Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. Musings from someone who sees stories everywhere.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

swinging into the sixties

Life begins at 60 for veteran journalist and author Kalpana Sharma. A widely respected senior journalist with The Hindu, Kalpana's column on gender issues has a nationwide fan following. Kalpana is looking forward to a life of new freedom as she retires as the Mumbai bureau chief of The Hindu at the end of

This fiesty lady, who looks not a day over forty says," I'm not retiring from journalism. I'll always remain a
journalist. And am looking forward to starting my career as an independent

She shared her thoughts in a friendly get-together with twenty of us Network of Women in Media Bangalore members on
Tuesday, May 22, at a cozy little cafe. "Being sixty is a landmark but also just another year
in the life of a journalist who can't stop being one!" she told us amid rounds of applause.

It was a cozy and cheerful affair, the gang of ladies wishing Kalpana a happy birthday and a long innings ahead.

We had a lot to learn as we listened to Kalpana's recollections of a 34-year-old
career that began at 'Himmat' That small but respected magazine stood up to the Emergency of the Seventies and press censorship. And in those dark days of modern Indian history, even major, "mainstream" newspapers
bent before the powers that be.

"We experienced first hand the pressures and pulls
of State oppression," she reminisced.

Kalpana is a born mentor, and she aims to have more time to spare for budding scribes in the days ahead. "When we
started out at Himmat, our seniors took time out to train us," she said,
She also plans to update her book on Dharavi and quite naturally has more
book ideas in the pipeline. Interestingly, she also wants to catch up with the people about whom she wrote in her famous 'Gender Perspective'column, and follow up the case studies.

Best of all, this eminent journalist is a well-rounded personality with a cheery smile and a hearty laugh. Age can never wither this evergreen lady. She's off on a lecture tour in berkley before returning to

"Now skepticism is reducing," Kalpana said. She feels that routine news reports are becoming more common these days. People don't always stop to ask deeper questions. She encourages young journalists to probe further, do full justice to the subject and refrain from sensational reporting. "Even the camera can be manipulated...sensational old footage can be shown." She is totally against "opinion being manufactured."

Things like SMS polls, so popular with the media today, gives the opinons of a small, unrepresentative section of society, she feels.

We celebrate this lady's 'coming of age' as an independent journalist. While infusing her circle with life and verve, may she continue to keep an eagle eye on the media and see that it fulfils its role as watchdog.