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11 May
BMM isn’t enough. Here’s why you should do a Diploma in Journalism, Advertising or PR

In Blog

The Bachelor of Mass Media course was launched years ago and almost instantly, and continues to be a hot favorite among the students.

I’m guilty of this, as well, because I too, am a BMM graduate.

The reasons why I, and most others enrol in such a course is because it seems cool - I mean, it’s media studies, afterall. Also, unlike our friends over in the Bachelor of Arts, Science and Commerce, BMM offers students the opportunity to explore different subjects - from journalism to economics.

So yes, it does give you a peek into what different careers are like, and at the end of the three-year degree, you become a Jack of all trades. You know what each career is like.

Without doubt, journalism, advertising and public relations are the three most-popular fields that media students aspire to enter.

Here is where it gets a bit interesting. If you do want to specialise in a particular field, being a Jack of all trades will only take you so far, but it will  leave much to be desired, in terms of qualifications and field knowledge.

 

So let’s break it down further.

 

If you’re really interested in entering the media industry, as a journalist, advertiser or a public relations officer, you’d want to specialise in one particular field, as it is important to have specialised knowledge of that field. This is where diploma courses come into play.

While BMM does teach you the basics, it is insufficient, if you want to specialise in a particular field. For example, an introduction to advertising is a subject taught in the second year of BMM. But like the name suggests, it is simply an introduction to the subject and lacks depth, which is required for any one looking to enter the competitive advertising industry.

 

In a more specialised course like a diploma in advertising, for example, the content of the course is far more focused- and needless to say, some of the best media institutes like - this one, for example, also offer internships to get some experience. So in terms of a getting a job, a diploma in journalism, advertising or public relations trumps BMM.

Still not convinced? Here’s my reasons for why BMM isn’t enough and why you should do a diploma in journalism, advertising or PR.

 

Diplomas make you more competent

We can all agree that most of the bachelor degrees in Mumbai and India, at large, primarily focus on theory and textbook learning. While theory is absolutely necessary to get the foundations of concepts right, it shouldn’t be the only thing that drives the degree.

In a diploma there’s a balance of theory and application-based, practical learning- which is what most employers are interested in.

With the practical elements in a diploma course, you get hands-on experience with what it’s like to perform certain functions in that particular field. It will only boost your confidence when you enter the industry, since you already have that practical experience.

For example, in a typical diploma in public relations course, one of the key practical elements of the course is to work on creating a corporate communication message for a live client. When you work on such projects, it gives you the chance to do research and to create interesting strategies for the client, which is at the core of every PR job.

 

Bigger bucks

When you do a Bachelor degree, you qualify for the basic salary paid to graduates in your industry. So, if you want to earn more, doing a diploma in your area of interest would help.

When you do a diploma, you already have the expertise and skill in your field, which warrants a higher pay. This is not to say however, that a bachelor degree doesn’t facilitate higher pay. However, without a diploma, you would take slightly longer to acquire the skills you would otherwise learn with one.

 

Time-Efficient

Unlike most Bachelor degrees that span a time period of three years, diploma courses are comparatively shorter. For example,a diploma in  journalism in Mumbai is more likely to be conducted over 10 months. Such courses are intensive, and the curriculum is focused and job-oriented.

So, for professionals looking to upgrade their educational qualifications, a diploma course is a better bet, since it is time-efficient. Due to the multitude of practical elements involved in a diploma, the amount of time in class is lessened, allowing you to enter the industry quicker.

 

Friends in Higher Places

In professional diploma courses, one of the biggest advantages is the opportunity to build your industry connect. Let’s be honest, after we graduate from college, we have almost no contacts in the industry and finding a job gets easier when you have friends in higher places - i mean, industry connect.

In one of the best diploma courses in Mumbai- like this one- all the faculty are industry professionals. This is a priceless opportunity to make your own connections.

It has now become rule of thumb: industry connections are important for finding a good job.


 

Want to upgrade your qualifications and skills? Go here to see which diploma course is right for you. If you still can’t decide, don’t fret. Email us at admissions@stpaulsice.com or call +91-9769905813 for more information.

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4 May
Best Media Institute in Mumbai: Here's what you will get

In Blog

Mumbai boasts of a number of media institutes. But there’s one institute that has grown so rapidly over the years, that it has surpassed its competitors- St Pauls Institute of Communication Education (SPICE).

Now, you may be thinking: Well, I’m calling our institute the best. But wait, hear me out. We really do have the best facilities and I’m going to list them out for you and then you can decide.

At SPICE, there’s a pleasant mixture of faculty who are veterans in their respective fields and top-notch facilities.

The institute caters to undergraduate and diploma courses, for the most part, with all-year-round, short-term courses. For the undergraduate courses, there’s the Mumbai University affiliated Bachelor of Mass Media course; the TATA Institute of Social Sciences affiliated Bachelor of Vocational Education - Graphics and Multimedia course and this year, we are launching the  TISS affiliated B.Voc. in Journalism course.

On the other hand, we also offer professional diploma courses in Journalism, Advertising and Integrated Marketing Communications and, Public Relations and Corporate Communications. Now, if you want a course that would help with upskilling, there’s short-term courses in graphic design and even digital marketing.

So, there’s something in it for everyone, depending on what you’re interested in.

An institute is always more than the courses it offers. I mean, you could offer the best courses on the planet, but if you don’t have the facilities to support it, it’s rather a pointless task.

So, let me break down the top-notch facilities to let you know what’s in the best media institute in Mumbai.

 

1. Air Conditioned Classrooms

Now, it's no secret that it can get pretty hot in the summer in Mumbai. I mean, it’s already hitting 32 degrees celsius. To beat the heat, we have fully air-conditioned classrooms, so you’re comfortable whilst in class.

Actually, the entire institute is air-conditioned - the corridors and even the library (yes, we have a library). So, during the summer months (or the whole year, rather), we do emphasise the need for students to be comfortable, whilst in class - and this goes for all types of courses.

 

2. Computer Labs

One of the things that makes SPICE the best media institute in Mumbai, is it’s professionally equipped computer lab. One of the ideas observed at SPICE, across all courses is the need for students to be self-sufficient.

For example, even though journalism students may want to primarily focus on reporting, at SPICE, they will still be trained in editing - using industry level softwares like Adobe InDesign, for print and for those interested in broadcast journalism, there’s Adobe Premiere Pro, to edit those news bulletins.

Yes, you read right - editing. While most journalism courses focus on many of the elements mentioned above, few train you in editing. This is what makes SPICE the best media institute - it trains you to be all-rounder and to be self-sufficient.

Oh, we have a TV studio to record those news bulletins, and we’ll get to that in a sec.  

The computer labs are equipped with Windows systems, with the latest softwares that any media student would need - like Adobe Illustrator and even Adobe Photoshop.

 

3. Television Studio

Like I mentioned earlier, SPICE offers the diploma in journalism course. It’s curated towards polishing journalism enthusiasts. Over the years, we’ve created an offering for those interested in print journalism, as well as, an offering for broadcast journalism.

Broadcast journalism focuses on scripting for television, creating rundowns for news bulletins, shooting and recording sound bytes, anchoring as well as editing.

And to do that, you need a professional TV studio and at SPICE- we have one.

The studio, fully equipped with a professional video camera, lighting, teleprompter and even a control room, is used extensively by students to master the skills of anchoring and reporting for television, which meets industry standards. It just does not get better than this.

 

4. Podcast Studio

What is podcasting, you may ask? Go here to find out.

It’s no secret that podcasting holds a lot of potential. It is a medium that allows for the discussion of almost any topic and many creators are jumping  on the bandwagon of podcasting, that it’s almost a trend now- scratch that- it IS a trend now.

SPICE prides itself in staying on top of trends- and podcasting is no different. And sure, many media institutes may be teaching it, but it’s the equipment that we have that makes it the best media institute.

From professional mics and headphones and to top-of-the-range, industry level audio monitoring software, it’s a one-stop shop for creating high-quality podcasts.

Still don’t believe me? Go check out the institute’s podcast channel here and hear for yourself.

 

5. Veteran Faculty

Having excellent facilities is great, but have you ever learned from media veterans?  

One of things we are proud of at SPICE is our connect with the industry- all the major media houses. As a result, we have some of the best minds in the business - Carol Andrade, Rajeev Masand, Shashi Baliga and Margaret Da Costa.

Not only will you learn the tricks and nuances of the media industry, but it is also  a priceless opportunity to build your network.

 

Want a bright future in journalism, advertising or public relations? Well, we have good news for you. Our doors are open as admissions have begun! Visit our website to know important dates for entrance exams or feel free to  email us on admissions@stpaulsice.com or call +91-9769905813.

)…

27 Apr
How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter like a Pro

In Blog

Job hunting is stressful enough. Applying for job after job, with the occasional callback can be super frustrating. Trust me, I know.

From writing a cover letter and a having an impressive resume, the whole process can be quite time-consuming. And while there may be multiple guides on how to write cover letters and resumes, today I will teach you how to write the perfect cover letter like a pro, that no employer will ignore.

Ready? Get a pen and paper or your laptop or phone ready.

But wait… let’s begin with why you need a cover letter to begin with.

There are articles on the internet that have documented this to the nth degree. But, I’ll give you the gist of it. Firstly, cover letters are often placed in front of your resume and is therefore, an excellent place to introduce who you are, to the employer.

In a sea of applicants, this is a great chance to set yourself and your application apart from the rest. It’s cut-throat competition and this is no time to be modest. Go ahead and highlight everything awesome about who you are.

“Explain to us why you’d be fit for the job”. Does this sound familiar? Yup, it’s at the back of every employer’s mind: why choose me over everyone else.

Which brings me to the second point: make a strong case on why you are the best fit for the job. It could because you have the experience or certain soft skills that would complement the job requirements well and how you would effectively contribute to the development of the company.

Lastly, a cover letter acts like a call-to-action. You have to give the employer a motive to call you for an interview.

Now that, that’s done and dusted, we’ll begin with tips on how to write the perfect cover letter like a pro.

 

Part 1: The Opening Lines

This constitutes the first paragraph of your cover letter.

 

The Salutation

You can forget about addressing the reader as “Dear Sir or madame”. It makes you sound like you’re from a different  century. Also, ‘to whomsoever it may concern’, just makes you sound basic.

If you want to stand out from the pack, you’ll have to do some research.

Go to the company’s website and try to find the name of the HR manager, or anyone from the HR team. This is a safe bet, as these are the people who mostly work with interviewees.

If there isn’t anything on the website, you could even look up the brand on LinkedIn. At times, companies do display the profiles of their employees. Now, if that doesn’t work, you can simply call up the company and enquire.

This not only shows the hiring manager that you are in fact, paying attention to each employer and not just sending blanket applications to many companies at a time. It’ll give you brownie points.

 

 

Have a kickass opening line

One of the tenets of writing a cover letter like a pro is to have a kickass, captivating introductory paragraph.

Now, that you got the salutation bit sorted out, it’s now time to turn your attention towards capturing the interest of the hiring manager.

Remember, this person is probably looking at 100+ applications in a day. So, you’d want to seem a bit more interesting.

In the beginning, go straight to how you heard of the job you are currently applying for. It could be a job search portal or better still, if you heard about it from someone associated with the company. Trust me, it’ll earn you brownie points.

The thing to remember is: what will make the hiring manager, who is combing through several applications, want to stop and read my resume. The answer is simple: a catchy introductory paragraph.

 

Part 2: The Show Stopper

This includes what you will include in the body of your cover letter.

 

Provide Perspective

It’s where the most important elements of yourself will be. While you may be tempted to display everything you have done, I’d advise you to be picky. Most people simply regurgitate what’s on their resume in the main paragraph of the cover letter.

It’s a pointless thing to do, because the hiring manager will be able to read this for themselves in the resume. But what you can do is - expand on certain elements in your resume and use it to paint a better picture of how this will help in the position that you are hoping to get.

For example, if you’ve stated that you won an award for being an excellent team manager; it would be beneficial to shed light on what you did, to achieve that award. So, in the cover letter, you could write, “Delegated tasks to team mates, based on their areas of expertise, to reap maximum productivity from the team”. This will show the hiring manager that you do, in fact, have good discerning skills.

Here, you will also briefly share basic information about yourself, in terms of degree, area of study/expertise and what you’d like to achieve in the future and how this will ultimately benefit the company.
 

What You Can Do For The Company

Candidates often try hard to impress the hiring manager. But one of the crucial mistakes while doing this is stating how the company can benefit you. Quite honestly, the hiring manager is already aware of how you will benefit by working in the company.

But, if you want to write a cover letter like a pro, you should focus on how you can contribute to the growth of the company. Here, you can talk about how your skills will help towards the company’s growth. Do some research and try to figure out what type of goals the company seeks to fulfill. Take a good calculated guess and paint a beautiful canvas of how you fit into the schema of these goals.

 

Highlight the right degrees and experiences

You may think you’re getting ahead by having a long list of  degrees and experiences. But to tell you the truth, the hiring manager doesn’t care about all of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, to cut them some slack and also to improve the relevance of your cover letter and subsequent resume for the role you are applying for, it is advisable only to highlight the degrees and experiences which are directly relevant to the position you are applying.

For example, if you’re applying for a job as a social media marketing manager, highlighting a certificate course you may have done in social media marketing and probably an internship as a social media coordinator will serve prove that you do in fact, have what it takes.

Don’t fret, once the hiring manager gets to your resume, they’ll find out about all your other laurels as well.

 

Part 3: Have a call-to-action

Your last paragraph needs to have a ‘call-to-action’. It’s where you hint to the hiring manager that you’d like to be called for an interview. It suggests interest.

Now after trying to prove to them you’re worthy in the previous paragraphs, it’s time to take this one easy. Tell them you appreciate them reading through your cover letter and resume.

For all intents and purposes, you should not come off as overly pushy; but it’s good to show persistence and conviction.

 

Miscellaneous Pointers:

  • Ensure that you fact-check your cover letter, to ensure that every claim you make about yourself is accurate, with supporting documents handy.

  • Never forget to proofread your document. You may have worked on it for days or weeks and it’s easy to overlook obvious errors. Take a break and come back to check for grammatical errors. You could also ask a friend to read through it, as they may notice errors, you won’t.

  • Standardise the look of your cover letter. Stick to one font, preferably the god of all fonts: Times New Roman, with 12 point size. It looks neat. Make sure the paragraphs are justified, distinctly noticeable, with margins and spacings.

The last thing you want is your document looking shoddy and cramped.

)…

18 Apr
6 Top Reasons You Should Do A Media Internship This Summer

In Blog

It’s getting super warm, so you know what that means: summer is just around the corner. The time we all look forward to, to put away the books and go on fancy vacations to escape the heat.

But not all of us will be travelling to some exotic destination. So for those who choose to stay back, it’s probably best to keep yourself occupied and get an internship.

Now while this article mostly talks about media internships, I’m sure it speaks broadly for all types of industries. So read on.

Internships in the summer are quite popular. I mean, it not only gives you a chance to get some hands-on experience but also to network and build your circle of connections.

For media students, it’s one thing to learn concepts whilst sitting at a desk, in class and another to practically implement what you’ve learned. Media internships give you that window of opportunity to learn some practical skills.

Still not convinced? Keep reading our five top reasons you should do a media internship this summer.

Experience Matters

Let me break it down for you. If you thought you’re sorted by simply sitting in class, passing those tedious exams in numerous, media-related subjects, and dodging those ATKTS, I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong.  

While learning theory and writing exams are part and parcel of a student’s life, if you want the competitive advantage over your peers, it’s the experience on the field- a media internship, that will set you apart.

And why? Well, when you do get into the industry, the first thing you realise is that not everything you learned in class, will help. More often than not, jobs require you to have hands-on experience and not just textbook knowledge.

For example, many journalism courses will teach you creative writing and even report writing. But it’s only when you get into the field, think up and write your own stories, that you will truly be able to understand the very essence of report writing. Until then, everything remains hypothetical.

Trial and Error

You read that right: internships are probably the only time when making a mistake is understandable and pardonable.

Since media internships are a time to observe and learn, making a mistake isn’t typically seen as a cardinal sin. But.. obviously, this does not mean that you can and should make mistakes.

Look at it as more of a safety net. If you do happen to make a mistake (this happens to the best of us, even after years of being in the industry), it is important to learn and develop your skill set that will prove to be helpful when you really enter into a full-time job.

Identify what you really want to do

How many of you even know what industry or company you want to join? When I was in college, I had no idea.

For those inclined to go down the journalism route, in order for you to figure out which beat you want to work in, it is first important to experiment with different beats - reporting hard news in business, legal, crime, sports or writing softer features.  

On the other hand, those media students who are keen on advertising could probably bag a media internship in an advertising agency or as part of the advertising team in a company.

In this case, you will get a feel for what it’s like to work in a corporate office or what advertising agency life is like.

A note to BMM Students:

One good thing about the Bachelor of Mass Media degree is that it opens a plethora of options in terms of jobs, for you. I mean, you don't have to go down the path most-taken-  journalism and advertising. You could try your hand at a public relations internship or even a marketing internship. In this way, you will even get a sense of how the two streams are different, in terms of the types of content created and the functionalities of jobs under each stream.

Further, if you’re better off with photography, you could even look into a photojournalism internship.  

So BMM students can explore with a variety of internships during the three-year degree to figure out the field they are most interested in.

A note to Diploma students:

Now, if you’re a student pursuing a diploma in a media discipline, you may have a bit more clarity in knowing what field you are into. This is a no-brainer.

I mean, a student pursuing a diploma in journalism is presumably pretty set in their goals to be a journalist; but journalism in itself is a vast field. So, a media internship at this stage would perhaps be beneficial in order to gain more clarity over the beat you are most interested in.

As I said earlier, internships should be all about learning and finding where your interests lie.

Build that resume

Yup, we couldn’t leave this one out. Having a lengthy resume, with all these fancy degrees will take you some distance, but employers mostly look for your experience levels in the field.

This is where again, your internship comes into play.

As I said in point 1, experience in the field in which you want to build a career around is what will help boost your resume qualities. The things you could possibly learn during the internship communicates that you do in fact, have sufficient knowledge to undertake a job.

So, never discount an internship. It’s worth more than you think.

Time Management

This is a big one. Time management is something we learn since we’re in college. I mean, you do learn how to manage your free time, along with the time needed to finish assignments, right?

So it is with media internships. You’re on the job and a couple of responsibilities will be laid on your shoulders. You will learn to properly and efficiently use your time management skills to get tasks done.

It may seem unlikely at the time, but trust me, time management is a thankless skill to have when it comes to managing and completing tasks when you finally land a full-time job. What's more, employers appreciate employees who have excellent time management skills and can be relied upon to complete tasks effectively.

Networking is key

Getting the experience, putting in the hours and garnering amazing time-management skills is good, but this is superseded by what internships also offer: the opportunity to network and expand your horizons.

Whilst doing an internship, remember that ultimately, you are working for a company that could potentially hire you.

So, if you prove yourself to be sufficient for a job that may prop up in the future, who knows, you might just be perfect for that position, because well, the company has already seen what you can do.

Now if that doesn’t work, internships also offer the opportunity to meet like-minded people, while on the job, so building relationships with them might also be beneficial because they might be able to introduce you to other potential employers.

)…

19 Mar
This is the Most Interesting Module in the BMM Course for Women

In Blog

Marketing has been defined in various ways by different experts in the field. A definition that all marketing classes include is given by Philip Kotler, where he said that ‘’the science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit.’’ To put this in layman’s terms, marketing involves research of the market, creating an outcome to appeal to the customers (the product) and maintaining customer relations. In the BMM Course for Women, we had the opportunity to experience the world of marketing, first hand.

              The subject is full of practical concepts, which generally many institutions disagree with. In an education system where memorizing the concepts is more important than learning them, it’s pretty understandable. With a two-month long experience and getting a hands-on experience of the subject at an amateur level, I believe marketing is definitely an applied course. The assessment has not just taught our batch in the BMM Course for Women, how to execute a target market analysis, but also provided us with a professional practice.

              The assessment started with our faculty giving us a head-start through introductory lectures about core concepts. This was done only to help us have an insight of how to work out our plan. Assigned industries were namely consumables, jewelry, luxury apparel, banking, hospitality, education, travel agency and technology. Although industries were allotted to us, we were liberal to select the brands of our choice and our plan of action. There was enough creative freedom for us to express our brands better during the final presentation.

              One of the in-house faculty in the BMM Course for Women, Beulah Pereira, helped us throughout the process to make sure the presentations would go smoothly. And yes, they did. Starting with the various analysis such as industry, brand, S.W.O.T., PESTLE and competitor, helped us better understand the brands, the way they work and their marketing strategies. It was almost like a walkthrough into starting the second section of the assessment, which was when we had to let our creativity and innovations flow. This was the part where there was not a right or a wrong report, a group just had to do better than the other groups. Since there were deadlines and a mock presentation, the groups had an idea of how professionally the final presentation would be done. The deadlines drove a motivation in groups to do better. There was also ranking involved for every deadline, so groups could know their progress and also, get another source of determination.

              Some of the groups even conducted surveys to understand their target market better. The survey also helped understand why the particular innovation was a need. The demographics and psychographics followed shortly, which meant segmentation. At the time, it felt like a heavy term but is not. To put simply, it means answering the ‘w’ questions about your target market. Targeting and Segmentation were not even as difficult as everyone had thought it to be, while the marketing mix and positioning was a challenging task. Positioning had no right path, as long as it spread the marketing message that the group was aiming for.

              Marketing mix was one of the most amusing part of the entire assessment, according to my personal opinion. The group had to describe and design the product, calculate the costing, decide how the product would reach the customer and finally, promoting it. There was so much freedom in this section, we could select the billboards and channels of our choice. Positioning was defined by the marketing mix. The elements that the group would mention in the mix had to be incorporated within the positioning.

              On the day of the final presentation, every group did really well. It takes immense effort and patience to pull off such a project for two months. With a team that one is not sure will co-operate or not, was a completely separate concern. Since every group has a different industry, each group was unique in its own way. They expressed themselves through the translucent channel of brand marketing. It was a collection of different perceptions and opinions presented in systematic manner. One of the best team managers, Delicia Dsouza, precisely of the technology industry, said, ‘‘The assessment was challenging and there were ups & downs within, but in the end with the help of each teammate’s efforts, it went well; while there was healthy competition within groups.”

              The assessment taught the BMM Course for Women Batch of 2018-21 some really professional lessons of working in a team, co-operating with one another and in the end, putting aside all the disparities to present very well. Some people got a clearer view of whether marketing is their cup of tea or there’s more subjects to explore in Bachelors of Mass Media in the coming semesters. All in all, as rightly said by the team manager of jewelry in this assessment, Zeba Shaikh,

“No other way could have been better to learn Marketing”

 

Ready to challenge yourself with interesting projects and assignements? Then, the BMM Course for Women maybe for you. Hop onto our website and have a look at the other modules, or simply drop us a line at info@stpaulsice.com

 

)…

4 Mar
Sneak Peek on What It Takes to be a Broadcast Journalist

In Blog

This is an interesting look at what it takes to be a broadcast journalist out in the field, covering people's movements - and NO modcons anywhere. You need to be tough, adaptable and fiercely committed to the job. Otherwise, find something else to do. BTW, the writer is an alumnus and she is currently with Mirror Now as. Senior correspondent. This article was originally posted on Mirror Now

Behind the scenes – A peek into the lives of protesting farmers

In the process of delivering news and reporting the woes of the masses, there are often times that the individual’s story is lost in transition for the want of addressing the issue that haunts thousands.

It is a well-known fact that in films, a lot happens behind the scenes that doesn't make it to the screen. The same is the case with TV news. In the process of delivering news and reporting the woes of the masses, there are often times that the individual’s story is lost in transition for the want of addressing the issue that haunts thousands.

On February 20, 2019, a sea of 15,000 tribal farmers from all over Maharashtra started a long march from Nashik to Mumbai. They had done a similar march in 2018 to make the government aware of their hardships. 

The protest was reported extensively. The key issues, demands of the farmers, their deplorable condition was highlighted across media. However, there were quite a few stories that could not find time on screen.

As my cameraperson Uday and I were there with the farmers for two days, we got a chance to take a closer look into their lives. 

It started on the morning of February 20, from a place called Dindori, 28 kilometres from Nashik. The farmers from nearby areas started gathering to walk to Nashik and join the long march. We started speaking to the farmers and tried to capture some moments. When I was taking some pictures, an old tribal farmer asked me to click him. He gave me clear instructions that it should be a ‘good picture’ and he should look ‘happy’.

His words were simple and hard-hitting, “I want to show the government that we farmers smile even in the worst situations.”

Being an average photographer, I had to click 5-6 pictures, and having exacting standards, it was only the sixth picture which according to him, was OK.

We went to Nashik from Dindori with the farmers. On the next morning, the long march started and we also started walking with them. After walking for six hours, the farmers stopped at Rajur Bahula for lunch. As we were continuously reporting, the farmers made sure we were hydrated as it was a hot afternoon. They only had one thing to say 'tey aaple waaste kartey.'

Meanwhile, the farmers' leaders were in a meeting with the representatives of the Maharashtra government. It was taking hours and we all were waiting on the same ground. 

There were no arrangements for makeshift toilets. Once it became dark, my bladder was not ready to cooperate with me anymore. I asked the women farmers about how they were managing. They told me that they had to answer nature’s calls in the open. I was not shocked to hear that. 

I don't know why, but somehow the people (read MEN) of our country are convinced that women don't need to pee. And even if they want to, they definitely don't need washrooms!

Ranjana, Ittha Bai and two more women came to my rescue. They took me near some bushes and told me to get on with my business. I couldn't, as there were people around. Ranjana assured me no one would look, but my bladder wouldn't cooperate. Then those wonderful, generous, big-hearted women used the pallus of their sarees and made a semi-circle behind me. I was never in a funnier situation before this, and trust me, I have been in many of them. Four women witnessing the process, whatever happened to privacy!

Anyway, I finished as quickly as possible. But I laughed really hard once I was done. And marvelled at how women (especially rural women) in this country have to compromise their privacy on a daily basis. I couldn't thank the women enough. After their kind act, they also posed for me, happily.

After a couple of hours, my stomach started begging for food. The story was developing and we did not have anything to eat. Once again, the farmers came to our rescue. They did what they are doing since centuries, they fed us.

The farmers were sitting in groups and eating peacefully. We sat with them and started eating.

The way people were sitting, the way the food was served, the way people were eating… it all was in a beautiful rhythm. Sunita came and sat next to me. She told me that she came to give me company while I was eating. She told me that she saw me clicking pictures and wanted to see them. After that, she asked me to click her picture. I was more than happy to do as requested. Her simplicity was so unadulterated.

At midnight, the march was called off as the government agreed to fulfil the demands of the farmers. While leaving the grounds, we also clicked our heroes in uniform, the cops who walked with the farmers and were with them on that tiring and never-ending day. 

After our last live, walkthrough and PTC, our work was over but the cops were still there and they had to be on the duty until all the farmers left the ground safely.

The views expressed by the author are personal and do not in any way represent those of Times Network.

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