Welcome to ‘Beyond The Ink’ an Original series where we explore our writers beyond the ink-side that we’ve gotten to know. A series that delves deeper into the personal and everyday lives of our poets and writers.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and could you share what it is that you do outside of writing?
I am a senior news editor at CNN-News18 in New Delhi and the producer of the channel’s flagship debate show FaceOff@9. I am a columnist for leading print and online titles, writing on politics, international relations and social issues.
What does a day in your life look like, and how do you find time to write?
The highlight of my day is going to work and producing primetime shows on the top political and social issues of the day. I enjoy covering the news as it develops through the 24-hour news cycle and frame the editorial narratives. I do most of my writing after work when I can switch myself off from the newsroom and mull the images and emotions that tend to stay with me.
How does your job affect your writing and/or vice versa?
The newsroom has a direct effect on my writing. On a daily basis I deal with the best and worst aspects of humanity, from unsung heroes and social justice to horrible crimes, public disorder, corruption and apathy. Time and again the news provides me with a vivid cross-section of the human condition which feeds into my writing. Moreover, the people I work with in the newsroom are as chaotic as the news itself. The pressure of deadlines, the push and pull of breaking and developing news, it all brings out the best and worst of individuals. I feel a great sense of kinship with those who feed and thrive on that chaos. Working in the newsroom is an emotional rollercoaster which sustains my writing spirit.
What creative challenges do you face?
Simplifying complex emotions to create a potent piece of expression is a major challenge. The simplest of words and lines pack the biggest punch to express the narratives I mine out of my heart and mind. It is a challenge identifying the right words and many times I have to read and re-read what I have written to hone it down to my basic instincts. I sometimes abandon great ideas due to this.
What role do social issues play in your life?
A big role. Conflict, refugees and women’s rights are few of the areas which have a major impact on me. While trying to report on the multiple and complex angles such issues highlight, one gets to see the light, dark and grey sides of the human condition. The spectrum of human emotion tugs at my spirit and frames the writing as well as the person I am.
What advice would you give others that are pursuing a career in your field?
As a journalist, it is essential to build your profile before entering the media sphere. In the internet era, it is easier to catalogue and maintain a media profile, be it print, television or digital, and pitch it to employers. At the same time, developing a media profile helps one gauge strengths and interests to hone in on the right field to specialise as well as the right medium. It eases the confusion and prepares you for the newsrooms where one tends to be thrown into the deep end upon entry.
What advice would you give to other writers out there?
Live life with an open heart and the universe will reward you with inspiration and clarity. Share your work with as many people as you can and be open to their comments, especially those of strangers.
What adjective best describes you and why?
Yearning. I constantly yearn to be consumed by emotion. It is when the gap between my restless spirit and my conditioned self is bridged. Only in those moments I feel my expression is powerful. I loathe being passive and indifferent.
What’s a fun fact about you that would surprise many that know you?
I still enjoy watching World Wrestling Entertainment like I used to when I was 10 years old.
What inspires you to write?
What are three things on your bucket list?
1. Witness the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
2. Visit the ancient Samurai town of Kanazawa in Japan
3. Get a picture with Liam Neeson and Christopher Nolan
What do you want your legacy to be?
Writing one poem about love that is eternal as the emotion itself.
Ayushman Jamwal is a journalist based in New Delhi. He is a Senior News Editor at CNN-News18. Ayushman is a graduate of the Cardiff School of Journalism, United Kingdom and started writing poetry when he was a student at the Doon School in Dehradun. He lives with his parents, younger brother, grandmother and dog Leo.