PHENOMENAL WOMAN: BRINDA SARKAR

The Girl who has covered rock concerts for bands like Metallica and Guns N Roses, test driven Audis, covered international car rallies, tourism in Hong Kong and Marathon runs in The Andamans: Meet Brinda Sarkar from The Telegraph.

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She has experiences where she has crawled into the huts of slum-dwellers, gone undercover into police stations, covered elections and interviewed the Khans of Bollywood, all in a day’s work. But in her words ‘What I love writing on most are stories with a human interest and the ‘Me & My Pet’ column for the Salt Lake edition of The Telegraph. My aim at the end of the day is to gain the trust of those I am meeting for my stories and to gain credibility among readers’

Before joining The Telegraph as a Journalist Brinda was a Mass Communications student at International School of Business & Media after which she worked with The Statesman briefly as an Intern. On asking if Journalism was always her career choice she said ‘It was a process of elimination. I had opted for commerce during graduation but was not enjoying it at all. Instead I would find myself reading every newspaper and magazine that came home, cover to cover, and would watch current affairs programs on TV. I thought this was my calling.’

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Along with Journalism, she practices Kathak for an hour daily. She is learning the Bhagwad Gita at a Sunday class and tries to go over the scriptures every morning. This young lady has a fine balance between work and play, stress and relief. Along with her boyfriend, she feeds street dogs meat and rice every day. She chips in with biscuits, which she makes it a point to carry in her bag for dogs. She adds ‘I always carry chocolates for beggars. I believe there is a begging racket that snatches money away from them so I only give food.’

Some of Brinda’s articles which made us feature her as a Phenomenal Woman are: Interviewed 100-year-old people and got first-hand accounts of what we learn in history books, interviewed an Aparthied survivor from South Africa, a story with a juggler preparing for the Guinness World Record and an intellectually disabled boy who has won a medal for India at the Special Olympics.

You can follow some of her articles here:

When she wrote about women’s empowerment: But not before she stood up to an eve teaser and dragged him to the cops. http://www.telegraphindia.com/1150110/jsp/calcutta/story_7708.jsp  

When she wrote about saving the environment: But not before she slogged for days removing garbage from empty plots.  http://www.telegraphindia.com/1130503/jsp/saltlake/story_16851036.jsp#.VdylHyWqqko

When she wrote about people with disabilities: But not before getting to know them and being convinced that the word “disability” is a misnomer. http://www.telegraphindia.com/1150821/jsp/saltlake/story_38185.jsp#.VdymwiWqqko

She says ‘I’ve taken each story as it came and reported all with equal enthusiasm’

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Her advice for women who wish to take up Journalism as a career: ‘If someone wants to be a journalist, he/she should not stop to check if he/she is male or female. Gender is incidental. This is not a labour intensive job where one needs biceps. It’s about presence of mind, about being daring, caring and about persistence. One should decide to be a journalist only if she believes that the pen is mightier than the sword. That’s the only way she can be honest in her work. This job may entail any kind of reporting, from covering film premiere parties to clashes between political parties. Neither is easy and both are equally important. One must respect one’s work and enjoy it’

She signed off saying ‘I’m forever learning from my stories. I teach street kids when I can; I feed street dogs when I find them. I tell people politely not to throw the empty packet of chips on the road. I don’t always win but it doesn’t matter as long as I have tried. I can’t do everything. But what I can do, I must’

Share Brinda’s story if it inspired you.

Note: This story is part of The Phenomenal Woman Series launched by Papercup.

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