As a seasoned radio jockey (RJ), Nyla Usha, who is also an accomplished actor, has the gift of the gab. And while talking about travelling, Nyla, who is consumed by wanderlust, takes her volubility to another level and recently, she shared numerous stories about her trip to Turkey while relaxing in a tent in the middle of the desert near Dubai in the UAE.
“It was nice, it was beautiful,” she says about her Turkey tour. Nyla has been working as an RJ in a FM radio station in Dubai for the past 18 years and she in love with the cosmopolitan metropolis. The UAE, which taught her to dream big, brings colourful memories of her childhood in a flash. She vividly recollects how she had to move from a school at Al Ain in Abu Dhabi to Holy Angels’ School at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala.
“I was born in Thiruvananthapuram and we moved to Al Ain, a small island in Abu Dhabi, as my father was working there. I studied up to Class VII in Al Ain and used to wear long dresses and hijab while going to school. I know how to recite the Holy Quran too. But I had to return Thiruvananthapuram with my mother when I was studying in Class VIII due to some unexpected developments,” Nyla recollects.
She first went on a tour while studying in Class X and had a great time with her friends in Kanyakumari. While returning they also visited the historic Padmanabhapuram palace, which is on the way from Kanyakumari to Thiruvananthapuram. “That was the time when Malayalam flick ‘Manichitrathazhu’ was running to packed houses. We gazed in awe at the ‘mandapam’ where actor Shobana had enacted a dance sequence in the movie,” she notes.
Recollecting her college days, Nyla says that students who couldn’t get admission to BA Literature chose BA in Communicative English and she also took the same stream of study. “When I was in college, teachers used to accompany students of other departments when they went on an excursion. But no teacher was willing to chaperone ‘special English’ students and finally a staff member of the principal’s office and a nun came with us as guardian for the tours,” she adds. Nyla remembers borrowing a pair of jeans from a friend and roaming around the expansive tea plantations of Munnar in one of the college trips.
She worked part-time as an anchor in a television channel while in college and that was when she got an opportunity to anchor the Dubai Shopping Festival. As part of the work, Nyla was in Dubai for 41 days and used to walk past the office of Arabian Radio every morning to work. “I looked at the Arabian Radio office with great admiration and had a great desire to work there. When I came back to Thiruvananthapuram after 41 days, I was crestfallen as I couldn’t stay back in Dubai,” says Nyla.
After a few months, she got a call from the manager of Arabian Radio saying that they were looking for radio jockeys for a new Malayalam FM radio station that they were launching shortly. “First I thought that it was a prank by my friends. But the manager called again and later I joined ARN 6.7 FM Radio as an anchor in April 2004. I was back in Dubai and now I have completed 18 years in an office where I badly wanted to work,” she notes.
Every day she gets up at 5am to start rolling her radio programme at 6am. “I love the job a lot as I get to interact with listeners and have the opportunity to discuss world affairs. I want to here for the rest of my while,” notes Nyla.