Category Archives: change

Being the change i want

Mahatma Gandhi had once said become the change you want. I decided this year that it will be 5 years since i’ve worked with DNA, my longest stint so far. This would be the final year if i’d be compelled to cut my cake. (I took off to the jungles to see tigers so was spared that public cake cutting embarassment). I’d decided i HAD to get a better, more paying job than at DNA. I had reached my maximum, had done well & want to do something more.

To achieve this i worked to believing that i HAD to change…i must. New look (new hair cut), new belief, assertion

Well, i have a strong belief after i once read years ago a comment fm a very senior journalist in the west. “After working for over 10 yrs in the industry and that too with ethics, all you get is a watch or clock…wc costs peanuts to the company.” So i kept this statement in my mind.

I would not stay more than 3 yrs on an average. I experimented, risked shuttling between different mediums & languages. I switched from Broadcast to print at a time i wanted to take stock of my career & self. I needed a grip on my health, life & the innane work i was doing. I was NEVER trained to be a ‘byte-taking’ journalist. But realised i didn’t fit in the current scheme of things. Wc was temporary, byte oriented.

My dear friend J was keen i switch to prove i still have the mettle. I am formidable journo that he knew of me….so he asked if i’d join DNA. i’d avoided the newspaper like hell. Some people i didn’t want to work with I wasn’t sure if i wanted the same daily nonsense. I wanted time to write good stories, do good investigative work & have some fun in the profession that i had CHOSEN…to work passionately.

SO the best kind of work i got to work for the weekend issue. Take a good responsible position & got that much of work too. I was given the free hand to do specials. It is not frequently that a journalist gets a byline in the launch issue and i got it! Besides got a front page byline for 3 consecutive issues from launch. So i’ve actually achieved all that a journalist can dream of!

Got to do some really good specials, cover stories. Moreover had editors who pushed me took pleasure in pushing myself, increasing my benchmark & most of all stood by me…they showed faith in me. They heard me out if i said there was some story or news wc needed to be highlighted. They also wanted the best from their staff.

times they r a changin’ as Louis Amstrong sang….now its time to leave a place where many of us had big dreams for DNA. They instilled faith in us & made us believe we will be doing something different. We would create a newsy new paper. Well we weren’t off target. But we made mistakes, of hiring, constant change, confusion with whats news or not, presuming on behalf of our reader, constantly sending mixed signals. Besides constantly changing bosses…that is a trend wc this organisation management needs to get rid off. This is a menace wc has caused more harm than good.

Now that was NEVER part of my package deal or contract that i will be compelled to adjust to a new boss every 6 months. TO re-prove myself, talent, news sense. NO. Sorry bosses who have their own favourites, likes dislikes, yes boss types. I must’ve NOT liked most of those bosses but my commitment to my job was never less than 100%. But there is a limit. A point of “this is it….can’t take more…” that’s where i reached.

But instead of getting into the negativity i decided to make the changes within. Im glad i did it. went to the jungles, saw tigress who sealed my decision to quit! “If its tiger, its change,” said Jaideep my pal… & I quit where ever the paths take me i will go….

Changing soles, NOT souls! This is being objected?

Now first things first. Nearly 2 and half a years ago I picked a lovely abso fab pair of Woodlands sandals. These are tan coloured leather floaters. They look SMART.. but yes the fine print here is they are NOT ladies sandals.

The problem is with my feet. They are flat, something I learnt of after I was already over 22 years old. What to do. My basketball coach made me remove my shoes & then informed me how I could’ve run for so many years without using corrective foot wear. What to tell him? Later my old childhood pal Shruti’s doc pal laughed her lungs out when I told her I would fall frequently & I had NO clue that I was born with flat feet. This she said was the ‘key’ symptom. Especially since it was in our Kolhatkars genes….

My Hitler (baba) would NEVER believe me despite the fact that I kept falling & ma feet ached. He always believed I only came up with ‘lame’ excuses to avoid exercise. We were an exercise, running obsessed family! Yes my sister still carries this torch…she runs..i tell her to do so on my behalf. Most would never believe my reasons coz i’m considered epitomy of laziness.

Yet I did well in athletics & basketball. I would fall frequently. I had twisted my ankle umpteen number of times, with all sorts of fractures. Normal cracked bone to hairline..had to run despite it. Knee downwards i have scars that will remain for 2 lives! The orthopaedist advised all sorts of things, but I always went to the bone setter first…then eventually to correct the water in my knees I went to the most handsome sports doc..Dr Anant Joshi, US returned. Loved to visit him…later he was Tendulkar’s other famed ones doc. but even he never told me I had flat feet!

So after many yrs when I learnt of it fm my coach…..There after this was my open secret. Then it dawned on me why I could NEVER wear the ladies shoes, heels & more stilettos. This has been life’s fascination! I envied my flying cousin coz according to me she had world’s best feet & stilettos. So began wearing flats all my life.

Then I began wearing medical arches. Every shoe or sandal I bought I had to give to the medical surgical store. Yeah it gets darn expensive..but its good to take care of one’s own feet. In addition the use of a pillow under my neck stopped! Began placing it under my feet. This was the best decision! It’s such a relief I can’t tell u. so this further restricted the choice of footwear I could wear.

Now coming to these lovely sandals…at the beginning of June 2005 I bought these lovely pair of Woodland’s sandals. I had to literally worship them for 3 months. Besides being expensive, it was monsoon time & the salesman had Warned me not a drop of water should touch these sandals! Lo kar lo baat…anyways…kept it safely for three months.

Eventually in two years I used these sandals sparingly….I do think that most of us have plenty of shoes. Keds, sports shoes, walkers, floaters, special occasion foot wear, etc, etc. Even me who would use sparingly has quite a few no of shoes. Imagine as many no of arches I’ve to get inserted!

In all this maize I realised that my fav pair Woodland sandals have suddenly begun showing the sponge that gave the sandal its soft feel. The soles were ripping apart! Good was a strange thing to happen I thot. I tried to hold it with the Favi-Quick that can stick even cement! But not the soles of these sandals…I was depressed to say the least.

So I took the sandals & went to Woodlands in the first week of March. Yes, no less a time. I got a run down fm the sales manager who ofcourse was an idiotic Maharashtrian who told me how rains were over long ago & the sandals should have been used more often! I do not think these Marathis make good salesmen..they do NOT. Coz in service the customer is the queen –coz I am a woman -but these guys don’t know how to behave or talk with customers.

They took the sandals, gave me a parchi –receipt- & even noted my cell number. These rascals were to call & tell whether they can repair my sandals…this till May it never happened. Eventually I called them & asked whether my sandals were ready…were they repairable at all? They claimed to have wrongly torn the receipt so my cell number was not wt them, they took a while to confirm my receipt..eventually they said it was ready!

My heart skipped a beat. U mean the soles were changed & sandals new as ever? The man mumbled a faint yes.. Looked sadly at me i think. Coz no one must be coming to get their soles changed. Eventually I went to Woodlands at the Parel factory outlet (where I had deposited them). They as usual twice tried to confirm whether they were my sandals, despite showing & handing over the receipt…they shuffled around some dark room then after a few hrs they appeared. The good part of these people killing time was I saw a young actor supposedly married with a PYT. He looks good & wore a cap to disguise (poorly done) himself….

Just then a journalist frnd called on my cell. We were to meet & asked what i was upto. I told him I was in woodlands & he thought I’d got a bonus. I explained that i’d come to get the soles replaced. He’s fm a tabloid paper, Mumbai Mirror…For like 5 min he laughed his laughter piercing thru’ the cell. Then informed me I am a subj for news in their paper. He said in this era of wear & throw, I may be the rare odd one to get the soles of sandals changed! “Today no one does that neeta” he told me assertively. Well I ofcorz i know, me too asserted…since people are changing their ‘souls’ they mind someone changing the soles! im only changing the soles of my sandals, to which ofcourse my literary challenged journalist decided to fix the meeting place and disconnect.

I paid thru’ my nose for this pairof sandals wc I simply love. If changing soles can extend it shelf life why not? I haven’t done anything extraordinary or something that is archiac. Plus since when did I care for what people said? Later in the evening I met another senior journo frnd who laughed his stomach off saying no one changes their soles today neeta! I mean who decides what one should if it is within the legal & ethical framework? Who determines time line for what can be done or not or simply for being different or more so for making sensible choices?

Well I’m really thrilled to bits of having changed the ‘soles.’ I have extended the life of my sandals & not added more to the degeneration of the environment…but more than anything I get to wear my fav sandals more often!


They say change is essential & required for each one’s growth. Now i know i love change. May be there was a time i was scared of change, because usually in journalism ‘change’ most definitely meant that worse was coming one’s way.

Tha meant -the most insecure boss was to take over, more recent during the internet boom or rather bust-up time, the venture was to close, or even mroe likely the venture will NEVER be taking off, et al.. also change for us indicated either cutting off powers or basically something really bad!

This is no exaggeration. We all would huddle around together expressing our alarm. If it was change of boss then all would run to the current one & ask wassup? What’s this change? Invariably one was told “This is a change, you must accept it & it doesn’t NOT reflect on ur performance.”

Now i’ve never understood why the change in management’s mood should ever reflect on the working of a small fry like me or anyone else. It obviously meant a change in the minds of the management, or reflection of the boss’s performance. But at least in Indian journalism never has a boos been able to articulately tell honestly or accept the fact that ‘change’ has nothing to do with the middle level staff. But bosses have never ever dealt it properly.

Then comes our functioning or working that can change. This invariably means our responsibility is snatched, plainly put. There is always an environment of bitterness, fear among the middle rungs. Nowadays change can be more pervasive & ruthless. This trend is seen at not only lower & middle levels but even top levels. These trends show change…then i really doubt when they say change is for better.

We still have people/bosses carry their extra baggages. Many carry a feudal legacy…many still biases against castes, communities & more so against us women. Many don’t seem to leave their small-town mentality & are just simply coniving & willing ‘at any cost.’ They have made compartments in their minds about women/girls & expect us to fit in it…basically simply give in. These ofcourse are NOT extended to the women in thier lives -like wives, mothers, sisters, or even mistresses..i strongly believe many are plain insecure, but by then the damage is done.