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My progress in journalism

I picked up the threads of my writing career while I was in I.T.I. Three efforts stood out during this period. I wrote a fairly long letter to the editor of DECCAN HERALD criticizing the activities of the Christian missionaries in India and their attempts to convert Hindus to their religion clandestinely. This was published in the newspaper which was reproduced in a Lucknow newspaper in the form of an article. I came to know about that when the paper sent me a complimentary copy. A well known film monthly named FILMINDIA from Bombay which was highly respected by the film industry those days for its editorial comments and film reviews was publishing a lot of other interesting features too. But two of the most looked forward to columns read by its thousands of readers were the question and answer section and Readers’ letters. A prize of Rs.5/- was given to the best letter of the month by the Editor for a contribution which he considered as the best for the month. I wrote a 100 word letter and to my great surprise it was chosen as the best and awarded the prize for the month. The subject was not so important as to win a prize but probably the Editor found that the style of my writing deserved the honour. Another weekly film magazine named MOVIE TIMES from Bombay was running a contest every week for a contribution from readers on a film topic with the grand prize of Rs.25/-, a princely sum those days, for the best letter of the week. I sent in one and to my great surprise it was chosen by the Editor as the best letter with his comments “…Reader A.R.Subramanian made our job very easy by writing a letter which at very sight we decided to be the prize winning one.” This was from among hundreds of similar letters received by the magazine from all over India. And thirdly there was this great effort from my pen. One night I saw a peculiarly charming dream about a romantic interlude in my life. It was a story of how a lovely girl in the deserts of Mesopotamia living in an oasis alone saved me as I lay wounded and abandoned in an on field action in the raging war, how she rescued and nursed me back to health when almost given up for dead and how a desert storm swept away the girl I would never see again. The dream lingered in my mind the whole of the night and when I reached office I could not hold back my feelings. I picked up my pen and the office scrap book and wrote furiously almost 15 pages risking the hawk eye of my supervisor. After touching up a little I typed the story clandestinely in the office typewriter and stationery and sent the final effort away to a weekly magazine published from Bangalore. Lo and behold! A couple of weeks later my story appeared in the magazine with a beautiful illustration by their staff artist. The artist had wonderfully visualized the settings and the character extremely well just as I saw them in the dream. I received a payment of Rs.6/- for this effort, my very first one at story telling. Later the artist met me and complimented me for writing a fine piece. My friends who read the story were amazed at the clarity of thought in the story though it was purely a dream as dreams normally do not lend themselves to any cogent story telling.

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