I truly believe in keeping the various facets of my life as different as chalk-and-cheese. Hence I believe in living in four different spheres - Personal, Private, Professional and one with passion. And I ensure I dont mix one aspect with the other. Likewise you too should do so to gain the maximum returns through the various facets of your life.
And so here I am to present a glimpse of some of my experiences in life and a glimpse of my feelings to my well wishers and my fans.
10. One Religion –Humanity :
Whenever I am asked to fill in any form and I reach the religion column, I take a pause and think of writing ‘humanity’ in the religion column. I often wonder why we have so many religions and not just one religion – religion of humanity. Having different religions is good as long as everyone lives in complete harmony with each other. However, that is not the case today as many issues take place in the name of religion… issues which shouldn’t have happened in first place. So it’s better to have one common religion ‘Humanity’ so that people live together collectively as one and move ahead in life.
9. The Role of religion in modern Society :
In Hindu religion because of certain social taboos, life for a Hindu is often paved with uncertainties, societal problems and is not always a smooth way of life. Comparatively, if we see, in a Muslim religion, certain rules in their religion are made according to one's need and societal needs. I would say that all such social taboos that restricts a man’s day to day life should be removed as these things does not allow us to move forward and progress in this modern society.
For example in Hindu religion widows are not accepted easily in society and only a few get to remarry and at times secretly. I mean to say we should not stop this. Let a Hindu widow get married if she or her family desires. Society should not play a judge in deciding whether it’s against the religion or not. Like in Islam it is said that after 4 months of her husband’s death, a widow can get married and the reason for this 4 month’s gap is because if the widow is expecting a child conceived from her first husband, the child can get his real (late) real father's name and that in future the child doesn’t have to face any issues from society.
Here we can clearly see that there is one religion which is allowing to give a new lease of life to a widow and her possible conceived baby while the other religion is trying to suppress the feelings of a widow and her ilks. We really need to change our mindset. We need to sit back and ponder if a widow has the right to re-live her life on her own terms or rather according to the anarchic society’s norm.
8. Gift flowers to someone is a sign of wishing them bad health and not a sign of progress :
To gift flowers to someone means to want that person to die. People pluck flowers and offer it to the gods or gift it to someone close or at times use it in the form of a garland to welcome someone. But how can we do this by killing someone? How can we separate someone close for our own selfish happiness? I am talking about those flowers which we pluck from their plants for our own selfish gains. I feel that instead of just flowers, why not gift the whole flowering plant to someone. This is also a sign of speed. Personally I feel to gift flowers to someone is a sign of wishing them bad health and not a sign of progress as its made out to be.
7. Life in a shackles of emotion :
From early childhood, after a bath, I would light a lamp or incense in front of the gods with the hope that my life too will be like the lamp that spreads light of hope in the lives of others and like the incense that burns and yet spreads an aroma in the lives of others. At the age of 12, one day while praying at the altar, I requested the goods that I don’t want moksha (salvation) but life. At that time, my thinking was that in moksha, there was no learning but in life, there was lot of learning’s and experiences – whether it was in pain or in happiness. Whatever the experience, I knew it was mine to feel it.
6. The day I transformed into a woman :
The day my life as a girl changed into a woman, I was in standard 9. And I wasn’t aware that when a girl attains maturity, what happens at that time. I still remember it was a Friday night and my elder sister (who had got married when I was 3 years old) along with her family members had come down to our place for dinner. Those days though I didn’t partake in cooking yet I was quite adept at serving food to others. So that night I served food to everyone at the dinner table including myself. Post dinner when I went to the washroom I realized that I had already gained maturity. The time at that moment was 10 p.m. and I realized that some two hours before, I had matured into a woman. In our homes, when a girl gets matured , she has to stay in a separate room for 7 days. No one is allowed to meet her or even has physical contact with her. But I wasn’t aware of all this and I even didn’t tell anyone about this transformation. Few days later when there was heavy bleeding, I informed my mother about the same. Luckily, I wasn’t confined to a room for the next 7 days. However, after 7 days, the whole house was washed and cleaned.
5. Monks… Discourse… Words… and Story :
I am one of the 9 siblings. In our area, lot of monks used to come occasionally to give religious discourses. However none of my brothers or sisters had an interest in listening to these religious discourses. I remember that since I was in 5 th standard, whatever the weather – be it rain or extreme cold, I would still accompany my parents for these discourses. While listening to these discourses, if any doubt or question arose in my mind, I would promptly ask the same to these religious monks for clarifications. Seeing a small girl raise these questions, the monks in return would patiently hear me out and then reply to my questions. Through these discourses, I heard a lot of stories that influenced me. Even today, the words heard at these discourses still echo in my ears.
4. Since childhood I had the habit of caring :
Since childhood I had the habit of caring for my things. And those days, like other girls my age, I too would play with dolls. I even used to play doctor-patient games a lot. I remember I used to keep all my things properly in its place and with utmost care.
3. In childhood my mom use to forget to give me food:
When I was a kid, often my mother used to forget to feed me. Being a quiet child I too used to stay silent a lot. My siblings used to call me Thunki, a local word that denotes a quiet person. And so even if I was hungry, I never used to call out to anyone for food. We being 9 siblings, my mother would never remember who amongst us had food. There is an age gap of 1.5 to 2 years between each of us 9 brothers and sisters. It was only when I would start crying due to undue hunger that my mother would realize that I hadn’t eaten and she would then feed me. It was only when I grew up that my mother and sisters told me about this story of my childhood.
2.How my name became Suniti:
When I was born, my parents named me Jyoti. My father says that when I was born, he had a vision of a Jyot (flame) and hence named me Jyoti. Later on, my parents named me Kavita to go in sync with the names of my siblings. So till 5 th standard, I continued with this name but when I shifted to standard 6 th , my name was again changed to Sunita. However, after passing out from 7 th standard, when we applied for a T.C. from my current school – M.E. School for admission to a high school, the school authorities by mistake wrote my name in the certificate as Suniti and in the T.C. as Sunita. My family had to decide between the two names – Suniti and Sunita for my high school admission and for the future. So my father and one of my elder sisters decided that Suniti was a very meaningful and would be an apt name. And so from 8 th standard onwards till date, I continued to use Suniti as my name.
1. I love myself a lot :
Foremost I want to tell you that I love myself a lot. Unless you don’t love yourself, you can’t express your love for others. As a golden rule, you I always think good of others and at the same time, I have the courage and conviction to forgive others. I don’t think bad about others no matter what and am always positive in my approach towards life. I don’t think twice about helping a person in need if such a situation arises.
9. After release of first book, I found a way:
When my first book of poetry was published, I took one of the books to my Bada Bapa (Uncle) , Mr. Bhubaneshwar Behera who is also a known writer. At his house, Mr Behra was happy to see my published book. He read my poems and suggested that I should write only one type of poems and not multiple types. It was here I told him about the dummy book burning issue. Mr. Behra then called up my dad and scolded him. He then told him how he had locked up his daughter Yashodhara Mishra who till her graduation had no interest in writing, he had locked her in her room saying that unless she writes something, he won’t allow be allowed to eat. It was only after some 12 hours that she wrote one poem and slid it from below the door. Then only Mr. Behra opened the door and food was served to her. Later, Mr. Behra added, Yashodhara walked upto him and asked him what he thought about her poem. And he had replied that he hadn’t read it as she must have written it hastily to please her father. Mr. Behra then chided my father saying that I am writing at this age and yet he is berating her. After that my 2nd poetry book "Sabdakhela" was written which is a love type poetry.
8. When my 1 st book was published :
My 1st Poetry book "Pardapachara Charyapada" was published IN 1996 and that time i was in final year in college. When a dummy copy of this book was sent to me, I showed it to my father that my book is soon going to be published. He was happy and started reading that dummy book. After reading the whole book, he called me and said that with my writing, I am insulting him and my forefathers. I stood silently unsure of what he meant by his words and finally in anger, he threw the dummy book away. Tearfully, I went to my room. It was around 8 p.m. At night, I couldn’t sleep and at around 1 a.m. I burnt my poetry dummy book. Soon there was smoke all around. My parents rushed to my room and saw me seated near my burning poetry book. My father realized that because of the scolding I had burnt the book. He tried to douse the flames. He then told me that I can write far better poetry then what I had written. He added that there was no message for the society in my written poems. I understood his words and the next few days, I edited some of my poems and deleted some. In this way, my first book of poems consists of some poems which are inspiring and with some message to the society.
7. I used to secretly travel to the radio station to pursue my passion :
I was in pre-degree at that time when I started presenting Manasi named literary programme for the state's A.I.R. Bhavanipatna radio station. This programme was for the youth listeners. Those days, I was still in college and somehow managing to take some time out to pursue my dream of presenting programme for All India Radio. Those days my father had given strict instructions to all of us at home that we had to be home by 6 p.m no matter what. So somehow I used to make some time out from college activities to visit A.I.R. to work on my show despite my father being against it as the radio station was far from my house. He was like any other father who thought twice about letting his daughter venture out far. But despite my father's warnings, I used to secretly travel to the radio station to pursue my passion. Those days the route I used to take to the radio station, I used to frequently encounter one of my father's friends. His house was situated on that road and he would always be sitting outside when I would pass by. He who in turn would inform my father about our meeting. My father in turn would severely reprimand me saying that despite my restrictions, my warnings, you still venture out to the radio station. But still that didn't deter me from pursuing my passion. Later, on enquiring, I learnt from a peon at the radio station that there was another route to the radio station which was full of danger and he advised me not to use that route as it was quite risky. At my behest he pointed out that dangerous back road that passed through a mountain, fields and through a open crematorium. And then I started a new journey to the radio station on my usual faithful bicycle through the mountain... the fields and through the sides of the crematorium (with ghosts for company) to pursue my passion and keep my date with the radio station. And yes, at times i had to carry my bicycle for a change through the fields due to its uneven surfaces. And despite taking all precautions, my father still came to know to know about my AIR work as few of his friends too listened to my radio show. Earlier, when I had auditioned for the AIR job, I had to give 5 tests and post that I was selected as a Compere with AIR and started producing my own show that became a hit. However for 6 months I didnt let my father know of my AIR stint. So one fine day when his colleague and a friend happened to inform my father about my work and praise it immensely, my father felt a sense of pride. My father had always appreciated my talent since my childhood but as I grew up, like all fathers he too feared my safety. So when my father's friend informed him about my work, I too hesitantly let him what I was doing. But this time he was happy for me and simply asked me why I didn't let him know and I meekly replied, I was afraid you might get angry. Today, when I recall the journeys I undertook alone through the mountain, the fields, the cremation area, I shiver at the thought. But those days no such fear existed in me as my passion for my work kept me going. I want to tell you that if you have the passion, the will to do something, no matter what, nothing can stop you from achieving your goals.
6. In School time odia was my liking subject :
My knowledge of Odia literature was very good since school time. But I didn’t take Odia subject in college. With Economic, Political Science and Sociology I have completed +2 then +3 in Economic's with Honour's and passed Sociology. But after completing all my classes i use to go to attend Odia classes also. Sometimes it use to happen that Odia sir try to ask questions in between but no Odia students was able to answer and i use to reply.Among many friends of mine they preferredOdia subject only.When i was in pre degree i use to write small poetry for news paper.Also i was connected with all India Radio.By seeing so much my interest in Odia,my dad and my dad's colleague suggested me to concentrate on Odia subject.Then i changed my subject to Odia as since starting i use to sit for Odia lecture also and there was not much difficulty also.Then i completed MA in Odia.
5. With 33 girls I prepared platoon NCC those days:
My dad was also a sergeant in NCC in his school and college times. He had also won a gold medal in NCC. Because of my keen interest in NCC, my father decided to seek an admission in Ramadevi College in Bhubaneshwar post 10 th standard. When my father’s colleague Mr. Ajay Mishra who was a Geography lecturer as well as a NCC lecturer in Government College in Bhawanipatna came to know, he told my father that we don’t want to loose a NCC sergeant like Suniti. Those days Government College had no Women’s NCC team. Yet, Mr Mishra assured my father that he would ensure a woman’s NCC department would be opened. So I took admission in that college and soon formed a new women’s NCC platoon that comprised of 33 girls. Unfortunately soon Mr. Ajay Mishra was transferred and another person took over from him as the new NCC lecturer. However, that person didn’t have much authority to open a new women’s NCC department and soon the idea fizzled out followed by my platoon’s breakup.
4. Bimla Convent typing institute encouraged my writing:
After I completed my10th exam, there was 45 days of gap before the results would be announced. I decided to utilize my free time and I joined typing classes in Bimla Convent Typing Institute. This school was surrounded by by greeneries. I was happy and would enjoy the greeneries when i was inside this institute and while coming and going to the institute. Every moment of that time was a moment to cherish. The campus was full of birds,church and pond and narrow path that lead to the institute. Peacocks would roam around the campus and I often would spend time talking to them. My typing class would be of 1 hour duration and I would spend about 2 hours enjoying the campus. This campus has given me beautiful memories and experience. It would also encourage me to write and this is the place where I nurtured my passion for writing. I can watch and listen to the beauty of nature for hours and in turn, it would evoke the writer in me.
3. My 3 Gurus that made me whom I am:
Since childhood I have lived my life in complete discipline. And thanks to my 3 gurus who made me who I am today – from class 3 to class 5, Mr. Manmohan Singh and from class 6 to class 10, Mr. Prabhash Chandra Mishra and from class 11 to post graduation, Mr. Nrusingha Charan Rath These three were not only teachers for me but also my gurus who guided my life for the better. Yes, they are gurus for me because teachers only teaches but a guru makes a person stronger, a person who dutifully follows the gurus ideals and come out of every situation in his or her life very easily. In my life there is lot of challenging situations and I was able to face each situation calmly thanks to my gurus and my conviction which was strong.
2. I brought that trophy for my school :
I was in 10th std and after preliminary exam for board, we have to study at home for 6 months. It meant not going use to go school for those 6 months. For the Republic Day i.e. 26th January parade, our school would send our NCC platoon to take part in the inter school parade. Despite there being many capable girls from my school to lead the parade on behalf of our school, my NCC teacher felt that only I was capable to lead the NCC parade as well bring the trophy for the 3 rd time in a row so that the trophy stands permanently in school. And yes, I managed to keep my teacher’s trust intact and won the trophy. Even today, the trophy sits proudly in the principal’s room of Govt. High School, Bhawanipatna.
1. NCC’s those days :
When i was in class 8th I joined NCC. I was made a junior sergeant of NCC. At that time I wouldn’t even speak a single word in public yet I was when I used to give command to the other cadets, the echo of my voice in would reverberate throughout the school. Those days, our NCC teacher was Ms. Krushnapriya Purohit who was quite impressed with my height ,sincerity, body fitness and my commanding voice. In NCC I have attended 2 national camps on behalf of my school - National Integration Camp and Tracking Camp. I still remember those days of NCC and feel that those were indeed few happy moments of my life.
21.DakshyaPublication’s First Baby
The first book to be published by DakshyaPrakashini was ‘GibranankaJeebanJingyasha – 1’, the translated version of Gibran’s great works.
One day, Dr. Mishra had come to my house with 30 of Gibran’s books and I was elated to see so many of Gibran’s works in front of me. I asked Dr. Mishra which of Gibran’s book we will publish first and he said that all his books are amazing. So Dr. Mishra randomly selected some of Gibran’s works from his various books and I furiously started typing the translations in the computer. I simultaneously proof checked my work, matched the poetic style with Gibran and even did the layout. And likewise we worked on 5 of his books. Within 15 days, the book was printed and came out. It was then released at the Bhubaneshwar Book Fair. We gave the book’s distribution to Book Movement. Poet Kulamalli Jena who was a publisher but was also a book distributor. Through Book Movement, we managed to sell quite a number of its copies. Mr. Jena was making a profit from selling this book. After keeping his share of the commission from the book’s sale, he would pay me my share. I even gave him some of my books published by other publications to him for distribution. However, I kept some of my books (which were for the better of Odia people) with me for distribution through my publishing house.
Thereafter, I started work on my next publication, ‘GibranankaJeebanJingyasha – 2’.
20. Birth of DakshyaPublication:
Once I was done writing the autobiography, ‘TinotiPruthibi’, we started to look out for a publisher for the same and soon finalized Mahavir Publication. They came out with its 1st edition and printed 2000 copies of the same. The copies were soon sold out. While writing the book, I and Dr. Mishra used to have lot of philosophical discussions. During such discussions, I would bare my emotions about certain philosophical things in front of him. Once he asked me if I ever read the works of Khalil Gibran because he found that some of my principles were quite similar to Gibran’s philosophies. Dr. Mishra was a huge fan of Khalil Gibran and had read all his books. He had long wanted to translate his works in the Odia language. That’s when I started reading Khalil Gibran’s books. When I read some of his books, I realized that whatever I wanted to narrate in life, Gibran had already said the same.
Then I and Dr. Mishra also had discussions on Sufi. Seeing my enthusiasm to view life in such a different perspective and that too at such a young age, Dr. Mishra was quite impressed with me. We would often have long discussions on literature and philosophy from time to time. We decided that we would translate some of world’s best philosophical works in Odia language since lots of people stay away from English philosophical literature.
It was decided that we would translate some of the best books of philosophy and publish it ourselves because we faced a hard time from Mahavir Publications while getting Sir’s biography ‘TinotiPruthibi’ published. We wanted to avoid wasting unnecessary running around and save time as well. Dr. Mishra was a man who didn’t like wasting time. He’d do things in the quickest time possible. I would often try to slow him down but he’d end up saying, he doesn’t have much time to spare. As he was from a medical background, he was looking for someone like me from literary background so that he is able to give back to society all that he had in mind.
Now we got ready to translate Gibran. Once done, I now had to start its publication. Since I had a bit of a knowledge about book publication, I now had to decide on the book margin, logo and soon the layout too was ready. And thus started DakshyaPrakashini.
19. Writing an Autobiography
After joining SSB Hospital, I worked hard to publicize the hospital. Slowly and gradually, lot of people started their association with the hospital. During this time, I would be invited by various organisations across Odisha to speak at literary functions and I would happily attend these literary functions as a speaker. Dr. Mishra too would be invited at various such functions as a Chief Guest. While Mr. Tripathy who had the interest of the hospital at heart and worked for the good of the people would skip such events has it considered it a waste of time. But when people started demanding the presence of all three of us, Mr. Tripathi had to relent and started attending the functions. Dr. Mishra would be the Chief Guest, Mr. Tripathy, the Honorary Guest and I would be the Speaker. Our only condition to attend such events together would be that we three would travel in the same car and that too Mr. Tripathy’s car. Through the journey on such days, the three of us would have long discussions on literature and hospital development.
On one such day, as we were travelling for a literary function, Mr. Tripathy casually mentioned that because Dr. Mishra has done a lot for the hospital through his exemplary service over the years, the hospital had decided to present his autobiography. I was entrusted the task of writing down Dr. Mishra’s biography. Knowing that I was a writer and M.A. too in Odia, I was the apt person to write his autobiography.
Dr. Mishra would visit the hospital thrice a week and for two hours each. He now extended the two hours to three hours out of which he kept one hour aside for me to discuss his life story. And thus started Dr. Mishra’s autobiography, ‘TinotiPruthibi’.
18. From Producer and PR :
For one of the episodes of my health programme for Doordarshan, I decided to do a segment on SSB Hospital. The Chief Trustee of the hospital Mr. N. Tripathy was a retired Income Tax Commissioner who had served in Chennai for 40 years. Once retired, he had dedicated his life to the development of the hospital. Mr. Tripathy too was a writer himself because of which we would interact with each other quite often. One day, he decided to visit my home. There he wanted to know what my monthly income was. I told him that I had no fixed income and that it all depends on the projects I undertake. He in turn asked me to join the hospital saying that I was a very sincere and hardworking person and with me becoming a part of the hospital, the hospital might see a further growth. I had to only dedicate 3 hours daily for hospital work and that I was to be paid on par with the doctors working there. This was a good option for me since I could continue to pursue my current interests simultaneously.
The Chairman of the hospital was one Dr. K. P. Mishra. Since the last 18 years I had been hearing my father utter his name on various pretexts. My father next got tired praising Dr. Mishra whenever the opportunity rose. And it so happened, even Dr. Mishra was a writer. So when Mr. Tripathy offered me the job with the SSB Hospital, I had no hesitation in accepting the same. And so I joined SSB Hospital as a Director – Admin and PR.
So I started my new routine. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. I would be with SSB Hospital and from 3 p.m. onwards, I would do the work of my company, Dakshya Communication. During this new arrangement, I made quite a decent amount of money through which I set up my own production studio, bought a car, purchased land etc. I was feeling quite happy and satisfied that I was able to do all this with my own money.
17. Juggling Multiple Roles
When I started my proprietorship firm, ‘Dakshya Communication’, I took the liberty to visit a jyotishi (astrologer) to find out which alphabet suits me. His reply was, ‘A’ to ‘Au’, with ‘KA’ to ‘UAN’, and with ‘TA’ to ‘NA’. From the list given, I selected ‘DA’ and keeping that in mind, I selected ‘Dakshya’, a traditional Odia word as the name of my company. In an agreement done between DilipBhai and Dakshya Communication, it was decided that Dakshya Communication will produce ‘AmaSwasthya’ from episode 27 to 52. However, as I was to go to Delhi for my course, I had to submit episodes 27 to 30 before leaving for Delhi. However, I had no sponsors for my programme. Still I deposited the programme and the payment and then proceeded to Delhi.
I was back from Delhi in time to watch the telecast of episodes 23 to 26 and concentrated on raising finance for the shooting of other episodes through television advertisements. Those days in Odisha, there wasn’t much awareness about audio visual advertising. So I started giving presentations about A/V advertising to many organisations. I even created advertisements for some companies with shooting, editing etc. all done by me. These advertisements were immensely liked by the companies for whom I had made it. And thus a new journey started for me… that of an ad film maker. And at this time, I was juggling multiple roles – that of DharitriSahityayan activities, DD Producer & Director, Anchor, Voice Over Artist, Script Writer and at the same time, was also writing my own stories and poems.
Under Dakshya Communication, other than ‘AmaSwasthya’, I did various other non-fiction programmes like ‘Aarogya’, ‘AamaDunia’, ‘Darpana’, ‘E2 Rojgar’, and ‘Katha O Kathakar’. Lot of people appreciated my programmes and it was their appreciation that motivated me to do more and more work.
16. Birth of Dakshya Communication
So along with DilipBhai, we started our production house ‘Samman’ and under that production house, we produced our first programme ‘AmaSwasthya’ for Doordarshan. It was DilipBhai who was instrumental in getting sponsorship from a big company for our maiden television programme. My remuneration was fixed at Rs.3,000 per episode. Doordarshan had a rule where we had to take another 26 episode approval at the end of the first 26 episodes. So at the end of 22nd episode, I had to go to Delhi to complete a course which was of 1 month duration. At this time, DilipBhai wasn’t keen to seek approval for the next 26 episodes as he was finding it difficult to raise more finance for the programme. I felt bad hearing that our programme will stop after the 26th episode since I had already planned for additional 26 episodes, including its content and publicity. By the time the 22nd episode was aired, ‘AmaSwasthya’ had become quite popular with the audience. So with a heavy heart, we completed 26 episodes and handed it over to Doordarshan before moving to Delhi to do my 1 month course. Thereafter, I branched out independently to start with my own firm, ‘Dakshya Communication’.
15. Branching out with Doordarshan
At one time, Doordarshan had advertised for applications for new sponsored programmes for its channel. On coming to know about it, fellow journalist Mr. DilipBisoi decided to do one such programme with me on board. It was decided that he would look after the financial part while I will take care of content and other things. My aim was to focus on women’s issues. I decided that our programme for Doordarshan would feature health issues as I felt that the people of my region especially the interiors should be made more aware of the various diseases plaguing them as well as information about doctors who treat them. Doordarshan then had no such health related programme.
I took the risk to apply to Doordarshan with meager chance and luckily my pilot episode got approved and my programme name featured in the approved programme list. Suchi Madam however was shocked knowing that I was branching out on my own as she had entrusted all the publication work to me my care and she herself was to start a new business. However, I assured her that I will always be around whenever she needed me. And so with DilipBhai, I started a new journey with our ‘AmaSwasthya’ programme that started being telecast on Doordarshan.
14. Strictly no to Yellow Journalism :
Through weekly newspaper ‘AjiraLok’, we tried to bring to our readers few topics of relevance to them. It’s here at ‘AjiraLok’ and working with DilipBhai, I learnt many new things about journalism. DilipBhai would give us new topics to work on and we would enjoy working on those topics immensely. My role was that of Managing Editor of ‘AjiraLok’ and I had 4 field reporters under me. I would guide these young reporters on their respective work and then send them out to the field. As they were all new students of journalism, I had taken the responsibility to guide them and make them strong journalists.
It was during this period that we did a survey on beggars roaming the streets and railway stations and we learnt that most of these beggars were millionaires themselves. Through begging, they had amassed lakhs of rupees and which they in turn would lend out to others on interest basis. In fact, one of these beggars had gifted his daughter a three floor building and a car as her wedding gift.
We also learnt that the ‘Golgappe’ we eat with immense joy is in fact prepared by Vaishyas (prostitutes) who would knead the dough used for preparing ‘Golgappe’ with their feet. Such incidents came to light when we would do unique stories for ‘AjiraLok’.
During this phase, the owner seeing my capability wanted me to take charge of circulation as well as business head work. But I politely declined saying that with additional responsibility, content quality will be drastically affected. Moreever, he had a solution to increase the circulation and he suggested that we re-print some pages from an old book. I blatantly refused saying that I won’t follow the path of yellow journalism as long as my name goes on the newspaper as its managing editor. Even DilipBhai felt bad for me having seen my dedication and hard work with ‘AjiraLok’. For 6 months I had toiled endlessly to bring out each issue every week without fail. And now I was stopped in my track when I refused to follow the path of yellow journalism.
13. Starting A Stalled ‘AjiraLok’
While working for ‘Sahityayana’, I came in contact with all the senior Odia writers and built a rapport with them since every month I had to interview two writers for the magazine. At the same time, I used to write literary articles on topics that interests me for the publication. For the two writers’ interviews, ‘Dharitri’ would pay me Rs.3,000 as remuneration for the same. There were times when I would travel outside Odisha for other literary work or some communication seminar and during such times, I’d often get a chance to meet some writers there too. I would then conduct my interview with some of those writers and mail it back to my publishers for publication of the same. This way, I got to meet many writers both in Odisha and outside Odisha and learnt so much about their writings from them. At the same time, I was also busy doing the women’s programme for Doordarshan.
Simultaneously, ‘AjiraLok’, the weekly newspaper which had been in the planning for 4 years without going to print, the responsibility to start its publication fell on me. I teamed up with senior journalist Mr. DilipBisoi to set the ball rolling and soon ‘AjiraLok’ newspaper hit the stands. Mr. DilipBisoi was a nice man who treated me like his younger sister and would always guide me in my work. Soon I too became a part of his family, regular visiting his house to meet his family members.
12. Covering the death of NandiniMaa :
It was while I was working at ‘Dharitri’, that I first met Odisha’s first woman Chief Minister NandiniSatpathy. CM NandiniSatpathy was a strong and versatile personality. Within a short time, I was impressed with her principles and her life. We used to call her Maa (Mother) instead of Ma’am. So when I moved on to Doordarshan and started working with Suchi Ma’am, we got the news about NandiniMaa’s death. Suchi Ma’am asked me to do a coverage of her death. I thus started preparing to cover her last journey. Her body from brought to Bhubaneshwar from her constituency Dhenkanal. A huge crowd had gathered on the streets to get a last glimpse of NandiniMaa. I and my camera team started recording the proceedings. I was told by Suchi Ma’am for a 10-minuted edited coverage but at the end of it, a 28-minute episode of Maa’s final journey was telecast on Doordarshan without any cuts whatsoever.
After watching the telecast of my coverage of Maa’s final journey, Mr. TathagatSatpathy called me and informed me that he was doing ‘Sahityayan’, a tabloid in memory of NandiniMaa and that he was keen on a contribution from me to be printed. It was indeed an honour for me to write again on the late NandiniMaa, an inspiration to many.
11. From Print to Electronic Media :
While engaged with ‘Samaya’ newspaper’s women’s 8-page supplement, I chanced upon various issues faced by women. Through my articles in ‘Samaya’, I tried to highlight these issues and bring it out in the open for others. But because of space crunch in print media, there is a limitation to what all you can print as compared to digital and electronic media. During this time ETV Odia channel was newly launched and had a good reach among the masses. I contacted them and it was mutually decided I will produce ‘Ananya’, a woman centric programme. We finalized RamojiRao film studio in Hyderabad to shoot our programme. However, I didn’t like Hyderabad’s hectic work lifestyle which would start at 7 a.m. and end at 10 p.m. I wasn’t keen on such a lifestyle and hence didn’t join the team in Hyderabad.
Later, I sat back and thought about my target audience for my programme and realized that most of my target audience comprised of rural women. And to reach out to these rural women, ‘Doordarshan’ was an ideal choice since it had a wide reach in those areas. As I had already connected with BhawanipatnaDoordarshan through BijayaKar Sir and DebendraJaipura Sir, they also introduced me to BhubaneshwarDoordarshan. Jaipura Sir introduced me to Suchi Nanda Ma’am whose women centric programme ‘Gruhalaxmi’ was running on Doordarshan at that time. I started working with Suchi Ma’am. After completing 104 episodes of ‘Gruhalaxmi, another programme was aired named ‘Kasturi’ followed by ‘Rozgar’ – a programme that taught women how to become independent and earn for themselves. I shared a wonderful relationship with Suchi Ma’am whom I considered like my elder sister. Even her husband BhismaRath guided us up our professional work. Both of them were pleased with my work and I soon became like a family member in their home. Together, I and Suchi Ma’am worked on a number of programmes for Doordarshan and within a few days of starting work with her, I was given full responsibility of my programmes – From preparing content, shooting plan, spot selection, expert contact, voice over, anchoring, direction, etc., I used to do it all by myself. And every step of the way, my confidence level just went on increasing.
10. Writer Who Was Stopped From Writing :
Writing was always my passion since I was a teen and as I grew up, it also became my profession. But I always kept my passion and profession apart despite the fact that it shares a common bond.
After joining ‘Dharitri’ my poetry and byline was published in another publication. However, there was an objection from ‘Dharitri’ management that while working at ‘Dharitri’, I can’t write or publish my writings elsewhere. This made me give up print media.
However, 8 months later I met daily newspaper ‘Samaya’s’ editor Si SatkodiHota at a function. Once he came to know that I was no longer employed ‘Dharitri’, and he asked me join his publication. I questioned him if in Samaya too, I would be barred from pursuing my passion and he replied that I am a writer and that’s why he’s asking her to join Samaya.
I started with my role in ‘Samaya’ in the fiction section – a weekly tabloid which is an 8-page black and white edition but during my time was a 16-page colour edition. I was responsible for 8 of those pages. I started publishing interesting stories and along with creative designs, the circulation increased steadily. I was feeling good seeing such a good response to my work. From content writing, preparation, DTP to proof reading, I was handling everything. I only had to depend on the designer for the design part. But soon I was handling the designing part too for the 8-pages myself as I learnt designing under the guidance of Mr. Sanatan and Mr. Prakash. And since most of the stories on the 8-pages highlighted women’s issues, soon my 8-page section was much appreciated and liked.
9. From Metro to District level
Within a few weeks after joining ‘Dharitri’, the day-night shifts started to take a toll on my health. The doctor advised me to work only day shift. I took a switch to another role and I was given western Odisha responsibilities. Once again I was enjoying my work since I was very familiar with western Odisha as it was my own area. I started writing about topics on places in this area which not many were aware of. My field reporters were quite happy with my work ethics since I was quite meticulous in discussing and giving out district wise assignments and cover stories. Despite me moving to Dak edition, I was still sitting at the same table that I was assigned during my ‘Metro’ days. There was this gentleman MrKamalkantPati who sat at the next table and whenever I had a doubt or a question, I would ask him and he would politely answer me. At times he used to get irritated with my persistent questions but that didn’t stop me from questioning him.
At times, I used to handle BidhanSabha news and often used to have the landline receiver glued to one ear and with the other free hand, type on the computer whatever the BidhanSabha news reader used to read out. This again was a novel experience since I learnt computers soon after joining ‘Dharitri’ on the orders of our editor MrTathagatSatpathy who had asked everyone to learn computers within a week so that everyone could do direct entry of news in it. And I being a fast learner managed to learn within 2 days itself.
8. My first night shift job :
‘Dharitri’ is one of the leading newspapers of Odisha. Soon after I joined this newspaper, the publication was planning to come with an additional 4-pages color supplement which is now popular as ‘Metro’. We were 4 sub-editors working then – MrNiharRanjanPattnaik, MrPrakashRao, MrGaganMohanty and myself. A team of two sub-editors working in 2 shifts where juniors Gagan and I were teamed with the other two seniors individually. I was teamed with MrPattnaik and Gagan with MrPrakash. Plus we had a team of 35 field reporters. The four of us sub-editors toiled hard and as a team to bring ‘Metro’ out to the stands and within a short span, ‘Metro’ became a hit in the market. It felt good when my work in ‘Metro’ was appreciated by our readers.
This was also my first experience in working night shifts. The shifts used to keep rotating every week. It would be around 1.30 am when the dummy newspaper would reach us after printing. And after final checking, I would feel sleeping and would want to go to bed but… Our news editor MrGopalMohapatra would chide me how can I feel sleepy when I am still actively working. Gopal Sir was quite an expert giving attention seeking and effective news headlines and this is one quality I picked up from him.
7. Understanding work and work ethics
Those days, there was a very popular magazine in India named ‘Manorama’ (available even today) which was published in Hind language. I had a keen desire to write some women’s related features for this magazine. So one day when I saw an advertisement for a sub-editor for Manorama magazine in a local newspaper in Bhubaneshwar, I landed at the given address. To my disappointment, I found that the advertisement was given by another ‘Manorama’ magazine published monthly in Odia language. The editor who had heard about me, requested me to write some features for their magazine which I instantly agreed to. I committed myself to writing one feature per month since it involved a bit of research and field work and so for the next two months, I gave them one feature article each month. However in the 3rd month, my editor handed over lots of newspaper and magazine cuttings for reference purpose and said that I will have to write 8-10 pages of articles each day according to my style and under a different name. His reasoning was that ‘Manorama’ was a 200-page magazine and hence I will have to write 200 pages of articles in 20 days’ time and proof reading also to be done by me. I felt strange doing this as it wasn’t exactly my style. But I couldn’t say no. I was offered a monthly salary now and I worked for the next 3 months writing using the newspaper and magazine clippings as reference.
Post 3 months, I took leave and visited my home town Bhawanipatna and stayed there for a month. Now the editor of ‘Manorama’ had become completely dependent on me and in my absence he had no choice but to send all news clippings to my house address, requesting me to continue writing. Seeing so much trust being placed in me by ‘Manorama’ editor, I finished off writing all the articles which I sent back to him. Thereafter, I felt confident about my work and work ethics. I decided to approach daily newspaper ‘Dharitri’ and sent them my bio and within a short span I started my new role at ‘Dharitri’.
6. Yoga… the art of living healthy :
By the age of 24, I had completed all my studies and even had three of my books published. Around this time, I decided to venture into a new field. I started ‘SM Yoga Center’ and started teaching people yoga in order to live a healthy life. I made my yoga students aware how one can maintain a healthy life, cure certain ailments simply by strictly following yoga. I never charge any fee from my yoga students. Do you my association with yoga, more people started to know me better and looked up at me. Soon, I was involved with the Jain community. I was asked to translate the Life Science subjects taught from Nursery to standard 13th at the Jain VishwaBharati University at Ladnun, Rajastha from Hindi to Odia. During this time, I spoke to some of the authorities and explained how yoga is beneficial and how it can be made one of the compulsory subjects in the school. Once I was done with the translation project, my life again took a turn in a complete different direction when I moved to Bhubaneshwar from Bhawanipatna in 2001. Bhubaneshwar became my workplace and ever since I moved there, my workload just increased as a writer/journalist etc. Never had I imagined that one day, my career would lead me to Bhubaneshwar but gradually I started to enjoy my work, my stay in this place.
5. Where there is a will… jobs follow :
Ever since I started college, my professional life too began simultaneously. And so between college and while working as a journalist with ‘Pragatiwadi’, I was also in touch with the local Doordarshan office and also had two books of poems published during that phase of my life. I did my MA in Odia literature, journalism course, Rural Development and even completed Ratna studies.
I had a habit of not sitting idle and one of those days decided to take Radio writing course. The exam center for this course was in Bhubaneshwar at the Indira Gandhi Open University. The first time I went there to collect my admit card as well as for my practical’s, I met the IGNOU Director who convinced me to start teaching journalism at the university. Well, I never had any plans in mind to opt for teaching as a career. So I informed the director that travelling from my home town Bhawanipatna to Bhubaneshwar which is 450 km is not possible for me. He suggested that I become a guest faculty member and take class periodically and that I will be paid accordingly.
I want to say that jobs have always followed me where I went and not vice versa. Throughout my life, many others offers came my way and I know that someday, one of the job offers that I accept may completely change the route of my journey in life. I don’t know where my destiny lies but I haven’t stopped my journey and continue to walk on new roads each day with the hope that it may lead to something complete different way beyond my imagination.
4. Journalism; My New Calling :
Surprisingly, I had no plans whatsoever to opt for journalism as a career but gradually, I got pulled into that field. I soon developed a keen interest in journalism and thereafter I undertook a course in journalism. Once I finished my course, I joined a daily publication, ‘Pragatibadi’ in Kalahandi as its district correspondent. I became so obsessed with my new role that I used to cover about 15-20 news and each of these news articles were published without a second thought. During my stay at ‘Pragatiwadi’ because of my news coverage, the newspaper’s circulation increased manifold. Pragatiwadi’s head office was located in Bhubaneshwar and during one of my visits to the head office, I learnt that its office staff were keen to meet me as they were impressed by my reporting style which was often the topic of discussion between them.
3. My 1 st camera facing :
After graduation, I was part of All India Radio as a compere. Later on Bhawanipatna Doorshan station started. And at Bhawanipatna Doordarshan I was lucky enough to do its 1st programme and the programme’s subject was water seed (Jala Bibhajika), which was an agricultural benefit project which the Government had introduced. I did not have much any knowledge of this subject. The producers in Bhawanipatna Doordarshan for this programme were Mr. Devendra Jaipuria and Mr Bijaya Kar which the director was Mr. Ratikant Rath. The shooting would take place about 30 kms away where water seed was done and we would have report on the location at 6 a.m.
This was the first time for me before the camera and I had to introduce the show. I gave 3 takes in my very own style. The first two times, a steady shot was taken and then I suggested to the director that for the next take, I will give introduction while the camera is still on me. The director Mr. Rati was surprised at my suggestion and was all praise saying that this girl will go a long way. As an anchor it was my first show and since this Doordarshan channel too was new, Mr. Rati had accompanied us for the shoot. Initially he was a bit apprehensive about the fact that I won’t be able to pull off this anchor bit and he had accompanied as a backup anchor if I failed.
After shoot, when we were travelling back, Rati Sir told to the producer gentlemen that despite
such a heavy topic this girl despite being new to anchoring has managed to pull it off
successfully and using such local words that it has done the show way better. Hearing Rati Sir’s
words, it motivated me immensely and boosted my confidence level.
Today Rati Sir is not around but his words of encouragement continues to inspire me.
2. I started journalism
My professional life began while I was still studying in college. Those days I had no idea what all hobbies of mine would shape up my professional life. Whatever work came my way, I would it sincerely from my heart. At this stage, ‘Prajatantra’ was a leading newspaper in Odisha and it was in this newspaper that my first poem got published. Thereafter, I started submitting weekly local stories to that publication and when my first story got published, it gave a boost to my confidence and I continued to submit stories time and again which the newspaper published. Later on, I got an offer from the publication that of a district correspondent. Since I wasn’t a graduate at that time I had no idea that I would one day be starting a career in journalism. But as appreciations came my way due to the stories I covered and the fact that one of my coverage story reached the collector’s office, some development work was done thanks to my story. This further motivated me as I realised that on account of my writing in the newspaper, good things were been done for the welfare of people. I continued to pursue my interest in journalism and simultaneously finished my graduation and a course in journalism.
1. Started my professional journey with A.I.R.:
My professional journey started with All India Radio when I started work on a literary programme ‘Manashi’. Those days, I would charge Rs.100 per episode. With my first pay that I got from A.I.R., I brought a gift for my father – a shaving kit. My father was very happy and proud about gift he received brought from my first income and he kept the gift safely. He said to me that my other children earn in lakhs and yet they never ever brought any gift for him but I brought him a gift from my very first income. I was quite happy to hear his words and became a stronger person thereafter seeing his face glow with happiness and pride.
15. Writers should stop writing when they don’t like what they are writing
When a writer is not happy with what he is writing, he should immediately stop and start afresh keeping in mind the interests of his readers. Writing is an art and a writer should be religious while using his art for the benefit of others. He shouldn’t force himself to write on a topic till he is satisfied with it and interests him and in turn will interest his readers as well as give his readers some knowledge in the bargain.
14. A writer should be clear with his/her thoughts
A writer may have various reasons to write. The reason could vary. It can be to educate or it can be to harm… it can be religious or it can be an emotional reason but whatever reason, the writer has to be clear with his thoughts and at the same time, should have some responsibility towards his readers.
13. Become a writer without leaving your regular job
A writer should initially continue with his regular job and pursue his interest in writing. Once he is fully convinced that he can sustain a regular income with freelance writer, then he should let go off his regular job and pursue his passion for writing full time.
The life of a writer is tough in the initial stage. Its only when he has clearly established himself as a writer then only he can proudly let go off his regular job and work as a writer full time.
12. Publication-Personality cannot be defined
The feelings of a first time published writer is normally on a high. It defines his happiness and takes it to the next level. It doesn’t merit which publication publishes your writing. Every publication has something different to offer – whether it’s a small publication house or a big publication. If a big publication publishes your work, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have reached another level altogether. But yes, irrespective of which publication house publishes your work, it will add to your career as a writer as well add to your work experience.
11. Value Subject, Writeupand Publication
A creative writer should give equal importance to the subject of his writing, the write up and the publication involved so that his work reaches to the right readers. If subject and the write up is good and the publication is not, the writer may not find his target readers. Likewise if the publication is good but the subject of the story or its write up is bad, the writer may loose credibility as a writer in the eyes of his readers.
10. Write what you will like to read
A writer should only write something that he would himself love to read. Unless a writer doesn’t enjoy his own writing, how can he expect his reader to like it? So a writer should write from the reader’s point of view then only his writings will find favour with his readers. A writer doesn’t necessarily seek out a reader but its other way around where a reader seeks a writer and his writings. So a writer should put himself in his reader’s shoes and write effectively.
9. Requirement of more information books
A creative writer should also be an avid reader because unless a writer is not fully equipped with world knowledge, he won’t be able to write with the right information and on interesting topics for his readers. A writer should also possess the right information books that should be available at his fingertips for cross reference be it a dictionary or a book of grammar that aides to write effectively and clearly because writing involves a structured layout.
8. Innovate with writing style
A writer should keep innovating his style of writing to keep his readers glued to his writings. A writer whose sense of writing follows the traditional path time and again often ends up boring his readers. Hence a writer should keep experimenting as well innovating with new creative writing style to keep his readers interests alive.
New writing styles also makes a writer interesting as well as keeps his creative talents shining.
7. Writing skill and the quality of writing
To improve the writing skills of a writer, the writer should writer regularly and at the same time should also maintain the quality of his writing. A writer should only write to express himself and should not consider himself to be competing with other fellow writers. As long as he thinks of himself as a sole writer and writers with a free mind, then only he will be able to express his creative feelings openly and with great substance.
6. Writing doesn't have a set formula to follow
Expressing one’s creativity doesn’t necessarily mean one has to follow a set of rules. One can express his creativity depending on one’s own style and mood. Hence, it is a good idea to write periodically to hone one’s creativity and at the same time, understand how and in what style he is comfortable writing. Each writer has his unique style that may not necessarily match with the style of another creative writer. Just like a swimmer won’t rule over the water till he takes a plunge, likewise a writer won’t understand his style till he writes continuously.
5. Writing: is not a painful process, a work of luxury or a labourous task:
We know for sure that each person has some form of creativity deeply hidden inside. However, living a life of sheer luxury or in utter poverty doesn’t necessarily translate his creativity in taking shape and coming out in the open. It’s how one identifies his creativity that defines his acceptance as a creative person. One has to introspect within oneself to identify his creative genes and bring it out in the open and it doesn’t necessarily have to go through alabourous task or pain or for that matter live a life of luxury to identify his hidden creative talent.
4. Writer: by birth or trained writer?
Many people are of the opinion that writing is an in born talent and not everyone is born with this talent. However, we strongly believe that despite some creative people being born with this talent, this art of writing can also be taught to those who are not born with it and yet has a deep desire to pursue the art of creative writing.
The art of writing can be taught in a structure manner like scores of other education and a person who is creative with his thoughts can hone his skills and become a writer though this medium.
3. One should be a Starter
There are times when a creative person is not aware of his hidden talents. The person has to delve deep within himself to bring out his hidden talents in the open and express himself though his creative side without any second thoughts or any form of hesitation. . As a writer you may write your first piece of poem or a story for that matter and when you do so, don’t be shy or hesitate to showcase your writing. Every writer has to start somewhere and sometime, so why not now and showcase your creativity without worrying about the outcome of your work. The more criticism or bouquets you receive for your creativity will only help you grow as a writer.
2. Writing : Work/ Practice/Worship:
Creativity is a beautiful feeling and a wonderful experience which should be religiously followed by a creative person. A creative person should religiously respect and worship his creative talent then only he will experience the sweetness of his creative work. When you speak of worshiping your creative talent, it requires enormous amount of hard work, patience and practice and give your creative side its due importance to make it grow. Just like your body requires equal doses of nutrients to grow, so does your creative side which needs regular practice without which a creative person may see his creative side withering.
1. Identify your own creativity
Each person who expresses himself or herself through words, we consider them to be a writer. And each person has some creativity deeply hidden that needs to be identified and tapped. How he uses this creativity to express himself that is what makes the person stand out among the crowd.