Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Keth Notes

It's only been a month since I started reporting in India, but that's enough to know that every 1000-word article comes with a second story -- a much longer adventure best chronicled in patience, sweat and possible tears.

Behind that quote from a local politician, for example, is hours of waiting, droves of leering men, cups of chai served in direct proportion to visible frustration, and several fights with auto rickshaw drivers that charge vastly different fares for the same exact distance.

There are children to be played with, traffic jams like you've never seen, and interviews that start and end with incredible home-cooked meals of fish and rice and spicy daal. There is traveling in 106 degrees and choking pollution. And women -- amazing, brilliant women with silent strength in their narrow shoulders, sturdy steps and ability to do anything in a sari.

Reporting is not easy anywhere, I assume, if you do it right, but this is a whole new world. Gone are my days of calling up a congressman's press office, of knowing exactly where to find reliable data and measuring time with a clock. I've replaced it, instead, with a struggle to balance constant adjustment and a stubborn fight to get what I need, against the odds.

Journalism to me has always been about discovery and new voices, but this might be the first time that I feel completely at mercy of the world around me. Luckily, the world tells much better stories than I  ever could, so all I have to do is show up.

No comments: