Attitude but no latitude

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Attitude can make or break a person. We as reporters are whipped by attitude every other time. And sometimes, it can be unsettling. I remember my English lecturer once saying, “You know because of what happened in the class (he had sent out a few students for not listening to him and doing their own thing), I need to go back home, meditate, expel all the negative energy and restore my equilibrium.”

I didn’t get him then. But now I do. Throwing an attitude can either bounce off you or get at your goat and tire you down. Just the other day, I was deep in conversation with an up and coming artist. Halfway through the interview, I asked, “At what price did you sell your first ever painting in the US?”

“I can’t tell you,” she said, pointedly.

“But you can tell me off the record,” I persisted.

“No, I don’t trust the press,” she said flatly.

I was left speechless. For a moment, I wondered whether to continue with the interview or abandon it right away.

But better judgement prevailed (maybe because I was 28 and more understanding and she was only 23 and just about to begin her life’s journey) and the interview went on without a hitch.

That was not the end of it, though. The next day, NV Jagadeesh (our master photographer who treasures his camera more than he respects himself) sidled up to me: “Boss, this babe has too much attitude. When I asked her to pose in a certain way, she said nothing doing do what I tell you to do. It was as if she owned me. Did she piss you off, too?”

“Not really,” I said, my diplomatic self. “But yes, she did say something during the interview that I didn’t like, but what she told you, is definitely not on. But I hope, the picture has come out well.”

He was evasive. “Yeah, but it could have been better.”

I agreed and moved on to my next story. And this time, thankfully, the two models at the shoot, did not throw any attitude around and the shoot went on smoothly. That is, until I received a phone call from my colleague, Bala.

“There’s a problem,” she said, sounding stressed and a trifle bemused. “The PR person of the hotel where you are shooting just called to say that she is not happy having models over for a photo shoot to promote the place; rather she wants us to use stock photos she has given me.”

(Published in City Reporter, 2003)