Back in 2001 during my rookie reporting days, I wrote a piece on the renewed Intifada which was quite well received. One of the senior assistant editors who was at least 75 years old at that point in time (yes, it was the time when Dawn still had its geriatric brigade roaming the Islamabad corridor) called me and asked me why did I choose to write on intifada. Being the super naïve, extra exuberant idiot that I was, I went on and on about how international politics fascinates me and how I want to write political commentary regularly.
After I was done with my tirade, he smiled a benevolent smile and told me in no uncertain terms that I should stop worrying my pretty little head about stuff as gruesome as Intefada and should stick to things bright and shiny – like fashion and pop music. Before I could say that unlike the old gent who had a degree in Persian literature, being a student of International Relations in general and of people’s movement and confidence building measures in particular, I was actually qualified to write on Intifada and Middle East crisis. I was too young and inexperienced to know that assistant editor probably was afraid of a newbie taking over his area of expertise.
Hajrah Mumtaz’s excellent piece ‘The ghetto of ‘women are writing’ in Dawn today reminded me that I too have been pushed to the ghetto of light & fluffy writing at one point in time. Thank heavens that I was too stubborn to listen to the old gent and wrote about everything under the sun.