Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Remember, remember, 26th of November

It’s been a year, and I still remember every single detail as if it was yesterday. November 26, 2008, was the day I realised the thrill of being in a newsroom.

My journalism teacher once said: "Bad news is good news for us." Inhuman, you would say. But that is a fact. The otherwise sloppy office of the business paper for which I work turned literally abuzz with real updates of copies during the evening of that fateful Wednesday, and the three days that followed. All spoke of only the death toll of soldiers, terrorists and civilians.

The first visual I saw was the TV grab showing the shooting at Leopold Cafe. Then, news agency tickers began to stream in. 10 dead, VT station attacked; 20 dead, Oberoi under siege; 30 dead, attackers enter Taj... My paper, which always winds up before midnight, was active till 3 in the morning.

The report was re-written umpteen times before finalising the death toll at 70. Picture of the terrorist who was shooting at VT station was ditched because we had no confirmation about it. Next day, almost all newspapers had that face, which became later the face of terrorism: Kasab.

We went to sleep thinking that the operation would be over by next morning. It didn’t happen. India stood still for the next three days.

Fierce incidents have happened before in our country, but this was the biggest that had happened after visual media was infested by private players. Print and internet were far behind in competition. Journalists, including me, was literally celebrating the event, while general public, including my family, was mourning; praying.

Sad, but true. November 26, 2008, was the day I realised the thrill of being in a newsroom.

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