Recording 45 years of Journalistic Experience
By B Sudharsan
Published: 03rd January 2015
Photo : Albin Mathew
CHENNAI: You hardly come across books on journalism in which authors expound their individual work. And hardly do you find an entire chapter dedicated to topics like letters to the editor, humour and satire in books like these. But journalist-cum-author N Meera Raghavendra Rao’s sixth book Journalism – Think Out Of The Box, which was launched in the city recently, comes out to be one that doesn’t fit into the usual ‘box’. “I give my own examples, that is my USP,” says Meera, speaking to CE about the book that is meant to motivate and inspire students of print journalism, budding journalists and freelance writers. “I find authors giving examples from lives of others. I have taken examples from my published work. That’s the real feather in my cap,” she adds.
While the book comprises Meera’s contributions to leading national dailies and magazines, it isn’t a compilation of her letters or articles as such. “This book is my journey of 45 years, starting with my letter, which appeared in Femina in 1969, to the present,” she says. “But it’s not a compilation of my articles. This book is more of a companion to my second book Feature Writing. This is a handbook,” she adds.
And what was the inspiration behind the book? “It’s the people,” says Meera, who has a post graduate in English Literature and diploma in journalism. “I am a people’s person. I feel that people are able to relate to what I write,” she says. And lest we think she doesn’t derive inspiration from writers or other books, she adds, “But I do read whatever I’m interested in. I love humour. I feel that even the most serious situation can be converted to a humorous one. Grin and bear is my policy,” adds the owner of justlies.wordpress.com.
The book with nine chapters written in simple, lucid English has diverse topics ranging from reporting to travel writing to blogging weaved into it. “All my books are different from the other. So are the chapters in this book,” says Meera. “I think I was the first person who came up with interview-based articles,” she claims. “In fact, most of the stories I used to do were completely offbeat and something that no one would have ever thought about,” she adds.
Ask her to explain about the kind of wacky stories she used to come up with and she lets on with a smile, “Most of my articles are drawing room conversations in hush-hush tones that no one would dare to write about.”
And elaborating on the kind of ideas she used to get from day-to-day life, she says, “I came up with a story on how one’s occupation influences one’s personality. I got the idea from an article which appeared in a magazine titled, ‘Are you at odds with your personality’. I did a story on whether the very concept of platonic friendship was indeed a reality. These were offbeat topics, and this is what thinking out of the box is all about!”
Well, and it’s not just the stories that are unusual. A part in her book has two tigers conversing! That’s pretty outlandish… Is it not?
Journalism – Think Out Of The Box is priced ` 200 and published by Palaniappa Brothers.