Lindsay Rose Jordy /Chennai, Dec 28 (BPNS)
Alakananda is one of the most prominent members of the Malayalam news industry. She is an accomplished and proficient news anchor who has been in this field for the past 30 years and is currently working at Asianet News. In this recent interview, she opens up about her life and experience as a female news anchor. A journey she took by chance which later proved to be a destiny of perfection.
“It was a chance happening.” says Alakananda when asked about her inspiration and path in becoming a news anchor. A friend brought her the form of Doordarshan and made her apply. She was selected. Later on, she had thoughts of moving on but something held her back. “The always changing scenarios and the new things you come to know. I think, all of these held me back.” She explained. Even though she dabbed at fashion designing in between she did not take it up as a career.
Can you tell me about your academic background and how long you have been in this profession?
I did my post-graduation in English literature and have a B.Ed. too in English. Plus, I did a short-term course in Fashion designing from NIFT Chennai; that was during my stint in Doordarshan. I was at Doordarshan for 7 years from 1992. Later I joined Surya TV in 1999 left from there in 2003 and joined Asianet News.
What were the hardships you came across while trying to pursue your profession?
The hardships centred around giving up on attending all weddings, other events, social visits, travels and so on. Even demise of relatives and friends. Duty comes first. Other than that, the working environment has never been unpleasant. In fact, in all my difficult times my colleagues have stood with me; starting from Doordarshan up till now.
How do you continue to make your mark in the news industry? Do you feel it is more difficult to do so as a woman?
I am not sure that I made a mark. When I started out, Journalism was not appreciated as a career for women. But at home, my mother was all supportive, though she would have loved teaching as my career. She was a Professor in English at Sree Narayana college. But she did not discourage me. I joined Doordarshan, on contract. There you were measured by your performance and nothing else. Gender did not matter and since I became a familiar face as Doordarshan was the only channel, later on, switching was easier. Invitations came my way, and I chose Surya. And in 2003 came to Asianet. Even now, I think gender is not a hinderance, if you have the calibre. No one can push you down. But that doesn’t apply when cut throat ambition appear.
Your long-standing programme on world affairs in Asianet is a record, how do you feel about it?
For the programme, credit goes to many. As it is, it was not my baby. When I joined, Mrs Beena Manmadhan was in charge, and I joined her team as an anchor and did little research. When she resigned abruptly, the programme was passed over to me. Now it has passed 15 or more years maybe, I am bad at counting. But I am happy and proud to script and produce such a programme, happy to have crossed 1000 episodes which is a record. Plus, I love reading and researching for it.
How do you manage your personal life and work life together with such a busy schedule?
Personal life is ulta-pulta. As I said earlier, I miss all the celebrations. But still, you have to pay a price for your choices. Work comes foremost. You fall into the pattern very early itself. Then all is easy. Saying excuses to relatives, friends, neighbours and all the rest.
Looking back, is there some choices in your life that you would have done differently?
I wish I had taken up Bharatanatyam more seriously earlier itself. Now it is my lifeline, but it is a bit late to have had the realization. Now it is something I enjoy, worship, and yearn to know more.
What is your advice to the younger generation who aspire to be in this profession?
Do not think I am worthy enough to advice. I was never ambitious and not enough hardworking. Still, just a word, this is not a glamourous profession. Glamour is only a veneer. Constantly update yourself, observe, understand, never be biased, hear both sides out and most importantly stay away from scorn.