Sunday, August 12, 2012

No News is Good News!

Disclaimer : No journalist or media-person was harmed during the making of this blog post.

You wake up everyday. I’m sure you woke up today, too. Once you are done with that, you get started with your routine. And one of the commonest human rituals is to read newspaper or to switch on the TV for news. (Unless you are one of those lucky people who are illiterate but content with their mundane ignorance!) Now, if your day begins with news, what does it say about you as a person? You are curious? Yup, always been. Want to stay abreast of current affairs? Great!

But what exactly do you do with all that you read and learn and watch presented under the garb of news? Nothing, in most cases. Following news is just another evolutionary practice inculcated into our daily life for knowledge’s sake. There is not much one can do about a majority of stuff out there on the paper or screen. So why are we so fond of news, be it good or bad? Because we are an entertainment-loving species and news is gossip presented in a very refined manner. As elementary as that.

On a personal scale, I relish half-baked truths. I have them for breakfast daily. The French in me calls it biscuit. They call it news. To add to the misery, I read something or the other every morning which tells me I should quit reading them. But I never do. In fact, the recent events revolving around Barkha Dutt, and the 2G scam... made me realize that even some of the oldest media giant might go down for news. Meanwhile, I’ve got no doubt that the world would miraculously change for the better the day we stopped reading newspapers. But then, even if I switched to TV, I’d still be hopeless. After all, in India, the thin line separating TV news from TV soaps is almost invisible now. And this has been the case long before India TV decided to put the media in comedian.

You see, there might be absolutely nothing out there to report but our media will beautifully turn it into news for gab-hungry masses. Anyone can create news out of thin air. If nothing else works, the media can report on the thinness of the air. [No, wait, the weather bureau is already doing that, aren’t they?] Moreover, watching news destroys a few of those newsworthy moments that could have been ours. Being the minions that we are, we’ll never know what is true and what is being reported as true. Unfortunately, rumours won't give up on news at any cost and vice versa. Fortunately, the spread of fire will never catch up with the spread of its news.

One lesson newspaper teaches us every single day – better not believe every crap you read. Times changes, perceptions changes and of course, news changes. Remember when they got Osama (at last) and how he got killed by breaking news? No one was allowed to see his face nor his dead body but we somehow managed to gulp the shoddy information of his demise. At that moment, the less you looked out for news, the more you’re convinced of the sheer wastage of time and energy.

And the hard part is when they collect too many viewpoints at once and make you look confused than a newborn dinosaur. Goes without saying, the plural of news is nuisance. As a part of social experiment, we should read last week's newspapers and ascertain its relevance in present day, if at all. Or not check news, at all.

You’ll never come across a channel which will go “We’ve got breaking news for you! Damn. We just broke it!” That’s the whole point. There’s hardly anything sacred about truth or news or journalism at large. I don’t mean to sound cynical but everything is commerce now-a-minutes. And the day each one of us is happy is the day news dies.

The Mumbai 'Local' Mob..

Mumbai is one of those cities where life moves faster than excuses. 

Every one is in a hurry. Here, we don’t have time for rationality about speed and deadline. 

We just work. We just do our jobs and move on to our houses for a good night sleep. 

That’s pretty much the case in almost every other metropolitan city, which is fueled by dreams and ambitions of gigantic proportion.

Mumbai is fast thanks to two reasons:

One. Coz of it’s local trains and other is the people traveling in it. They both compliment each other, pretty perfectly. 

The crowd and hustle-bustle that comes with these trains in Mumbai is a legend of sorts that can’t be ignored. People literally breathe into each other’s lungs with hardly the space to share fresh air. 

According to Wikipedia, more than 5,000 passengers are packed into a 9-car rake during peak hours, as against the rated carrying capacity of 1,700. Literally, that means, 14 to 16 passengers are standing on each square meter of floor space.

Now, imagine you are one of those 14 to 16 passengers stacked in that bogey and the train stops in middle of track. How do you feel? The answer is simple.
You are utterly frustrated, distressed and would want to break free. 

There could be hundreds of reasons for that train to stop there. It could be failure of signal or could be overlapping of time schedule thus creating a case of traffic. It could be anything but we forget a more occurring possibility there.

It could be due to a passenger who was hanging on the foot-board a while ago, but accidentally bumped into the passing steel structures or it could be someone who just slipped off the least of support he had.

It’s a mere coincidence that in a city of 14 million people, around 4000 people die due to accidents related to trains every single year.

I came across such incident just a week ago... when the train stopped abruptly on the 8-km distance track (which is the longest distance between two stations in whole of Mumbai) creating a flutter of anxiety. 

As I was hanging on the foot-board like ‘Tarzans of Bombay’ do, I could see it quiet clearly why the train pulled the brake. It was a bloodied man lying on the side of the track. The man was in severe pain and was lifted by 3 men from Railways into the furthest bogey that the motorman occupies.

I’m glad I witnessed this,
but I just wonder, that it could be me or you the next time we hang onto the overcrowded train on a one footed support, to fight time and deadline!...

To Fight Time and Deadline... Seriously? :/ 

Friday, August 10, 2012

The "Once Upon A Time" sorta Thing ..

In a faraway land (No, Not the places Dora, The Explorer shows us), there once dwelled a vain Princess, who had nothing to do, except look forward to her Prince Charming

She was hypnotized to do so by some creepy writer who thought it was soo literary-like to dictate a lady whose only claim to distinction was her fair smooth skin and long golden locks.

As scripted, she patiently waited by the window, Day in and Day out...
She hoped PC would arrive someday on a White Horse (Which aptly makes her a bit racist!) and help escape her moribund existence.

Of course, she wasn’t sure what kind of life PC might provide her once she hops on to sidesaddle him. But the fact that she didn’t know how to clean or cook kept her confidence high and expectations low.

More or less, the future was bound to be better out there on the wrong side of window.

Holding all these reasons in her empty head safe, she persisted.

In the meantime, PC took a lengthy detour and got killed in the ensuing freak accident which involved his horse and a mare.

End result: He didn’t show up.

The poor Princess, unaware of this bone-breaking news, kept her faith.
While she was at it, she lost some weight too. No one bothered though as she wasn’t suffering from anorexia.

Besides, the worst that could happen was some modeling agency landing up at her doorstep and window-shopping her. It didn’t matter who rescued her as long as she was loved by the idea of freedom. Whatever that means.

Meanwhile, weeks grew into months and months got substituted by years and eventually time lost track of itself.

Neverthemore, the frail Princess was still lonely with no Twitter timeline to pour her frustration on nor Facebook friends to photoshop her emotions with.

It was advisable to learn something new like cooking, gardening or knitting but she simply wasn’t interested. 

Her thoughts were with PC (who should have been alive had he respected equine privacy) and prayed the feeling was mutual.

One afternoon, a frog enters the story timeline and startled her. 

He croaked,Sweetheart, this is me – the one you’ve been waiting for all these years.”

On witnessing a frog that spoke fluent English, the Princess turned pale and was about to faint before she blurted out,Are you my PC?

This abbreviated question knotted frog’s long tongue and infuriated him,Now who the fcuk is PC?

Having a pair of ears that weren’t subject to harsh words, she got scared and instantly replied,Prince Charming!

The frog smiled like they aren’t supposed to on Animal Planet and was relieved to say, “Yeah! That dude’s me.

There was a long awkward silence and a longer staring contest between the two before the restless frog interrupted: Well, this is the part where you kiss me and we live happily ever after.”

Taking the cue, she lifted him up on her soft palm and closed her to eyes to oblige. At this very instance, the inevitable happened. 

She turned into a frogess and there was no way to go back other than live croakily ever after.