My then friends called me King of the long shot. From the early to mid-2000s, I was mostly a failing songwriter desperately hanging on the “dream” and taking any and every gig that would support my “habit.” I had a masters degree in marketing but hated the thought of being a suit.
My ex-wife often evoked the sane teacher in Japanese comics who insisted “seek a path and stick to it or yours will be a painful adulthood.” Me? I just retorted I had every chance as long as Bono from U2 still hadn’t found what he was looking for.
Of course, it ended up being that they were right all along. In the twilight of my twenties, I decided to shun rock-stardom and grow the proverbial pair. Yet, forever impractical, I ventured to study sound and film to keep my connection with music and maybe find like-minded souls to make art with.
It didn’t work out that way.
Coming back home after finishing media school in the US gutted me, because the reality was I needed a nine-to-five position to progress beyond a lifetime of eating instant noodles.
My mom had generously sponsored my education but did not care for a permanent moocher. Resigned to my fate, I said yes to first place that offered me a job, which was the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) in the autumn of 2009.
My two years at the PBC got me started in journalism. I kept to my job description the first few months and spent workdays recording jingles for radio or miking up reporters for outdoor broadcast. They called me “Nervous No...
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...t we consider objective merely perception or prejudice, especially in a problem-prone country like Pakistan? Is truth majoritarian, historical or divine?
It is the intersection of fact and fiction, where conspiracy theories and political brainwashing lurk, that interests me the most as a journalist.
My reason for applying to the Nieman-Berkman Fellowship is twofold. First, I want to be a world-beater and believe Harvard University can provide me with the learning culture and community necessary to sharpen my journalistic instincts.
Second, Harvard is the alma mater of my inspiration in writing and thought, Dr. Henry Kissinger. Three years ago, I read his political tome “Diplomacy” and it ignited my love for history and politics.
At 34 years of age and without dependents, I believe this is the right time for me to undertake a transformative learning experience.
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