I arrived in Boston just hours after one of the biggest storms in the city ended. Well, to be fair, I didn’t arrive in Boston, I arrived in Sommerville, a suburb of Boston, where I was greeted by the loveliest landlady possible. But the snow was everywhere.
Cars parked on the roads were literally drowning in the snow, I wish I had taken photos, but I was too cold to whip out my phone. The snow persisted for so many days that eventually my own resolve that I’ll only start working once I feel warmer weakened, and I began reporting and writing. Besides, I was meant to start this fellowship in September 2020, and I had already waited so long.
The first opinion piece I pitched was about the truckers’ convoy in Canada – but I had a South Asian angle to it. With reporting, you have to be neutral. You should have some level of expertise on the topic, but you shouldn’t have an opinion. With opinion writing, you do want to have an opinion. And I had many strong opinions about why I wasn’t seeing more desi truckers in the rally – after all they make up 50 per cent of all of Canada’s truckers in cities like Vancouver and Toronto!
However, if you have spent the last decade of your life as a reporter, you can’t just slip into opinion writing without talking to people. And after I spoke to various truckers, I felt that some of their quotes were too good, too clarifying to not add to the opinion piece. And while for more experienced opinion writers that’s a rarity, for newer opinion writers, it’s a total boss move. A reported opinion piece, like having your cake and eating it too, living the best of both worlds. Okay, I’ll stop with the adages now.
On Feb 8, three female graduate students at Harvard sued their university for mishandling sexual harassment complaints against Anthropology and African-American Studies Professor John Comaroff. I wanted to write about this. I went to the rally at Harvard, to get a feel of the moment, meet and talk to students and graduate workers, and to hear what the speakers of the rally had to say.
So far, I am really enjoying the fact that the opinion team is warm and welcoming, it’s evident they have had great experiences with past fellows! I have a voice there, I am hoping to publish more columns and editorials in the following weeks and polish my opinion tone and opinion. It’s always been a question for me, if we should try to develop new skills of keep improving and polishing the skills we already have? I think I am doing a bit of both at this fellowship and maybe in July I can tell you what works better?