In 2001 when I took up a job at Wisden, I told myself that this would be the last job of my life, I’d become a full-time writer after this. Well, that gig lasted a bit longer than I’d expected, as Wisden bought Cricinfo and I was its managing editor for a while in India, but I finally managed to break loose late last year. Immense relief came. Vast quantities of freedom unleashed itself upon me.
This does present a problem, though. Every once in a while people ask me what I do, and will not be satisfied with any answer I give. If I say I’m a blogger, they look at me as if I’m mad. If I say I’m a writer, they look at me as if I’m crazy. If I say I make crosswords for a living, they check my temperature, their clammy palm trembling on my sensuous forehead.
So I simply say I’m unemployed, and smile widely. I tried this at a quiz at NMIMS a few days ago (report here), when the finalists were announced. It was an open quiz, and all the other teams were from corporations or colleges. When our turn came to introduce ourselves, the quizmaster, a Kolkata veteran named Gautam Ghosh (not the blogger), asked me where we were from.
“We’re from nowhere,” I said. “At least I’m not. I’m unemployed.”
Mr Ghosh’s mouth fell open. “You are what?” he asked, his voice tinged with obvious concern.