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In the latest episode of Time Out with Ahsan Khan, morning show host and actor Shaista Lodhi and TV journalist Waseem Badami revealed interesting details about their personal lives, as well as their work in the industry so far. The two shared plenty of laughs and stories about their earlier careers with Khan, shedding light on their trajectories in the field and how they balance their work and personal life. 

Speaking of how he started out in journalism, Badami revealed that his close friends tried to dissuade him from pursuing a career in television since they didn’t feel like there was a future for him in it. “My friends used to ask me to focus on something else since they considered this a hobby. They used to ask me how I’d be a journalist since there were none in the family to put in a good word so that I could get a job. I used to go and give my CV at channels and radio stations myself because I wanted to become a news anchor.”

Badami shared how a news channel turned him away based solely on his looks. “I auditioned for a very big news channel in Pakistan and they sent me back from the gate, even though I went there through a proper process. A shift in-charge came out and asked what I wanted to do. I told him I wanted to be a news presenter, after which he looked me up and down and said, ‘I have 23 years of experience in this field and I am telling you newscasters don’t look like you. You can’t do this, so go out’,” he recalled.“I told him I only wanted to sit in front of a camera out of curiosity so just let me audition, the rest is up to you. So, he responded a little more loudly saying, ‘Newscasters look like you? No, they don’t. I know this, so leave’.”

But the rejection kept Badami going. “That day, when I was going back home on the bus, I spoke to God and told him that I’m giving myself five years and that I will give it my all during this time. You have to help me out. Two years later, I was at ARY and four years after that episode, I got an offer from the same channel.” 

On the topic of failures, Lodhi elaborated, “Sometimes, people work very hard and still don’t get what they want. In times like these, you need to realise that maybe you’re investing your energy the wrong way or in the wrong thing. But you need to understand that failures are also very important. They are the key to your future successes.”

When asked how they deal with external pressure, especially when it comes to politics, Badami explained the subtle blackmailing that takes place. “If people think blackmailing looks like threatening violence, that’s not the case,” he said. “It’s a very modern and cool way of doing it. For example, a person will say to you, ‘Waseem bhai, please understand, you’re going to leave SITE area after your show at this time and take this route and go to your house which is here. Why are you saying such things on your show? Please don’t say such things.’ Or someone says, ‘I love and admire you very much and if one of my people ends up doing something bad to you, I would be very upset’.” 

On the pressure to present certain type of content, especially the ‘morning show weddings’, Lodhi shared, “When we were doing my morning show, our plan was to do these weddings once or twice a week. We ended up getting great ratings for those episodes so an urgent meeting was called and the people in-charge said, ‘Do this for the entire week’. The formula worked so well for the rating.”

When asked about work-life balance, Lodhi explained that she feels both are equally important for a happy and fulfilling life. “There is nothing wrong with being career-oriented, but it’s important to set your priorities… that’s the most important.” She added, “If you have to take a break in the middle to balance things out and give your family more time when they are in need of it, for example when you’ve just gotten married or when you’ve just had kids, that’s okay. And then, when you have time, you focus on your career. You have to give time and attention to both. You can’t focus on just one thing and end up happy.”   

Lodhi went on, “Sometimes, we get very selfish when it comes to our work and our careers. We want to focus on it more. Both family and work suffer to some extent when it comes to balancing them. The older generation says things like, ‘It’s okay, you work, we’ll take care of the kids’. Mothers-in-law will tell you to just have kids and that they’ll raise them, but the truth is at the end of the day, you’re the one who has to raise them. Sure, they offer some level of support, but we have to give them time.”

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