I PICK UP the clock as the wail of the alarm pierces into my ears, sending a tingle through my half-asleep being. I shut it off with a vengeance, manage to push my feet into slippers and get off to a shaky start of the day. It is 5:46 a.m.
My resolution to keep early evenings on Sundays has never come off. A cup of strong-flavored Indian tea and a hot shower, however, transform me into enough of a human being to qualify for the day's work.
I sign in at 7:45 in the office. I go to the wire machines to pick up the news items and correspondent reports fed into the machines through the night. I place the news items on the language editor's desk and the reports on that of the service chief. The real work starts around 8:30. I savor sips of coffee as I translate news items from English into Hindi, the language of our broadcasts and the principal language of India.
While two of us fix attention on putting together the news bulletin, a third colleague adapts a report. In preparing the bulletin, we first deal with the South Asia developments and other such news that is expected to be aired without considerable changes, while we hold over the developing major stories lest there should be any updates.
The air show is at 10:30. By 10, the bulletin is ready. I give it a once-over and am all set for the broadcast. The air show goes smoothly.
After lunch, there is a report to translate and record for the evening show. The 8 p.m. program will be heard in India at 6:30 a.m. I record the feature in a booth instead of waiting for the regular Hindi recording session, which is expected to be extra crowded today.
At home I eat an early dinner, my wife and I watch "That's Incredible." My 7-year-old son reads what he calls a "slinky pinky" book. I sign the slip that has been sent by the school librarian. Tuesday
This morning it is a little better, not groggy like yesterday. A new colleague, a recent arrival in the United States, accompanies me to work. He is at the end of his tether over the use of English in the media here. He does not take kindly to the notion of a "fat" bank account. He is also distraught as to why people dress so casually here, used as he is to the spick-and-span ways of London.
It is a usual workday -- except that I happen to be the continuity person today, one who prepares the program as well reads a feature translated by himself.
The afternoon wears on, unusually quiet and slow. My service chief passes on newspaper and magazine clippings, items about the latest scientific developments. He often does that to help me keep abreast of these, since I present the weekly "Science Notebook." Wednesday
There are no last-minute updates or changes in the morning news bulletin. The world, it seems, is wading through the murkiest times mighty calmly. At home, though, my son is sneezing almost ceaselessly. On the way home, I stop to buy children's Tylenol, but end up picking up a whole bagful of things.
At night I watch "Quincy" on the box. Although not much of a TV buff, I seem to have grown an affinity for this honest, caring and passionately involved lone crusader and want to see him win. Thursday
Poland, as is usual these days, is splashed over almost the entire first half of the bulletin. Other than that, there is nothing much newsy about this morning's stories. The rest of the day I devote to writing "Science Notebook." I have to choose from a plethora of items. Finally I settle on the ones about the perilously warming atmosphere of the earth, the possibility of quasars being super-massive black holes, the role of aspirin in longevity, joint Indo-American exploration of microfossils and probable biological reasons for children being shy. I manage to finish almost half the script today. The broadcast is on Friday evening.
Back home. Kids would not settle on anything else than hamburger. "It is very cold outside," I try to put them off. As if I had a choice. McDonald's it is. Friday
A surprise awaits me in the office today. The colleague who reads the "Science Notebook" with me has taken leave. The script has been written to his style. I request another colleague to fill in, change the whole introductory part, make a few additions and write the rest of the script with the replacement in mind. We record the program in our scheduled studio time.
A friend has invited us to spend the evening at his home. The food is delicious and it is fun to be with friends where you don't have to stand on ceremony. Children have a rollicking time, not having to act extra cautious about not disturbing people living in the apartment below ours.
We eat in front of the TV. It is a video copy of an old Hindi hit we end up watching, an engaging tale of a poet who chooses to renounce a hypocritical world that grandly mourns his death while he is still alive. A highly emotional drama beautifully executed.
We leave quite late. It is 3 a.m. when we call it a day.