The dialogue “Main apni favourite hoon”, which Kareena Kapoor’s Geet cheerfully declares in ‘Jab We Met’, still resonates with me. I too am my own favourite. I love myself. Whoever has said, “Love yourself first, because that’s who you will be spending your life with”, is a genius according to me!
As far as I can remember, even as a little girl in pigtails, I used to preen in front of the mirror, seeing a princess that I was, presiding over my imaginary court. Being the eldest helped, lording over my siblings gave me a singular pleasure that was hard to equal. My younger brothers were my footmen and they had to do all my bidding.
To my mother’s exasperation, I continued to be in love with myself as I entered my teens. Things took a volatile turn as a precocious sixteen years old, loving myself added a new dimension to my multi-faceted personality. Always the centre of the eye in school, I now discovered “boys”. Then there was no looking back. Believing myself to be truly ‘irresistible’ to boys, I merrily went about handing over my favours with little thought to kindness.
Life settled in cruise control. Not very academically inclined ever, I continued to cause minor tremors for the family. My brothers always the ‘studious nerds’, were quoted as examples (younger to me, mind you!) for me to follow. I am sure my parents must have often wondered whether I had inadvertently got exchanged at the hospital after birth! I stood out like a strawberry in a bowl of peas in my over achieving academic family.
College for me meant cutting classes, friends, canteen with its oily bread pakoras and overtly sweet ‘chai’, proxy attendances, dubious Chinese food and last but not the least movies! With stars in my eyes, I with my supreme self confidence saw my name shining bright on the marquee and dreamt of seeing my name in the credits of my first movie.
Well, that remained just that, a dream! Graduating in English with decent grades much to my parents’ (and mine too) surprise, the family woke up to the fact that I had what it takes and the genes may true blue nerdy; though, buried somewhere deep inside me. Much deliberations on my future ensued everyday over dinner around the round dining table, with me rejecting most of their suggestions, which mainly featured more studying and weakening eye sight in the bargain! Who needed specs on the cusp of starting a new exciting turn in life? Finally, after much back and fro, I was gently steered towards a career in journalism, which instantly appealed to me. I saw myself excelling as an investigative journalist, using stealth and spy cams to unravel the truth and bringing the guilty to book. Getting admission in the prestigious IIMC with students national and international sealed the deal.
Self-love though most of the times is dangerous as it leads to a massive bloated ego with a know all attitude, and generally being disgruntled with the world; in my case, it was just the opposite. Confident and cheerful, I dived into a course that I had no clue about with my ever-optimistic belief in my capabilities and emerged with a distinction a year later.
So, duly armed with my weapons, (degree, qualification) I set forth on the uncharted path with my usual enthusiasm. I lost no time in applying everywhere on Delhi’s Mecca for journalists, the Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, where all the national dailies had their offices (in circa@84, at least) cheek by jowl. With supreme self-confidence in my abilities, I aced all the interviews (in my mind!) and it was just a matter of time when I landed my first job. Soon I was in the thick of things and true to my nature, even as a rookie reporter, I was straining at the leash to cover crime beats rather than mundane city news.
My chance came soon enough , when the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguards in the early hours on 31st October, 1984.With adrenalin pumping in my blood, I rushed to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences(AIIMS), conveniently very near my house and was amongst the first to report from there. Much to my parents’ dismay (and maybe some amount of pride), I was not seen by the family over the next few days as soon with my usual ardour I was out there in the middle of action, reporting the aftermath from the frontlines, so to speak!
Thus, my career as a journalist took off with a bang and then there was no looking back. I have always known that my faith and confidence in myself has stood me good stead and given me the push in the right direction whenever I was at the crossroads of life. Being in love with myself was and has been my weapon to take on this world and its peculiarities. As someone wise once said, “To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness”. This has been my guiding mantra in life, and I think I have done well for myself, don’t you agree?