Newspaper offices seem to attract really weird people, apart from crazy employees. My office is especially so. Express has always had this tradition of keeping its doors open for all and sundry to walk in. And walk in they do. A lot of days, there are really needy people who come in with appeals, hoping an article in the newspaper will turn their life around. It is at such times that you feel so helpless. I would get to see a lot of those when I was in the general reporting section.
There are people who come in and literally demand that we write about them. We once had a girl call the office and claim that she could change the shape of her face to look like actresses with the help of get this, mathematics! No, don’t ask me to explain this, it was that crazy! We had a whale of a time while it lasted, the girl was willing to demonstrate too, though she asked that a reporter come to her house. But at the end of it, it turned out that the poor thing was mentally ill.
Then there is a really crazy man who thinks of himself as an astrologer. I have been forced into writing about him once. The man went on about breathing and how he could predict future just by observing the person’s breath or some such thing. At the end of that, I did not understand a word of what he said.
And then there is a dance therapist. And another septuagenarian who comes up with the weirdest of citizen initiatives. There was once a schizophrenic woman who claimed that people with backpacks driving around in cars were stalking her.
I am not making up these stories here. On a good working day, there is at least one weird story that walks into the office. The chief reporter asks one of the reporters to talk to them and see if there is really a story there. Once the person leaves, we all have an update at what the whole thing was about. There is a lot to laugh about sometimes, there are even times when we feel sad. Not all people come in to get attention. There are several amazing, talented people too. At the end of it all, the diversity of the ones who walk in, the stories that they tell and the ones who don’t tell, that is what makes the newspaper. That is what I love most about journalism.