The day started with being shooed away. The police asked for ID proof. They soon realised I am a student which furthermore made them apprehensive. Slightly dejected, I started wandering down the road, hoping if I can slip in with the TV channel guys who were stationed down the road at the junction. I had been trying my luck at a secondary gate until then, calling up my professor in a state of panic upon the realisation that I may not even be able to take a glimpse at the story planned for the day, much less follow it up.
As I neared the TV vans I soon realised I had knocked on the wrong door earlier as the main gate was the one at the Raj Bhavan junction. Enthused, I took position which would allow me a good vantage point as well as easy access to passer-by in case I managed to get soundbytes from party members. It was noon and I braced myself for a long but hopefully an eventful wait. However, while the wait was long, it was rather uneventful if I go in terms of news value. Barring a couple of incidents, the day went as was expected – O Panneerselvam and Sasikala arriving at Raj Bhavan to meet the Governor, C Vidyasagar Rao, to present their respective cases.
However what felt novel was the realisation that this was as close as it could get to ‘being on the job’ for the time being. The anticipation of events unfolding, the chorus chant of “ Sir, Sir sir…,” with no one really intending to say anything beyond that, the restive periods of idle chat among reporters from different agencies to source information.
Amidst all this, a policeman demanded my ID, again and started creating a fuss about students requiring special permits. The best to do in such situation, as I have realised over time, is to apologise for your ‘gaffe’ and reassure him repeatedly that you’ll never fail to get the necessary permits, henceforth.
Tamil Nadu politics is at a high octane drive, making it for one of the most interesting time to be here in Chennai as a journalist (one learning the ropes of it) and covering it. While it is interesting to watch the developments over the next week, it was an altogether a different adrenaline rush to report it from the field, right from the heart of it.