Let’s forget for a while who the ultra-holy lad Hamza Ali Abbasi is, and let’s forget what the recently passed law in the United States about gay individuals is all about. After all, Aur bhi ghum hain zamanay mein “gay marriages” ke siwa (the world has issues other than gay marriages, too).  And talk about the matters that are more relevant to us than to the poor Americans living far away from here.

How many of you have watched Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas? I suppose a great many, if not all of you, have not only watched the Shah Rukh Khan starrer, but also may have profound memories of the classic. If I am led to believe so, then you may also remember the grand “Kotha” where the satanic beauty Chander Mukhi lives and sings to allure and pacify the unholy lad of Sir Narain Mukherjee, Devdas. Just close your eyes and imagine the pomp and show of Chardarmukhi’s “Kotha” and compare it to those of the dancing girls of Lahore’s dark upstairs rooms. Do you see the difference? Of course, you should if you ever have been to Lahore’s red zone area. Now double it. Double this dichotomy and you get the difference between what and how an internship course is taught in the class and how actually it actually turns out to be.

Let’s begin with some stats. The official website of Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) shows that, currently, there are over two hundred universities in the country. Almost 70 percent of these universities have independent departments of Mass Communication or Media Studies. In spite of the stark differences of quality of the faculty, availability of infrastructure, much talked about and least followed course outlines and stupid faculty politics, they have one thing in common. Guess what? An internship course. Yes. You are right.

The students are required do an internship of three to four months at a place neither of their choice nor of their taste. In an ideal situation, it should be the responsibility of the academic institution of the student or more precisely, the course instructor to engage him with an organization for an internship to gain on the ground experience where he could utilize his theoretical knowledge into practical work. But it does not happen in our part of the world. The trail of misadventures begins firstly when a student has to find an internship on his own. Secondly, he does everything during that honeymoon period of three to four months except The Internship! This is what happened to me when I was to do an internship at popular F.M Radio station recently.

I along with two other fellows somehow managed to get an internship offer at a Lahore based leading Radio station. Don’t know about other friends but I was very excited about it. I vividly remember that I could not sleep properly the night before I was going to join and work in the studio room of the F.M. The night went sleepless and I, while assuming myself as an assistant radio producer, made outlines for two programs. I did lot of brain storming and came up with two catchy names - “Blue Boys” and “Sheroes”. Both the programs were visualized to target the youth audience, one for boys and one for girls. I was thinking of myself as a genius cum producer cum RJ. But all my expectations were dashed when I was asked to sit in a fan less room during the scorching heat of June and to wait for the orientation with the station head for the approval of my" brain Childs".

To my utter disappointment, the gentleman station master didn't show up that day due to some unavoidable circumstances and I was asked to come the next day at 9 am sharp by a not-so-beautiful young lady who flattered herself by telling me that she was the youngest and the most famous RJ the F.M has ever had. She also quite humbly availed the rare opportunity of telling me about her fan-following on her Facebook page with exact number of followers and why had she preferred this F.M station over others. I nodded my head, raised my eye brows and made my ears stand up to assure her that I was astonished and quite impressed by her achievements at such a tender age. I bade her good bye, came back to my hostel room and told my roommate about the fantastic first day at internship that I had.

The next day I went to the Radio Station with a hope that I would get a chance to meet the honorable station head who would offer me a coke and allow me to execute my programs. This time I met him in his oval room. He asked me to help myself by taking a glass of water from a red plastic water cooler and instructed me to use the glass with extreme care and put it upside down over the water cooler after drinking the hot water in the hot day of June the 5th from a "hot" water cooler! I did as instructed, took my seat and spread a smile on my face. He further asked me to take some more water and whether I was feeling comfortable or not. To which I said “yes. I am absolutely at home sir”. Afterwards, he extended his warm feelings and said that Mr. Waqar I have spoken to Mr. Hassan Sajjad. He is an extremely experienced Producer of our proud team. You would work under his supervision and learn a lot. You may go now and wait for Mr. Hassan Sajjad in his cabin.

I left the station head’s room and went to see my producer. Luckily, he was in his cabin. He greeted me and told that I needed not to take the pains of coming to his office daily. Rather my internship certificate would reach me at my hostel address within a week. With that assurance from the producer, the whole euphoria of internship came to an abrupt end!