family didn’t have any death due to AIDS, I WOULD HAVE BEEN STONED TO DEATH…. HOLY CRAP! Shesssh…..God saved my life, atleast there was a death due to AIDS. (I can’t believe I am saying this) Nahi toh, I would have been dead by now. I can visualise people running behind me throwing stones and trust me it’s not a happy sight. K

I finally tracked the REAL family Well, that’s another story.

to be continued...

*Important Disclaimer*: Names, locations used above are changed.

5 comments:

succubus said...

small doubt ..how does she have a son whois 3 when the husband died 4 years ago and sheis nt married again?? of is it just a typo??

Anonymous said...

Oops, just checked my notes, the kid is 6 years old. However such cases are not impossible. the wife may be pregnant at the time of the husband's death. So well, such cases are plausible. However that was an error on my part. Thanks for pointing it out. :)
Shobha

El Diabl020 said...

wo... I want to know more now.. What happened when you met the real family? Was it a cover-up(the wrong name and address)...
Waiting for more... :)

Shobha said...

Diablo: Hey u can check my new post :)

Shobha said...

I, Me and Media!

BlogBack Closing 13th October 2005. Read more...
andy:

very interesting… but i guess protecting the identity of the the people you are talking about whether in the paper or ON THIS BLOG is also something a reporter should know when to do..
i guess this time its okey..but maybe you could be careful about that next time aye!! :)…

2005-07-05 10:24
Swathi:

n all the time i used to think that a jounalist's work is very exciting.
the police seem to be experts at this kinds bungling.

2005-07-05 12:42
Shobha:

Andy: Oh well, I should have added the disclaimer, that the names used are all false.

Swathi: It's an exciting job, no doubts about it!

2005-07-05 14:21
Pranshu:

Ummm I dein have a clue u resumed bloggin :D even I was busy wid work :(. Oh ma … job is interestin .. now I know … wots keepin u soo much busy

2005-07-05 15:49
Keshav:

This story reminds me of a serial called "Reporter"(Shekar Suman was the reporter doing Investigative Journalism). Interesting job though I wouldn't want to go hunting in the slums throwing sensitive questions on random people, u never know how they will react. Anyways, I guess that's what makes your job different and interesting :) and yea, euphemism is something that you guys have to master !!

2005-07-05 16:13
Shobha:

Pranshu: I love my work :) Oh yea…its very hectic too!

Keshav: Well, its all about being sensitive and compassionate. Well, at the end of the day we have a greater responsibility of conveying the world the reality and making sure the subject concerned isn't hurt too. It's a tightrope walk which we have to master :)

2005-07-05 19:18
aNTi:

Wow… too many coincidences. Even the same names? I mean, a lady working in the same hospital as a guy who dies of causes related to her own husband's death and her name appears on the recently dead guy's contact details? Wow… let me get this straight..So they give u a lady's address that they found on the dead guy's details and then it turns out that the lady's husband had died of related reasons four years ago?
I am still reeling…

2005-07-05 20:45
Ashwin:

hmm..thats definitely a difficult situation. trying to create a "story" out of somebody's tragedy.
take it easy and dont stress out too much :)

2005-07-06 04:04
Shobha:

Anti: Well, its really weird! really really weird!

Ashwin: Well, "*story*" is a journalistic jargon for an article, report! Well just wanted to clarify, not CREATING a story out of someone's tragedy, it's plain reportage of a tragedy that has happened. Well, am cool re, not stressing and all…:)

2005-07-06 08:35
arun:

this is the baap of all coincidences…

they guy was dead and due to HIV too… any one of em missing and i am sure we wud have gone thru an article of stone pelting…

nice post though…

adios

2005-07-06 09:24
Pallavi:

Reporting shows how real everything is… the crime, the truth, the lies, the deception… SIGH

2005-07-06 11:02
sat:

You do seem to be the regular sleuth snooping around for a good story.

It was quite an interesting read. I actually thought that because AIDS was such a taboo - it was going to be difficult for you to find her.

And when is it going to be continued.

2005-07-07 06:11
Ashwin:

well I didnt mean that in a negative sense..nor did I mean that you guys make up stories. Just writing an article based on a tragedy like that is difficult by itself…thats what i meant.

2005-07-07 06:26
Vighy:

ammagiri :))

2005-07-07 08:12
Vaibhav:

me nathuram reporter boltey thats all I know of marathi:-|
interesting job btw…good luck!

2005-07-08 12:18
Vaibhav:

oh it was 'aame' ;)

2005-07-08 12:20
Shobha:

Arun: Hehehe! seriosuly baap of coincidences…

Pallavi: yup, it does…How have you been?

Gundu: Poda :p

Vaibhav: Me nathuram godse bolto is correct!

2005-07-10 19:52
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