It was a dull evening in Delhi as I walked to my office, all set to impress my bosses. This was my first day at job and naturally, nervousness and excitement should have gone hand-in-hand. But this was not the case with me that day. I felt more nervous than excited.
It was not a great welcome when the news editor, failed to recognize you and did not know about the joining date. He behaved as if you were a waiting list passenger of a packed train, who thought his seat was confirmed. His seat was, indeed, confirmed but he had to wait to get his name registered in the list of the editor’s priorities.
First day at job is the most difficult day of life. Because you don’t really know what to do, how to do? The colleagues look like human beings but they are not. They look at you and don’t smile. They call your work difficult and tell you, you cannot do it.
I felt nostalgic watching Mahi in MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, on his first day at job as Ticket Checker at the Kharagpur railway station. That terrible feeling of not knowing what to do, how to do it? He roams here and there, from one platform to the other, lost. Absolutely lost. He was not meant to do all these things, he thinks. He was supposed to be playing right now. May be practicing in the nets, preparing for the 2003 World Cup. That alien feeling at an alien place. And this unbelonging atmosphere kills you and makes it harder to focus.
How many times do I have to do this? What’s my job time? Is there an end to this? The Bhopal edition goes to press at 11, the stories start coming at 8 and the city incharge diminishes at 9. Nobody answers the call. The copy reads, “The deceased said….” and ends at no end. There is no meaning to this story and it is already 9. The page one incharge says remove the line and let it go. But how could I? Adding to it, there is space left and the city desk, as usual, has diminished. Adding to all this, this is my second day at job and this style sheet is out of my reach.
I feel like Mahi. There are two trains coming at the same time and the list of passenger names are to be given to the two different Ticket Checkers. He runs unknowingly. Where to go and where not to? No idea in the head.
At 9, and I, too, roam from page 1 to 4, copy pasting the stories. There is no scope of editing. Not that the stories are so good. Only that there is no time to do it. I cannot be so cruel to my profession but so is everyone around me. The one sitting next to me has Bhubaneshwar in his hand, or to say, in his Quark Express. He takes pride in leaving the pages on time, irrespective of the fact that the reporters over there don’t even send headlines. He laments that no ads go in Bhubaneshwar edition, so more copy and paste and more time consumed. Ranchi one is best to work in. There are plenty of ads.
Mahi, at least, has one thing in his life, to delude his mind- cricket. He practices in the evening after having made challans standing at platform number 3 the whole day. There is no escape to this life, or is it?
It’s 11 on the clock and the news editor is over my head. He is calling the shots now. It is getting late and I have one and half page to read, edit and design. Holy Christ. I cannot even go the nets after this session is over. The train is running away and the passenger list is still in my hand. These confirmed seats will have to wait.
I look at the empty Delhi roads as I head back to my home in the cab. I am going far away from the office but I know I will have to come back again tomorrow and go through the same turmoil. I will learn it, I make a deal with my wounds. Wounds of my ego. I cannot, the inner self says.
Mahi, sitting, disgusted at the platform thinks the same. He cannot deal with this life. What if MS Dhoni had made a pact with the wounds of his ego? That he had to live like this. As the ticket cheker at Kharagpur railway station. All his life. And may be just maybe he might have become the Regional Manager. But then, who would have played Murali in the finals in 2011 World Cup?
Meanwhile as he thinks all possibilities of his life, he sees a train whistling in front of him. He sees it, believes it is there for real and then quickly runs to finally catch it. That is it.
One month, later, disgusted of having my leave cancelled at last moment I decide to quit my first job. Both of us don’t regret our decisions. At the same time, knowing that Kharagpur railway station and the newspaper, where I worked, made us strong. It also made us believe that quitting is not always bad. When you quit what you don’t like, you pick yourself from the pieces you had broken yourself into.
Who knows it better than MS Dhoni?