Grateful for the opportunity to wish my 84 year old publisher, on his birthday. He was my first boss. I was 18 years old . I spoke to him after 20 years . I was in college when I started working as a reporter with a neighbourhood newspaper in Madras . My first start up #thread
It was Annanagar Times for those familiar with Madras . It had not launched then . We were just two of us , college students and we would go to our “office “ in Annanagar after class and spend three hours everyday learning how to scout for local news and then write the stories.
The editor moved away after training us to launch a another paper and it was left to us - two college girls to bring out the issue. It was my first experience in media ironically . I didn’t think then it would become a career and I would one day become a VP of a media company
Well it wasn’t like working in a big newspaper office but we were thrilled when local bodies like metro water or corporation would send us press releases and invite us for conferences . I was on the crime beat , would visit the local police station and was friends with the cops
ANT taught me the nuances of storytelling. From celebrating local heroes to featuring fascinating people to reporting on local news and views, I wrote several stories .
I was with them for almost three years . They paid me well too , from Rs 300 to Rs 1500 a month .
Slowly the team grew and today all the “cub reporters” and sales guys who worked with us have amazing careers in media and are part of the senior management in corporate jobs . Something to say about the foundation we got so early in our lives and we are grateful for it
I learnt so many life lessons too . For all the solo travels and adventures that I have had later in life , I confess that I grew up very sheltered. My life was cocooned around my home . My school was opposite my house. I would get lost if I ventured out of the few streets
I was not comfortable in public buses and AnnaNagar was not anywhere close home . While my friend gave me company from college , I would return home alone and would panic . I got lost in neighbourhoods and would be scared. My mother would wait if I was late by even 10 mins .
ANT taught me to get out of my comfort zone . It taught me to speak to strangers and listen to their stories . It taught me the nuances of a start up as the responsibility of bringing out a newspaper was on us every week . And it taught me to be a professional all my life.
I wrote on the 20th anniversary of ANT on my blog a few years ago. It’s also special as Anna Nagar was the first area that I knew beyond my own home and walking along the streets looking for stories made me the traveller and storyteller that I am today .…
That’s me during my ANT days .Found this in one of my old archives
And this is me from a trip to Mahabalipuram with the gang during the ANT days - one more sepia tinted memory from the archives

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