It was a hectic day at school that day. All I wanted to do was to go back home and take a short nap. As I entered home, I was surprised to see dad on the dining table with a grim expression on his face. I immediately understood that something was wrong. As I moved closer to the dining table he said, “We need to talk.” He was an affectionate man but when he was upset he had the ability to scare the daylights out of me. As I finally sat next to him, his grimness took the form of words, “I know about Captain Almond.” I saw him take out my Samsung tablet from his bag. I was shocked because I knew that my well-hidden secret was out now. Captain Almond was my secret username under which I operated on social media. I operated mainly from Facebook and Twitter, and wrote pieces of news that the mainstream media did not cover. I used my tablet both for clicking pictures for evidence and to upload my articles on Facebook and Twitter. I had consciously chosen to use my tablet as both my parents thought that it was obsolete after it had stopped working, but I got it fixed and have been working on it from then. Now that my father had laid his hands on my Tablet, it was quite evident that he was aware of my activities. Nobody knew my true identity but my social media handles were quite influential with a strong follower network, most them of them students ,interested in reading what I put out next. My parents were blissfully unaware about my whereabouts as I was very careful to not reveal anything to them and I could not understand how my father found my tablet. I knew they would never approve of my activities, so when my father found out about “Captain Almond”, I assumed that this was the end of my career as a social media activist. “Why are you doing this?” he asked. For a moment, I did not know what to say. It was one thing to have an opinion in private but to put scandalous stories out there and have a substantial reach by doing so was a totally different thing. But I realized that as my father, he deserved to know my intentions. “There is a lot of injustice in our country, and whenever I open the newspaper or the TV news channels, most of them seem to be working in order to fulfill their own agendas. There are very few journalists or activists who report without an ulterior motive. I just wanted to be one of them.” I saw my father break into his wry smile. The words he said next stayed with me forever. “I can see idealism in your eyes and your desire to make a positive contribution to the world. But I want you to have proper training and guidance before you go on to change the system. Be aware, be a keen observer, but take on a job only when you know how to. In that way, you will not make silly mistakes along the way.” I knew my father was right. Though I was proud of doing something on my own accord, I did not want to make any mistakes as I was dealing with very sensitive things. So I stopped writing as Captain Almond but did everything else to kick start my career as a journalist. I did make mistakes along the way, but Captain Almond was possibly my most cherished mistake till date.
Author: Brishti Ghosh (Instagram – @miss_rainfalll)