Ever since I can remember, I loved putting pen to paper. As a five year old living in the small town of Kisumu in Kenya which is known for its fish, I would write poems in Hindi, an Indian language that I picked up from watching Bollywood films, as well as English. This would then transform into performances I would act out for my father who always enjoyed it and encouraged me. We later moved to the capital, Nairobi, where I currently dwell.
As I grew older, I began to keep “Secret diaries” where I would write entries about every day things. At the age of eleven, I would write about all my days, but as I grew older, about one entry a year kept my hard backed friend posted on the major changes in my life. I came across my entries from the time I was eleven till last year, while I was cleaning out my old school books. Words cannot express the feeling of nostalgia and amusement which I experienced while reading through each and every entry, literally watching myself grow year by year, yet recognizing the familiar voice coming through the words from every page. It was like meeting an old friend and catching up on all that has happened till date in their life.
While I was in high school, my outlet for any pent up feelings was poetry. Whether it was about my first crush or peer pressure, and all things in between, there is a severely emotional poem about it in my log!
When the time came to pick my career path I felt like a deer caught in headlights, with everyone expecting a suitable answer when they asked me the most dreaded question a student can be asked: “So, what do you want to do now?” If only “I don’t know” could have stopped the flow of questions that followed. I woke up with the ambition of becoming a lawyer one day, to a psychologist the next. Some days I was a model and other days, a marine biologist. Zooming between a physiotherapist and a financial analyst became somewhat of a hobby. Really, there is no hyperbole in these statements I promise!
Eventually, it hit me in the face. It had been there all along. I wanted to be a Journalist. It took several sleepless nights, nagging questionnaires, inner soul search, yoga sessions, long walks and much more for the thing that was in front of me all along to hit me smack in the middle of my face. I was a dealer of words, a weaver of stories, a creative soul. Who was I kidding? I would probably need a financial analyst after drowning in debt from all the law suits filed against my terrible handling of psychological cases. I do dabble in the modeling though which is fun.
Today, I am a second year student, pursuing a B.A in Journalism and a daily show Radio Presenter with some direction in life. I say some because there are just so many choices in life and I am clearly an indecisive human being. While congregating at a hall a couple of weeks back for prayers, I met an old school mate who is studying Economics. A remark she made stayed in my head for days to come.
“Oh, you can write stories to keep us entertained.”
Believe it or not, I think I can write to educate, inform, create awareness, spur a change, influence policy makers and “entertain” too. Journalism seems to rank on a lower level in the hierarchy of careers, which like medieval England, seems to have Medicine at the top with the monarchs, while English majors are subjected to the peasant position at the absolute bottom of the chain.
Obviously, I too was apprehensive when thinking about the “death of print” as the media deemed it. But, magazines and newspapers may be reducing in number only because the words are now travelling from the paper in our hands to the screens on our laps. That is just one facet of the vast Journalistic profession which I was surprised to find has such a great multitude of diverse facets. Paper backs are being produced as e-books. Major media networks are tweeting about the headlines. It’s a revolution, not a funeral. I certainly still plan on writing and publishing my poetry. Maybe a movie script too. A novel is on the agenda as well. I believe as long as I have words to give, there is always someone who will read them, no matter what media they use to do so.
Sincerely hoping this was entertaining enough. If not, well then there is always the comics section. Remember Charlie Hebdo? If simple satire can spur such an outrage of emotions and a global campaign to protect freedom of expression, imagine just how much mere, little words can really do.