Archive for June, 2010

Article on Corporate Culture for TalentEgg 🙂

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This is something I wrote six years ago while ago sitting in a coffee shop on 8th avenue. I posted it the last time I had a blog, about a million years ago. It’s kind of strange but it represents how I feel about the creative process.


Procrastination. I write the word out slowly and carefully in a beautiful cursive script. I trace it again on top pondering over each letter. I go over it again. And again. When I’m finished I underline the word. Then I draw a box around it. Then I draw a box around the box. I shade in both boxes leaving the word itself intact. I try to stop there but my pen stays firmly connected to paper.


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I was sitting at my desk working on something for Mooney On Theatre when I first felt the tremors. Growing up in India I had experienced a few earthquakes, usually not much more than a very short faint sensation of the ground shaking beneath my feet. Often I thought I had dreamed it.

However, today was different. Besides the obvious, that I am in Toronto and not in New Delhi India, the tremors were more powerful than I’d ever felt before, and seemed to last a lifetime. Also that tightening of my throat, that feeling of panic tends to be slightly more intense when you’re alone in your 20th floor condo than when you’re on the second floor of a family home.


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One of the most formidable challenges of working largely from home is managing distractions. If you’re me this could be anything from food, to laundry to open Firefox tabs, beckoning me away from my interview transcription (usually transcription is when I am most vulnerable to temptation) and towards creeping random people’s facebook pages (to the point that these are people I am not even really that curious about) and yesterday my discovery of the power of twitter.


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My First Tweetup

I approached the large table deep in animated chatter, on the patio of Caplansky’s with some hesitation. Although I didn’t really know what any of these people looked like IRL (in real life), I was pretty sure this was the group I was looking for.

I spotted Joallore, the Twitter guru who’d invited me. I said hello to a few of the people taking a seat quickly.

“What’s your handle?” was one of the first questions I was asked. Handle? I couldn’t remember.

“I think it’s @msaraf,” I replied suddenly uncomfortable that my lack of skill with the social media application that had brought these people together was blaringly obvious. When I said I was writing a story, they all joked around saying they didn’t know that “media” was invited. But if there was judgment the group was too kind to show it on their faces.


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I was at the Hasty Market below my building for an emergency Tide run yesterday when I encountered the woman with no fingers. I ignored her on my way to the back aisle where I know the laundry detergent rests flanked by cat litter and dish soap, staring into over-priced Tropicana juices (often leaking ever so slightly).

I grabbed the little red bottle and checked that it was not the extra bleach version or some strange variation, and headed towards the cash register. All of a sudden, as I placed the liquid detergent on the counter, a bunch of finger stubs invaded my field of vision. It was then that I first actually paid attention.

Though I had some trouble understanding her accent, I could make out the words “two dollars, two dollars.” It appeared she was demanding that I give her $2 of my change. When I told her (quite truthfully) that I didn’t have a job that paid, she asked for a dollar instead.When I refused again, she left in disgust.

I don’t know whether I was right or wrong to refuse her. The poor woman obviously couldn’t work due to her mutilated hands. But my defense naturally rise when someone demands anything of me, and that’s the real reason I said no.

I don’t know if I did the right thing. But my neighbourhood is cluttered with people just like her: pregnant, mutilated, with gaping holes in their smiles. Where do you draw the line? How do you decide who is worthy of charity and who isn’t? Especially when like me you are already, for bank account purposes, unemployed?

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I’m back

My last blog post was January 16: over six months ago. So much has changed and happened. I started and finished an internship while taking three classes and completing a 60-turned-95 day yoga challenge. I got the opportunity to write more than I hoped, and learned so so much.

I still feel I have so long to go, and so much to learn. But I’ve felt alive, everyday of this absolutely bizarre life that I have led over the past six months. More alive than I ever remember feeling while in the 9-5 grind.

I got the opportunity to meet interesting people, interview the Prince of Pot, write a feature for TalentEgg (who I still write for quite regularly) and cover a panel discussion at the Canadian Journalism Foundation. In addition I have become the assistant editor for a theatre website called Mooney On Theatre, where I’m learning tons!

The most exciting thing that’s happened to me though happened only last week. After an intense (and quite educational) interview/recruitment process I was accepted into the internship program at The Walrus. I start in July, and I’m so so excited.

I’m not sure where I’m going to take this blog, but I am going to start experimenting a little bit, so bear with me, and hopefully keep reading!

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