Please tell us about yourself
RJ Mandira (Mandy popularly) hosts the most popular breakfast show on Guwahati radio and bajaos every issue in the city over her channel Red FM. Her chirpy and vibrant voice is an instant energizer for Guwahatians and her show has remained the most popular in the city consistently for over a decade.
What did you study?
Born and brought up in Nagaon, Mandy did her schooling from Christ Jyoti School and her graduation in Political Science from Nagaon College. Thereafter, she shifted to Guwahati to pursue Masters in Political Science from Gauhati University. Excelling in studies all through school and college, she went on to top the university. Hoping to be a teacher she even cracked the National Eligibility Test (NET) and State Level Eligibility Test (SLET).
Tell us about your career path
Completing her studies and going into the practical field to look for jobs, Mandy realised the corruption that prevailed all around.
“I applied at many colleges but saw that those posts were already filled up by people with lesser marks, calibre and knowledge. I started feeling discouraged and considered quitting the education sector to do something that I’d enjoy – something I could do with my own calibre and not with anyone’s recommendation,” Mandy informed.
People questioned her decision of not taking up a career in academics and said she was taking a suicidal step. But the only thing that made her take the plunge was the thought of doing something on her own without shedding her principals. Her parents were very encouraging; they understood the dilemma she was going through and showed immense support.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and unusual career?
Talking to G Plus about choosing Radio Jockeying for a career, Mandy said, “I didn’t find radio, radio found me. Radio was then a new arrival to the city and someone asked me to give it a try. I casually went to give the audition and to my surprise, I immediately got selected. So I took the offer then and there without consulting with my parents or anyone else. Since then, there has been no looking back.”
Sharing her memories from school days, the popular RJ recalled, “I was a proper geek back in those days. I used to bury my head in my books and be a rank holder every year. When I look back at those days, I feel I never enjoyed my school and college days at all. I was a truly shy person who was never involved in a lot of extra-curricular activities. But yes, I used to love dancing and took part in various dance competitions.”
Having been a geeky, shy person for years, she credits Radio for bringing out her true self and boosting her confidence.
What do you like about being an RJ?
Mandy has been associated with Radio for about a decade now. Talking to G Plus about the current status of radio as a medium of communication (vis-à-vis the many media of communication that have emerged in recent years), she said, “Earlier, people used to say that TV had killed the charm of radio. But now, I really don’t think that’s the case because radio has also come up with a 360 degree approach to keep the audience engaged. Radio has been evolving with time. Now if you skip a show, you can find it online as we’ve started uploading our shows on the digital space to keep up with the changing trends.
“What I feel is that active listenership has increased. Traffic jams are a boon to us. People now spend so much time in their cars and that has led to an increase in our listenership. I feel that the old charm and respect for radio has always been there and that’s probably why people love to listen to the radio,” said Mandy.
In 2008, Mandy engaged in her first Radio Marathon that went on for 92.7 hours straight. She considers the marathon to be one of her biggest achievements in life and says, “The RJ Marathon was a huge feat for me as it really helped me establish myself amongst people. It was quite unexpected that people were actually tuning in to the station throughout the day and night. I constantly received phone calls and some listeners used to even visit the radio station. But the best part was the support I got from my colleagues as they used to stay up for me, come to office at 6 am with breakfast and take care of me. It felt like the entire city was involved – few actively, while others passively.”
Apart from Radio Jockeying, Mandy likes to read extensively. Among her favourite books are The Alchemist and The Great Gatsby and her favourite author is Jhumpa Lahiri. Her hobbies include travelling, camping, adventure sports, and trekking. She loves to go solo tripping and has had a fair share of bungee jumping and sky diving experiences. “If not an RJ, I’d definitely be a mountaineer,” says Mandira.