Sunday, February 22, 2009

Things Not To Say To Your Shrink When He Thinks You're Cured

1. All of us here think you did a great job, don't we Tanya, Natasha, Roan?
2. I will go now. They are coming for me.
3. Why don't you come home sometime? My wife will love it. She gets lonely in her attic.
4. Mmmmm...zzzzz....what? hummmmm...zzzzzzz...yes, you were saying? This buzzing is really annoying.
5. What buzzing?
6. That's what I said. What zzzz....buzzing....zzzzz?
7. Tha' medicine was really GRRREAT. Except after the 8th spoon, really.
8. So you think you have cured me. I have cured you. I could cure you.
9. Really? I can go home now? Great! The zoo was getting a bit crowded really. I barely had tail space.
10. Grrrr....rrrr...woof!


Sunday, February 15, 2009

VDay: Don't you just love a binge!

(Picture courtesy: Reuters)

You know, objectively speaking, I'm not sure whether these Ram Sena blokes do not actually have a valid point.

Valentine's Day and all the hoopla that goes with it is a tad tiring if I might say.

The Karnataka police of course have no sense of fun, throwing Muthalik behind bars on February 13, effectively ruining his V-Day celebrations.

But not a fat chance for the several odd couples who were literally given armed escorts to walk hand-in-hand into over priced cafes and pubs and blow their parents' hard earned cash on poofy schmoofies in dimly-lit rooms.

If you think about it, the ram sena came out the winner in this entire idiotic controversy. It was a wannabe hardline Hindu group struggling for recognition by slapping around the occasional couples on streets a few years back.

And now it is a household name all over the country. For aspiring hardliners, and there are many, its leader is something of a hero.

His preventive custody on V-Day will be compared to "self sacrifice by a martyr in the face of torture (read being forced to wear great fluffy pink underwear in public)".

We are a nation whose overworked security personnel shoot themselves on being denied leave. We are hard pressed for additional personnel strength. Yet we are forced to deploy them nationwide on Feb 14 so lovers can safely go on binges in pubs.

Why is there such an ambiguity on the intention of the Ram Sena? They are no moral vigilantes. They are just a bunch of molesters who try to hide their misdirected fanaticism under a self-righteous front of "upholding Indian's culture and safeguarding our women."

So treat them like you would any molesters.

I find the anti-moral policing groups who have risen to the occasion marvelously in ferrying lovers to and fro from pubs, clubs and cafes and raising slogans at Jantar Mantar and patrolling the streets for would be trouble makers a tad amusing.

I have always found that the best way of squashing dissent is by ignoring those who are seeking attention by raising ruckus.

Quietly arrest them, charge them, deny them bail and move on as if nothing happened. Let your front page news still be recession and Indo-Pak talks and cricket. The ones on the road who hope to milk the issue to death will be warned.

But we, with our inherent love of the dramatic, reacted exactly the way they wanted us to.

By sending pink underwear, raising it in the media, leading processions, commenting on social network sites and looking over the shoulders before depositing a quick defiant peck on the lips of our lovers.

So who's laughing now?

Getting back to the topic, if you leave out the ideological part of it, yes, V-Day is a pain in a place where the sun don't shine.

Is it just me or are today's giggling bunches of adolescents identical down to their noodle straps and low waist jeans and alien jargon of "ssup lova?" The hotels are packed with them and at every place it's the same question "Do you have reservation? Sorry we are booked today for Valentine's Day celebrations."

The traffic is a mean killer and I won't even go into the idiotic confetti that rains down on your nose every time you look up at lobbies.

I love capitalism, but even then I might add, in just few hours yesterday, crores of rupees better spent on development went into online bookings for flowers and gifts, dinners and drinks and car fuels.

Is Valentine's Day that big a deal or do we just love a binge?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

And then there was one

Hi to all.

I can't believe its been a month since I last posted. I'm tempted to pompously claim that I have been very busy etc. and thus the delay. 

But my boss might be reading this and call my bluff pronto. Damn connectivity and bringing people closer.     

The past few months have not been very good for the media. We have come under fire from every quarter. Many have lost jobs post a worldwide economic slump. 

Some others have taken a beating for supposed irresponsible reporting. The Mumbai attacks have elicited a vigorous debate on what constitutes good reportage. 

While I'm honour bound to defend my clan, I have cringed many a time at appalling lack of sensitivity in some of my much celebrated colleagues. Similarly I have grudgingly appreciated, if crude, but very effective news reporting that have led to action by authorities. 

the point in argument being the "torture" on camera of a six year old girl by policemen in Etawa and their dismissal thereof. However like many others, I wondered how it's possible to keep on filming the macabre display without attempting to stop the cruelty or at least interfering long enough.     

The blogosphere has been buzzing with criticism of the coverage of the 26/11 attacks, of media in general and NDTV in particular. Journalists have been accused of trivializing news before. But for the media, which gave space to even some of the harshest criticism of it, the debate would have run its course and fizzled out.

However, I have been meaning to write this post ever since I saw that a news item some days back that made me sit back and smile. 

Celebrated journalist P. Sainath of "Every body loves a good draught" fame has refused a Padma Sri. 

In his own inimitable style he said “Journalism should not be judged by government and journalists should not accept awards from governments they are covering or writing about.” Sainath compared it to “The external auditor of a company taking an award from the company he is auditing or scrutinizing.” 

I met Sainath in journalism college and the first thing that struck me about the man was his energy. Late into the night he walked the campus, throwing ideas at a bunch of youngsters eager to break into the world of media.   

K A Abbas once described Sainath as "incorrigible, irreverent, indefatigable and, at times, infuriating. To this I shall add one more word: incorruptible."

A Magsaysay award winner, Sainath perhaps underplays his title as a 'rural reporter' but drives his point with panache and humour that simply put, is him.

As all Indians who do not hesitate to claim Shah Rukh Khan or Amartya Sen as their "own", I have always thought Sainath as "ours" - of the media. 

In the face of intense ripping apart of our profession, crude generalisation and repeating cliches, I cannot help but feel proud and fond of a man who carelessly tosses away a Padma Sri on grounds of principles that many have found hard to walk away from.     


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