More than news
CNN anchor Monita Rajpal on the various experiences of anchoring.
Photo: Anu Pushkarna
TAKE ONE Monita Rajpal enjoys the variety her job offers.
"The most interesting interviews are with everyday people. Politicians give you the scripted lines."
Monita Rajpal has interviewed heads of states in her six-year long career at CNN. But it is the stories of people who have lost everything in an earthquake or speaking to a man whose brother is on death row that she remembers most vividly. Reporting about the Pakistan earthquake from London she says, "Words fail to describe how sad it is."
She is the news anchor for the European breakfast show "CNN Today", she also hosts "Art of Life" CNN's luxury lifestyle show.
Rajpal was in the Capital recently for a CNN collaboration with CNN-IBN, for a special series "Eye on India: Generation Next", shot at Purana Quila. Generation next, she believes, is unafraid to speak their mind. With every twelfth person in the world being an Indian. she recognises its power and potential. But she also notes the stark contrast between those who have opportunities and those who don't. Three years ago she had visited India to present the Young Journalist Award. "I get energised speaking to young people," she asserts, "they speak the truth."
Anchoring both a hard news and lifestyle programme, she clarifies, "`Art of Life' is not a fluffy show about the lifestyles of the rich and famous. It is business related if not completely hard news." She says the programme allows her to be creative, which she enjoys. "As human beings, we are not just one dimensional," she explains, "We want to know about culture and not just news." It's not just about breaking news, CNN correspondents, she believes, delve deep into matters.
The programme also exposes her to a variety of experiences. In Cuba she found a country "just wanting a better economic situation." Shy by nature, on reaching Venice and sailing down the Grand Canal in a gondola she decided to discard her reservations. She donned a carnival gown to immerse herself in the culture.
An avid blogger, Rajpal says that initially the idea was that reporters and producers file behind the scenes happenings. Emphasising that writing is her first love, she explains that her blog on "Art of Life" "evolved into my thoughts and experiences behind the shows or otherwise".
Based in London, Rajpal says, "India is the land of my ancestors, yet there is not necessarily a sense of homecoming." She looks Indian and is sad to leave but this is not home, as she has lived outside India all her life.
Rajpal recently shot in Jaipur for "Art of Life". With animation she recounts shooting an elephant polo match. "We were told elephants love running around and it seemed evident!"
With a bright laugh she refutes claims that she was ever a Miss India Canada finalist! "When someone told me that was on the Internet, I couldn't believe it."
Send this article to Friends by
Chennai and Tamil Nadu