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     Volume 4 Issue 1 | June 25, 2004 | 8th Anniversary Issue


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Pages of my life with SWM

Imran H. Khan

Life is how you live it. Sometimes it is a smooth journey to enjoy with moments to cherish and savour. Then there are times when it seems cruel, when one feels all alone and questions why things are the way they are. In the end, it all sums up to nothing. "…all sound and fury, signifying nothing," as Shakespeare so aptly put it. The events, the people, the moments, all simply give us different chapters, different pages…pages of one's life…my life. SWM is not simply a place of work; it's also a place where I hang out and chill. Amidst anguishing workloads and deadlines, there are times that make working not only fun, but memorable too.

First day of work. I am suited and booted to the max. Smelling strongly of Old Spice to add maturity to my tender years, I brave the guard downstairs and venture towards my new world. I am quickly taken to Aasha apa who, as usual, is buried deep in paperwork. I keep my expectations low and a smile pasted on my face, wondering why a prestigious magazine like the SWM, would employ a novice like me? Aasha apa smiles. She has yet to answer my question.

Saturday afternoons: The relief of handing in the piece, and the pleasure of knowing that no more submissions are required for a week.

Iftar at office. In my never ending quest to please my colleagues, I brave the pre-iftari traffic to try to get the best halim for them. After crisscrossing the maze of loiterers and people in different stages of pre-iftar preparation, I triumphantly hold up the patil of halim in its white…oh…did I say white…I meant yellow state. The white paper covering the pot lies in a state of soggy goo. I have decorated the roads of Karwan Bazaar with a trail of yellow semi viscous mass. And the rest of the halim you say? Well they are all over my black pants. My exuberance at being given such a noble responsibility is shared by the patil of halim. It over-flows. Aasha apa, Lavina apa, Kajalie and Srabonti bravely suppress their amusement and point to halim stains in strategic places on my trousers. Shamim bhai, Mustafa bhai and Ahmede see no reason to hold back theirs.

Power of the Press. Special security for some arms check-up. I am stopped in my CNG. I notice many people crowding beside some 'mobile' sergeants, pointing to various items on their licence and in their hands. Many others stand by the road, eagerly and single-handedly being frisked by policemen, whose other hands are busy balancing their heavy shotgun. I flash out my Press Card, displaying a Fox Moulder (X-files) smirk. I am quickly waved through without any delay. The fact that my house is just next door does not seem to impress the policeman. It's all in the card.

Hate mails. "Your Articles are crappy…blah, blah, blah". It is really sad that there are people who hate us so much that they take the time to carefully dish out their venom in a garnished platter against one thing we did wrong, ingeniously forgetting all the rest that we did right. I sit at the computer correcting all the grammatical and spelling mistakes from the letters that 'dis' us before sending them out for printing. I smile at the irony of the prank e-mails, with the writer's name in the end of the message as anonymous. Scrolling a little to the top of the message, the person's full name is in the 'Sender' slot. So much for anonymity.

My first birthday with The SWM staff. I buy a two pound black forest cake from Cooper's with my hard-earned pay to surprise my colleagues. The previous week there had been a discussion as to which type of cake was the best and I had carefully noted the detail. I'm a little embarrassed at bringing the cake and hide it under the computer table worrying about the right moment to bring it out. I find out that my friends had been busy and found out my birthday and have brought in a lot of stuff. A ditto copy of black forest cake, pastries, chanachur and sweets. I feel cared for … and sick with the triple helping of black forest.

Friday night: I am back at the computer wondering where the whole week has gone.

I have a bad habit of folding pages of a book, not simply to remember where I had left off but also to remind me that there is something here that's worth coming back to. Life in DS is like one of my books that has a lot of its pages bent and crumpled; most others I have torn out and have had laminated as it reflects not just some precious times that I have passed here, but…they are the pages of my life.

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