Diary of a Girl at CMO

CM n me

Not many get the opportunity to be on the Chief Minister’s team. For youngsters like me, this is a rare opportunity. The reason I call it rare is because I consider myself fortunate to be the youngest person at the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO).

I’d not have taken up this job had it not been for Nara Chandrababu Naidu as the Chief Minister. The job didn’t come easy. My boss spotted the potential in me that I was oblivious to. Initially, I was skeptical to take up the job, considering the fact  that my career as a journalist would end forever.

I finally took a chance. I’m glad that I’ve chosen to opt out of media. Yes, this is my honest confession. Not because I’m blinded by the Chief Minister’s spell but because I realize that one becomes pessimistic as a person in media and stops seeing/believing the positive side of things. (True Story).


As a kid, if there was anyone who I thought deserved the Chief Minister’s title, it was Chandrababu Naidu. He was the Chief Minister of (United) Andhra Pradesh (between 1995-2004) when I was in school. The first ever glimpse of Chandrababu Naidu I caught in my life was when I was 8. I was at an Aero Show where my uncle lifted me onto his shoulders for me to catch a glimpse of Chandrababu Naidu who was speaking from the podium, at least a mile away from where we were seated.

I felt a sense of joy. Because my parents did not accompany us on our trip, I was screaming to them in joy, “Yay! I saw the Chief Minister.” It was probably because I grew up in a family that believed in this man and that he would do something good for the people of Andhra Pradesh.


However, as the years passed by, my interest in politics deepened and that’s how I ended up being a journalist (by choice). As a journalist, I was trained to question everything. However, over a period of time, this profession makes you a pessimist and you wouldn’t know it unless you are out of media. (True story, again!)

My view of Chandrababu Naidu began to change on the job. I became apolitical. I believed every wrong thing said about him. At that point, I did not know that the profession I was in would feed me with negative news to suit its own needs. I believed that every media organisation was true, ethical and did objective reporting. I was wrong.

I realized this only after I got out of media. I realized that some of the people I adored as the country’s greatest journalists turned out to be corrupt people with selfish motives. However, while I was freelancing for Al Jazeera, I got an opportunity to interview Chandrababu Naidu. Getting to his chamber for the interview took me four days because this was soon after he won the 2014 elections.

That was when I met him again, after 16 years. After the interview, we shook hands and I left my card with him. I felt a sense of pride after meeting him. My only regret was that I couldn’t take a picture with him because I wasn’t allowed to take my phone to his chamber.

Later, for Yahoo Originals, I wrote an analytical piece on what lies ahead for him after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. Few months into freelancing, I was asked by a journalist colleague whether I’d be interested to work for him. I blindly nodded and went to meet my boss, though I wasn’t sure of the outcome.

And, I was asked to join CMO that day itself. I needed time to absorb the fact that they chose to give me the job. I spoke to several people whether this would be the right decision. I took it anyway. And, I’m happy I did.

I do not know Chandrababu Naidu as a politician. I do not want to dwell on that. But, Chandrababu Naidu as the Chief Minister is a man of action. (I’m not blinded by him or his words). Never have I seen a leader so committed to do something for people. Even in internal meetings, he talks about how he wants to make the state better & liveable for future generations. He believes in giving back to the society and he works towards it.

A result and goal-oriented man, a man of few words, a man who believes that execution is the key to good ideas. A learned man who thinks there’s no end to knowledge. Writes down every single point he thinks is important. Underlines facts he wants to highlight.

He writes notes/words which he doesn’t know and tries to find out the meaning and context of their usage. Has great memory power and calculation ability. Reads anything and every bit of paper when he has time. Loves to learn from youngsters. Inspires people around him. Likes people who are confident and show results. Is impressed with innovation & technology. Always positive & accepting to new & big ideas. Above all, a great human being.

I consider myself lucky to have been observing this magnetic man for the last 11 months so closely. I’m lucky not because I’m there but because he believes that I can live upto his expectations. I’m also lucky because the missed photo op after the interview that day resulted in many photo opportunities that I later earned myself.

I love my job. I love the fact that I have an opportunity to be part of AP’s story.

He is the reason why I continue to learn every day. Every day is a new challenge. He encourages us to face them and learn from them. If he is working for 14-16 hours a day at 64, why can’t I at 24?

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Diary of a Girl at CMO.


7 thoughts on “Diary of a Girl at CMO

  1. Its a great write up because its real to all ends. You are with the best of the leadership, your learning and wisdom will now be forced to push upwards and ATB!


  2. Wow! I was beginning to envy you while reading this. I didn’t know you freelanced for Al Jazeera! You landed this important role without applying. The CM—a learned man himself—expects great things from you. You must be quite a talent, commanding faith and respect of veterans who know their onions. Best development student at IIJNM. So impressive! And I’m happy that someone from the journalists’ tribe is excited about their job, which is a constructive one, unlike our profession. More power to you! 🙂

  3. When i got a first chance to meet him in 2005 I still remember the words he said to me.. If you want to serve for the party you are always welcome but he asked me to do that after completing the graduation/post graduation.
    Reason he told me:
    If you are ready to work for party/for him, i will expect something from him in my life, he may not be in situation to show that path to settle in life, but having graduation/post graduation degree will do that..

    This happened before 10 years.. but still i cherish the moments i met him and spoke to him..

  4. When I was asleep and was sinking into another cushiony dream, my mobile droned at wee hours indicating that I got some mail. Hardly opening the lid-shutters, I eyed it casually. A mail from her warbled and made me wake out of my slumber. It was, of course, a very routine professional mail (Fri, Apr 17, 2015 at 12:27 AM- MoUs signed in Chengdu), detailing the MoUs in China. But, the whistle with trills and quavers I heard in the mail was nothing but her youthful zeal.

    Since I am fortunately her colleague as the editor for Andhra Pradesh Magazines (Tel & Eng), I have been in receipt of her timely, swift and crisp press notes. What I understood from her mails, that make beeline before my inbox, if she had 36 hours in a day, her schedule would still be packed. I suppose, her presence of mind and as sweet presence abiding in her make her colleagues sense and be inspired by.

    Despite having never had a day without at least half a dozen tasks going at once, she is surprisingly not a self-confessed workaholic, as workaholics are very conscious of their work. Persons like she could have room for a lot in their routine, perhaps because she immensely love and enjoy what she is doing.
    Her profile pic of poise and pearly smiles makes me further surprised how she could behave differently from her ‘trendy’ peers!
    P.S.: Pagadalu means a precious gem.

  5. It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be
    happy. I have learn this submit and if I could I desire to suggest
    you few interesting things or tips. Maybe you can write next articles regarding this article.
    I desire to read even more things approximately it!

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