Fiction Narration Story

Happy Birthday!

The sun’s rays pierced through the plate-glass window of my flat, penetrating right into my eyes, rudely awakening me from my sleep. Mom used to constantly scold me for not sleeping facing the sun, years back when I was a child. Even though I used to disobey her back then, I started following every word of her advice, including this one, once I had moved away from home. My tummy rumbled as I slowly made my way out of bed. It had reason to be upset, for, it has been surviving on liquids for the past couple of days. I took a cursory glance at my watch to check the time, only to realize that it didn’t have a watch any more. It, along with my iPhone 4S now rested at a local shop, and had helped me survive the past couple of weeks. I fished my old Nokia  from underneath my pillow. It quietly announced that the time was 9.30 AM. Quite early, by my current standards. Nearly two months back, at the same time, I would be taking time off to enjoy the breathtaking view of Singapore, from my cabin in my company’s 24th floor office…

Those days were long gone. Life turned upside down overnight, thanks to a monster called recession. One night, I was partying with my friends at the Acid Bar, and the very next morning, I get the pink slip… Life does work in mysterious ways. Everyone was ‘shocked’ (at least, apparently so) by my exit from the company. I was billed as the rising star, the next in line to be the CEO. All those dreams were shattered, in a face-saving act by my boss, who decided to save his skin by putting all his blames on me. The damage was done; the black mark on my career was permanent. No other company would offer me a job, my boss had pulled his strings to ensure just that. The fighter that I was, I decided to fight back with a vengeance. In the past two months, I had knocked the doors of every consulting company that had its offices in the island-country. Their replies weren’t that disheartening though. All of them said, they would they ‘consider’ me, and that they would present my case in the forthcoming board meeting (which never happened). And whenever I called them back, they said they were still ‘considering’. Despite the failure of every ‘consideration’ – I never lost heart. I always believed in my values and in Krishna.

It seems that Lord Almighty too had left me out in the cold.

I noticed a blinking message icon on the top left of my Nokia. My inbox was full, thanks to SMS remainders from the bank, asking me to pay up the latest installment of my home loan. I never even bothered to open any of those messages – they are going to kick me out anyway. I should survive till then, somehow. While clearing the pending messages, the phone beeped. There were a couple of incoming messages. I shrugged and opened the latest text. Thank God, it wasn’t another ‘gentle reminder’. It was a text from her.

HBD. 🙂

It took me a second to decode the acronym.

And yet another, to remind me it was this day, 28 years back, that I was born.

She was the only person, apart from my mom, who religiously remembered my birthday. I never thought she would wish me on my birthday, even after we broke up last month. I was genuinely touched, and I badly wanted to reply, with a hundred :-* smileys’ to say that I still loved her with all my heart! Mom too must have tried to call me, only in vain. My mobile connection was quietly deactivated by Singtel last week. Thankfully, they still allowed incoming messages.

I could literally hear my tummy’s rumble this time. Must grab something. I did a quick search for my purse and found it exactly where I had left it: atop my shelf. I approached it with alacrity. I did remember seeing a $10 note last night. It was all what was left from the $600 I’d got from selling my iPhone and watch. It should get me something. SOMETHING. I opened the purse with expectation.

It was empty.

I checked again – I was damn sure that I did see the note inside. Hell, I literally survived on water and orange juice for the past couple of days, so that I could eat something solid today! That hope too was gone. I felt dizzy, probably from staying hungry. I quietly slumped down on the floor. The purse slid away from my hand and fell down. I could feel my head throbbing. I stared at my purse, which was flooded with $1000 notes at one time. It was months now since it saw even a $500. Suddenly, I noticed part of a red coloured paper jutting out from an inner-chamber, near my credit cards. I quickly took the purse and emptied my five hugely-overdrawn credit cards. I had the surprise of my life!

There, underneath the cards, lay a crumpled $100 note!

Snippets of memory started trickling in. I had kept that $100 note underneath my cards about six months back. My purse was so stacked with notes that there wasn’t any space to keep the $100 note I got as change from buying groceries. Left with no other option, I removed my Platinum Visa card and stuffed the note into that pouch, and had forgotten about it!

I thanked every God I knew for giving me the ultimate birthday gift!

I quickly ran, and changed into a shirt and a pair of jeans – prized possessions of mine, and rushed out of my flat. Despite having had nothing for the past couple of days, I managed to run as fast as I could to the nearest hotel – a Chinese restaurant next to my flat. My tummy craved for their delicious noodles, and I was about to eat like a king! Passers-by were staring at me, I was pushing my way through the crowd, fighting my hunger, desperate to enjoy my own birthday treat!

As I was about to into walk into the restaurant, panting, I felt a tug on my jeans. I turned to see a small girl, maybe 7-8 years old, pulling my jeans. She was a cute little child, looking at me with tears streaming down from her eyes. I leaned down, and ruffled her hair, like I normally do with kids.

“Hello darling! Why’re you crying?” I asked.

She pointed her fingers towards the hotel. Three muscular men, similarly dressed in waiters’ attire were running down the aisle pointing at the girl. One of the ran towards me, and grabbed the girl by her wrist, and started shouting at her in Mandarin. Another guy raised her hand and was going to slap her. I was alarmed. I quickly pulled the girl back from the ruffians and asked them what was wrong. Apparently, the girl, who was a beggar, had eaten from the restaurant and tried escaping without paying the bill. They were chasing the girl, who ran to me and hid behind me.

I tried reasoning with the ruffians, but they wouldn’t listen. Using my broken mandarin, I somehow convinced them that the matter could be settled, only if they would calm down.

“The girl ate noodles worth $85. We need her to pay up, or we’re going to the police.” one of them managed to speak in broken English.

I looked at the girl, who was now weeping. I saw myself in her. I would have probably done the same thing, if I hadn’t found the $100 note. And I’d probably end up in jail too, for stealing food. I didn’t want this little girl to end up in some dingy children’s home for a mistake any human in her situation would make. My tummy started rumbling louder. I decided to ignore it once again. Another day of liquids wouldn’t kill me, after all.

I paid the sole $100 note to the ruffians, who quickly went to the counter and gave me the change. I took the girl to an ice cream vendor nearby and bought her a chocolate ice cream for $15.  As she finished eating, I patted her and turned to walk back to my flat. As I was walking back, I heard a faint voice, saying “Happy Birthday”. Shocked, I turned back.

There girl had gone.

My tummy stopped rumbling.

P.S. Inspired from Vaikkom Muhammed Basheer‘s ‘Janmadinam’.

daily blunder Fun Narration Personal

Daily Blunder | ‘Brutally’ Honest

I know it’s been over a year and a half (or rather, a year and three quarters) since I wrote a proper ‘daily blunder’. Well, there wasn’t exactly a paucity of blunders in my life to go on a ‘blunder-break’, so to speak. I’ve a database of infinitely-huge blunders that I could well publish a book on it (which is actually in the pipeline as we speak). As you might’ve guessed by noticing the frequency of posts (or sheer lack of it) in this blog, I was on a major writer’s block. It was on the compulsion (read: death threat) of a very close friend, that I chose to come out of my cocoon. Read on, if you still haven’t left this page out of boredom. 😉

If there’s one city in India which I love (second only to my hometown, Trivandrum), it is Kochi. For those who haven’t heard about the city, it is the commercial capital of the state where I reside – Kerala (India). Well, in a narrow minded mallu point-of-view, there’s nothing to like about both Kochi and Trivandrum either, but somehow, I fell in love with the city, which has been my home for the past one month. Oh btw, I got a job in this busiest city of Kerala. It’s been a month since I joined, and I’m all the more thrilled at the prospect of getting paid to use Facebook (yes, you guessed that right, I’m the Social Media Manager. At this small but growing company called NT Global).

Oh, I digress. More on the job on yet another post. 😉

So, this happened about a couple of weeks before I joined NTG. I had come to Kochi on a leisure trip with a friend of mine, Vishnu. Kochi wasn’t a part of our original itinerary. Vishnu was in search of a proper meningitis vaccination, so that his admission to a major US university would be through. We searched every single hospital in each nook and corner of Trivandrum and Kochi for the vaccine, but to no avail. Finally, we zeroed in on the elusive vaccine at a leading hospital in Thrissur. Jobless back then, I too set forth on an unplanned trip to Thrissur with Vishnu to get his vaccination done. After nearly a month of harrowing search for the mysterious vaccine, Vishnu got vaccinated in merely 20 minutes, at this hospital. Glad that our job on hand got over unexpectedly-early, we decided to halt at Kochi, stay there that night, go mall-surfing (read: window-shopping) the very next day and then return.

The very next day, we geared up for some serious ‘mouth-looking’ (translate that to malluspeak, or ask your friendly neighbourhood mallu if you didn’t get that 😛 ). Both Vishnu and I are serious literary- aficionados. We read, or rather, consume, virtually every book under the sun (provided it is captivating enough to satisfy our momentary vicissitudes). So that fateful morning, we decided to hop into a decent book store to start our sojourn.

We walked into the nearest mall, and located its sole, medium-sized book store. Like predators munching on their prey, we consummately started feeding on our staple diet of books. We didn’t notice time flying, as we carefully selected authors of our choice, browsing eagerly through books, both famous and obscure, satiating ourselves. Before we knew it, our tummies started rumbling – it was lunch time. We picked a couple of moderately-priced books and proceeded to the counter. The man at the sales counter seemed glad that we had finally decided to purchase books – he thought we’d sit there for the entire day, browsing (not that we didn’t intend to do that, but our tummies protested!). Vishnu was short of money, so I offered to pay. I fished out my purse from my pocket  to pay for our books; the cost of both would come down to around Rs 450. I fished a 500 rupee note from my purse and placed it at the counter.


Suddenly, the phone at the counter rang. The salesman at the counter picked it up and started talking. It seemed that the person at the other end was his wife or girlfriend or something. Unmindful of our presence, he started a very cheesy tete-a-tete with his lady love. We were exasperated. We didn’t have all day to wait. We could virtually hear our tummies which were about to burst. Vishnu gave the counter-guy one of his typical glares, magnified through his high-power glasses. The man seemed to take note of the stare, and quickly interrupted his motormouth girlfriend and cut the call. He took the books from our hand, checked the price and announced:

“450 rupa aayi, sir.” (Please pay Rs 450, sir)

I gestured at the 500 rupee note I had placed on the counter. The counter-guy looked at me, puzzled.


I frowned and looked at the counter. My note was missing. Er… did I take that note from my purse and kept it on the counter, in the first place? I quickly rechecked my purse. At a quick glance, I notice that It had only one 500 rupee note and a few notes of 100. I had originally taken two 500 rupee notes from the ATM, or so I remembered, and one among them was missing. So obviously I had kept it on the counter. The counter guy had probably taken the note and shoved it to his safe.

“Njaan daa ippo paisa eduthu vachathe ullu. Kandille?”, I said. (“I’d just placed the money on the counter, didn’t you see?)

“Illa sir. Enikku… enikkormayilla…”, he replied. (Er…. No. I don’t remember, sir)

Vishnu came to my support:

“Alla, avan paisa eduthu vaykkunnathu njaanum kandathaa. Ningal eduthu counter il vachathaayirikkum,” (I saw him place the money on the counter. You must have absent-mindedly placed the note in the safe, accidentally)

The sales guy was scratching his head with the back of his pen. He opened the counter, checked the notes inside for a moment, thought for a while, and said:

“Ayyo, enikku orma illallo!” (Er… I don’t remember)

By now, I was sure that the counter guy was trying to con us. I politely convinced him that I did place the note on the table. Vishnu also went on to support me. After a few minutes of give and take, the counter guy finally agreed that I had indeed paid him. He apologized profusely for his mistake and gave me the balance amount of Rs 50. He neatly placed the books into a cover and handed it over to us, with a smile. We smiled back, and scooted from the place.

We decided to have lunch from the mall’s food court itself. It didn’t take a long time for us to finalize on our choice of food – noodles. The food court had a pre-paid system. You had to pay initially, and the food would be delivered within a short while. As I was opened my purse to pay, I had the shock of my life.

There, inside my purse, rested TWO 500 rupeee notes.

We had conned the book store. I didn’t pay them ANYTHING. We got the books for free!

If there’s one attribute I value more than anything else, it is honesty. I can’t say that I’m not a liar, but I try my level best not to lie/cheat. Pangs of guilt started attacking me. I had made a huge mistake – severe enough that the counter guy might even lose his job! 500 rupees was a huge amount in bookstore-lingo. I immediately shared my situation with Vishnu. He smiled.

“Buddy, I seriously think you need to give this a miss. We got a great deal man! We saved 500 bucks and got couple of good books for free. And we were paid 50 rupees too (the change) for accepting them. Cheers to us!”

I didn’t buy Vishnu’s reasoning. No sooner did we finish eating our lunch, I rode the escalator back to the first floor, and went to the book store. The counter guy saw me and smiled. He still didn’t realize that he was conned.

I gingerly walked up to him, and slowly made him aware of the situation, with apologies, weakly trying to conjure a smile. Surprisingly enough, the counter guy smiled. He said that such mistakes happen to everybody, and I was indeed a noble person to accept my mistake and promptly correct it. I paid him the 500 rupee note, profusely apologized once more and left the place with a lighter heart and a smile on my face. I had done a good deed, that day. God will reward me.

I reached home, late that night, by train.

The very next morning, I was rudely woken up by my mom. She was grumbling something. I drowsily opened my eyes, and vaguely tried to listen to what she was trying to say. Apparently, she had fished out an ATM receipt from my jeans pocket and was complaining about something related to that.

“… Mone, nee ingane paazhchelavu cheyyaruthu. 1500 rupa nee ATM il ninnum edutho? Ithream cash enthina eduthath? Ninakku paisa undennu karuthi ingane chelavakkaruthu. Save cheyyaan padikkanam…” (Son, don’t spend too much like this. You took a whopping 1500 bucks from the ATM? Why did you take so much money and splurge it? Don’t have the impression that you can spend like crazy cause you have money with you. You should start saving…)

My heart skipped a beat. Slumber left my eyes in a moment’s time. I grabbed the ATM receipt and looked at it again. It seems I had withdrawn 1500 rupees the day before. I had THREE 500 rupee notes with me, not two. I failed to notice the third note, which was kept in another chamber of my purse!! I didn’t make a mistake the other day, and I’d given an extra 500 rupee note to the book stall.

To cut a long story short, 500 rupees gone down the drain.

“Amma paranjathu shariyaa. Paisa sookshichu chelavakkanam”, I sighed. (Mom, what you said is true. I should start spending judiciously).

P.S. True story.



A good movie is intellectually stimulating. Especially, a Mani Ratnam flick. Fresh from watching ‘Kannathil Muthamittal’, I stifled a yawn and flopped onto the bed, thinking about the Tamil refugees of Sri Lanka, on which the award-winning movie was based on.

It was about 11PM. On a normal day, I’d be sleeping like a log by this time. I closed my eyes, with the soothing notes of ARR’s ‘Vellai pookkal’ giving me company. It was a long day. 3 movies at a stretch isn’t exactly good for your eyes. They were literally pleading for some much-needed rest. So was my body. My running nose, thanks to the cold I’d caught wasn’t helping either. It was time to embrace morpheus’s arms…

But, I didn’t.

The standard edition android clock silently proclaimed the time – 3.22 A.M. Nearly four and a half hours had passed since I hit the bed and the god of sleep was yet to bless me. Now, this is queer, for, I’ve never lost sleep in the past few years. Whatever be the day, sleep would be setting in by 10.30 and I’d be flat by 11. Today, something went wrong somewhere. Hmmm.

I went by all the rules in the book to get some sleep. Yes everything, from counting non-existent sheep to reciting the many names of Lord Arjun. Virtually all of them fell flat. Within a couple of hours, I’d see daybreak. I was bored and tired, but not sleepy.

How in the world would I sleep?

I groped in the dark and picked up my phone and started doing something which was my last ditch effort at getting some sleep – browsing through my phone’s contacts and messages. Now, I’ve over a thousand contacts in my phone, thanks to Sony Ericsson’s facebook sync. I usually filter out the FB contacts and just opt for the few 100 ones in the phonebook, but for some reason, FB sync was enabled.

Now, that’s odd. I clearly remembered disabling sync. Mainly cause I keep contacts with only a few close friends and I didn’t want my phone to be cluttered with numbers and emails of random acquaintances whose number stood at a whopping 2k.

Anyway, I gestured my thumb and the long list of contacts flowed down, name by name. Most of them were acquaintances, some were old friends. Each name brought in many memories – some worth cherishing, some forgettable. I gestured faster and the contacts scrolled down at a higher rate. I was barely noticing the contact names now, I just kept on flicking my finger. It went on and on, never seeming to end.

Soon, my thumb started paining from repeated exertion. I pressed my finger obliquely on the screen and the scrolling stopped. I lazily scanned the names of the 7 odd people who populated the display. There, I saw an image which took my breath away.

It was her.

The contact image showed a tall girl wearing a pink dress, sitting by a rock. It was a different image of the same girl which haunted me, 7 years ago. I used to be mad about her. I must have written umpteen letters to her, but ended up destroying all of them. Worse, I never had the guts to speak to her, despite having got the opportunity to see her every other day. Fate split us into separate ways and I never thought I’d get to see her again. I vaguely remember sending her a friend request, but had forgotten all about it. Apparently, she had accepted my friendship.

I was on cloud 9!

Eagerly, I pressed my thumb on her photo just to have a closer look at that face which used to haunt my dreams. I had the surprise of my life when her contact details became available.

She had listed her phone number in FB!!

Memories started trickling in… I clearly remembered requesting, nay, begging our mutual friends for her number. I never got yes for an answer. Now there it was, right in my mobile, saved in my phone’s contacts. I made a mental note to thank Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s dubious privacy settings, (which made her phone number public, albeit unknowingly).

Wasting no more time, I dialled her number!

It was 4.23 AM, and she’d probably be snoring off. Not that I cared. Something told me that she’d pick up. Within ten seconds after dialling, the phone started ringing. My heart beat seemed to be in sync with the soft whirring ringback tone. If she picked up, would she get to hear my heartbeat, I wondered. As each second passed, I waited with bated breath for the sound which, for me, was sweeter than M.S. Subbulakshmi’s mellifluous cadence…

The phone rang, and rang, and rang. Exactly 47 seconds later, the whirring sound stopped. A clipped voice announced in Tamil something which was self explanatory, the customer I was trying to reach wasn’t answering.

My heart sank. I should’ve known better. Nobody but me would be awake at this time, on a Monday morning. She’s to go to work and probably her shift starts at 11, a useful piece of info shared by my friend who used to be her co-worker.

Dejected, I pushed my phone away and closed my eyes. I suddenly felt tired, my eyes felt heavy. Morpheus seemed pleased with my giant leap of faith and blessed me finally. Within ten minutes, I was fast asleep.

I woke up to the sound of the famous Sony Ericsson jingle. I drowsily fished for my phone, unlocked it and placed it by my ear.

“Hari?” an unusually-sweet female voice queried.
“Yes?” I replied, still half asleep.
“I felt so happy to see your call.”
“Uh. Huh,” I was still groggy. Part of my mind was trying to place the voice while part of me was coaxing me to get back to sleep.
“In fact, in fact, I have been
expecting this call for over seven years. ”
That sentence jolted me back to reality.
“Only if you’d called me a month back…”
My heart skipped a beat. Shaking off my sleep, I quickly asked:
“Who is this?”
“I’m sorry, I should’ve told you about it before…


Bloody hell. My phone got switched off! But I didn’t need any more guesses to know that it was her. I quickly fetched the charger from my bag, and somehow managed to switch the phone on. What was she saying? Why did she say that I should have called her earlier?  I called her back. To make things worse, her phone too was switched off…

What was all that? Was it a dream? No the call was real. It was from her number alright; at least the number that FB said was hers. I tried calling that number all day. I even sent her a few texts, to no avail. Her phone remained switched off. I couldn’t focus on anything that day. What was she trying to convey to me?

Later that day, I logged into FB and checked her profile. The familiar pink clad display pic greeted me with a smile. My heart melted at that smile. I took a closer look at her photos. She wasn’t as pretty as she was, back then. But still she was beautiful, even ravishing. I scrolled down to see more of her photos. Suddenly, my heart stopped.

She was sitting along with a guy on a stage. She looked really pretty, and happy too. The guy was also beaming.

Her engagement photos.

I quietly clicked the back button and opened her timeline. “Good to see that you’re getting hitched. Congrats. Really happy for you both!”, I posted.

A blatant lie.

I slept soundly that night.

P.S. Based on a true story, reported live.

Narration Viewpoint

A Reporter’s Diary

For a while, Journalism was my dream career.

It all started with ‘We the people’ – the famous talk show from NDTV 24×7.  I started watching the show on my English teacher’s recommendation. Barkha had a lot in common with DP, or so felt my twelfth-grader-self. Like  every other hat-tip from the teacher, I took her words seriously. Soon, I was hooked into the show. The way Barkha interacted with the audience, the way she carried herself and the way she articulated… only a journalist could put herself across that way. I wanted to be like Barkha.

The adulation for Barkha had me worshipping Prannoy Roy himself. Without realizing the fact, I was gradually getting addicted to television journalism. From Anderson Cooper to Larry King, from Spencer Kelly to Rajiv Makhni, from Rajdeep Sardesai to Arnab Mukherji, from Nikesh Kumar to Venu; I knew (and respected) them all.

By the end of 2006, even as I deliberately fell prey to the booby-trap named ‘Engineering’, I yearned to be one among my idols. I wanted to be a a journalist.

Before I knew it, Engineering was over and I was as clueless (and jobless) as I were before joining Engineering. Even the CAT dream – which kept me alive for long, went awry. That was when the idea of journalism shone before me once again. A job offer from the fast-growing regional-web-portal beckoned me with both arms. The pay wasn’t great – even call center employee friends of mine made more. Not that I cared. Miniscule as it was, I wanted the pay. I had the occasional expense to take care of, and it was far more than what I needed.

Before I knew it, I’d  become a reporter.

As the proverbial cliche goes, I swept cleaner than the average-new-broom. I knew for one that it would take years to sculpt a Prannoy Roy. At least I was doing what I was passionate about; I was writing to my heart’s content. Google Analytics said that 20% of this web portal’s viewers were from America, Europe and the Gulf Countries. The world read what I wrote.

My first news story was about the absence of buses plying through a particular route in the city. I researched a lot for my first story. Reticent by nature, I struck up a conversation with as many people as I could, for ‘perspective’. From autodrivers minting money from the situation to schoolchildren directly affected by it, I spared no one in my quest for the ‘perfect story’. At the end of the day, I offered myself a smile as I noticed my story adorn the front page in the web portal.

I loved my job. My coworkers were the best I could ask for, fun-loving and friendly. Office politics was unheard-of. Everybody was friends with each other. We even had a ‘Chief Fun Officer’, who would be in charge of fun-activities, planning many a lighter moment. I adored fellow-members of my editorial. Our editor was a man with the heart of gold. They were like my siblings. We would even hang out after a long day’s work, discussing life, politics and literature over cups of tea.

We had the weekly editorial meeting where each of us discussed our stories. Our accolades were explained to us, and our mistakes were pointed out. It was a learning experience with a difference. The editor’s words evoked a feverish passion in us; it was his call for us to go that extra mile. Many of us followed suit, the others faced the music.  Each of us had our respective ‘beats’. We would write stories about the particular beat, on days assigned to us. Meeting deadlines was the key. Then there was number of stories — we had to write a certain number of stories a month. Explanation would be sought for, if the deadline was not kept. If you strive and set the bar high for your peers, good for you. You stand the chance of getting an appraisal. It was competitive world out there.

Quoting my editor, I was the quintessential ‘armchair journalist’ — a term I learned to loathe. I hated large public gatherings — I was always left solitary in the crowd. The lack of a vehicle proved an obstacle to travel to places far and wide, for reporting.  I found myself in a spot. Despite efforts from my part, I couldn’t arrange a vehicle every time, and that had me relying on buses. I learned the bitter lesson that a story ceases to remain a story, once it has passed its time. Journalism for me was a race against time. If there was a function or a meeting, I had to rush to the venue in a jiffy. I had to fish out my (dysfunctional) camera and click pictures (The portal trusted the photographic skills of us, poor reporters). I had to filter relevant points from truckloads of crap; I had to find points amid mindless rhetoric.

Who said Journalism was an easy job?

Each journalist carries a bulky-baggage of responsibilities and expectations. In these days of new media, anyone can be a journalist; you just need to have a solid eye and a strong pen. But the buck does not end there. The challenge lies in putting across what you see/hear to the masses. A journalist weaves the story for a reader. How/What the reader perceives depends on how the journalist puts it across – the responsibility is tremendous, I realized. Journalism is all about getting yourself noticed. If you didn’t have it, you lost it. What? The eyeballs.

All good things must come to an end. I’d had my share of journalism, and it was time to move on. As I walked out of my (erstwhile) office, collecting my last paycheck, I did feel that smack of pain — the pain of eventuality, the pain of leaving something you love…

I miss being a journalist.

But I’m a writer. NOT a journalist.