Fresh are the memories when Glenn Drohan rang me at Club Quarters in Washington, D.C. It was the evening of April 1, 2006. I was among eight journalists desperately waiting for representatives of their host newspapers to be whisked away to the newsrooms.
I was assigned to work at the North Adams Transcript and The Berkshire Eagle, where Daniel Pearl prospered as a journalist. Glenn was the editor of the Transcript.
"Hey, Ojha, are you surviving? It’s Glenn, I am alive after a six-hour drive. Washington traffic is driving me crazy. I have brought you love from the Berkshires," Glenn said with his typical humor-tinged remarks.
Bewildered completely, I felt I must have met this person somewhere and sometime in the past. His simple and informal way of speaking, filled with jest, removed all my fears of working in a new environment.
After two weeks of intensive training on the basics of American journalism and society, I drove up with Glenn from Washington, D.C., to the Berkshires.
During the five hour-long drive, we exchanged our views on a gamut of topics ranging from journalism, terrorism, Hollywood movies and fishing. I knew Glenn had a wonderful passion for fishing.
Being the Daniel Pearl Fellow, I was particularly curious to know more about Danny. As an intimate friend, Glenn clearly missed Danny, who was mercilessly lynched by terrorists in Pakistan in 2002. Through Glenn, I learned how much Danny
Danny’s passion for music and humor always made him an exceptional human being and journalist. I could notice Danny’s humor and humanity in Glenn as well.
English, being a foreign language, presented me with a formidable challenge working as a journalist in the United States. Glenn made my newsroom journey more comfortable by teaching the nuances of American news-style writing. He meticulously edited my news stories. I received the words of inspiration and encouragement in every edit.
"Ojha, don’t worry," he said. "Your English is good. I am just giving a tune up to your stories."
Glenn’s words always invigorated me.
He encouraged me to write a separate column featuring Nepal and Nepali culture. I continued my columns with The Berkshire Eagle as well where I worked for some three months during the penultimate phase of my scholarship.
Through Glenn, I understood the beauty of the Berkshires and knew the great people living in the Berkshires. Berkshirites changed my misconceptions about Americans, who are viewed as cold and arrogant in the other part of the universe.
Glenn was not only a good editor and mentor, but also a responsible guardian for me. He provided me such a wonderful familial atmosphere that I never felt uncomfortable visiting his house.
Of all the things, I am indebted to Glenn for treating me as a member of his family. Through Glenn, I was fortunate to find Marsha, with whom Glenn was living for quite a long time. I noticed a number good qualities of my late mother in Marsha. She took care of me so well that I felt being at home away from home. She was the epitome of compassion and love. I felt as if I found my mother who was missing for years.
Glenn lived a good human being and he left us with his humor and humanity. I believe he will be living around the beautiful forests of the Berkshires and at Mount Greylock.
Wish his soul remains in peace.
Ghanashyam Ojha is a political analyst at The Carter Center in Kathmandu, Nepal.