Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Gods Of Reality


Of all the things Evil needs to exist, Apathy is the most important.
6 AM: She enters the office with a pensive look and murmuring words to herself. She is charging with a uniform speed towards her office as a bull charges towards the matador. She calls for a staff meeting in the conference room at 7. The routine kicks in as the television is turned on to see the rival channels and scanning through the newspapers to see news which the channel has not covered. The ratings from last week have come along with the viewer complaints. She gives the rating a thorough look while the complaints are chugged into the garbage.
7 AM: The staff meeting has begun 10 minutes late. She does not look impressed.
"We reached a new TRP low. The channel which began a year back has higher rating than us. How the fuck did that happen??"
The room is silent.
"I know. It is because this room comprises of the worst journalists in the country who do not let a story go and never pick up a new one which is interesting."
"We have reports out of a village where a girl has complained against a local Godman saying he molested her."
"Ok. Has this "Godman" done anything on national level? What is the number of his followers?"
"I do not know the .. ex..exact figures but I would guess a district atmost."
She gave a venomous look," Then perhaps you should let local news handle it or those idiots at Hindi news channels! We need TRPs!"
"Madam next week, Ramesh Ghyan retires from Hockey after 17 years. Can we do a special about that?"
"Speaking of sports, what is happening with that cricketer who retires next month. Is the video package ready? What was it 8 years on the national side?"
"Yes Madam it is ready. We also have the interview with him at the end of the month."
"That is some good work. Finally!"
"Umm madam, what about my request for the Hockey Retirement?"
"Yes Yash. What is the National Sport of this country?"
"Hockey."
"What sport is watched by the whole nation and is on everyone's minds everyday?"
"Cricket."
"Exactly. So tell me what is my reply going to be?"
"Ok. I will make time for it on my Sports show today."
"Today we will run the life and times of Amitabh Bachchan as he turns 75. Major focus on him every hour,ok? No news story should interrupt for more than 5 minutes and hour. Is that clear to all the producers??"
A group of people nod their heads.
She pulls a journalist aside as the room is being vacated.
"Sukanya, where are you with the investigation of XYZ?"
"I will be getting a call from my sources any minute. They will furnish the evidence."
"Great. You will come straight to me after the call."
8 AM: Sukanya enters her office.
"Madam, here it is. Proof that the officials from the MNC bribed the village heads into accepting lower compensation. They even destroyed the crops as well as instigated riots. Once that happened, the villagers were ready to vacate the land."
She looks over the details with a smile.
“Excellent work! Now let me take care of it. Thank You!"
Sukanya smiles and leaves the office.
As soon as the door shuts close, She starts dialling a number.
"Well Aakash , it's Channel 8 news, We have some evidence of foul play involved in you procuring the land in MP for your fertiliser plant. Care to comment?"
A long conversation ensues which ends with a laughter-
"So it's agreed, XYZ will be the title sponsors for our Telethon next month. Nice doing business with you."
9 -11 AM: She is busy supervising the proceedings at the channel. She takes the call to reduce the feature time on the story a building fire because there was no report of casualties of more than 3. The Star Special was interrupted once again only to celebrate the century of a cricketer and to talk with "experts" on whether the current Indian Side was the best in years.
12 PM: Sukanya meets her at the production room.
"So madam will I be carrying the story this evening?"
"Sukanya change of plans, we will be burying the story. I don't think there is enough mileage to extend it beyond a week. Rajesh!? Come here."
"But madam.. what about the villagers and their land?"
"Well life is tough now isn't it?"
"But madam this.."
Sukanya is pushed aside into the storage room
"Now listen to me you petty journalist, I am your boss and I just gave you an order. You will follow it. You think your little story would change anything? The MNC has the strongest legal team in the country. They have invested billions here. You think the government will do anything to them? It will be a fine atmost. Besides, I need them for the Telethon next month. You drop this story or you can bid your career goodbye."
 2 PM: Second Staff meeting: 
"Madam I think we should put a regular focus on Irom Sharmila atleast once a week."
"Oh I am sorry, is this 2000? What will you want next? Still focus on the Anti-Corruption Movement? Or perhaps the Bhopal Tragedy??"
There is silence in the room.
"Rajesh here has done some extraordinary journalism and got us an exclusive leak. RAW had placed a high level asset under Pakistan's ISI. They now fear he is a double agent. I want the story to be carried at 4. Any suggestions for the title? I was thinking the "Double-Edged Sword of Espionage: India’s failed intelligence"."
"Madam I have got RAW on the line."
"Yes Mr Deshpande"
"You do realise that you cannot reveal this story. You are forbidden under the present law from doing so." A grave voice on the phone .dictates
"I am forbidden from revealing the name and rank of the officer. Not the fact that he may have betrayed RAW."
“You listen to me, If you go ahead with this story, you will endanger the security of our agents and nation. This is not some Parliamentary report or an expose on corrupt politicians. This is a matter of national defence!"
“Well the people need to know about the competency of the agencies protecting them. I hope that was not a threat. Our legal team will be ready to answer every accusation you may want to level. But what you should be worried about is the witch hunt which I will claim your organisation has against this news channel. I will get the army of journalists to line up with us. I hope you know when we say that the public has forgotten the issue, it is simply not true. They remember what we want them to remember, they forget what we want them to forget. And if I so choose, I can make this a constant nightmare for RAW."
The phone disconnects.
3 PM: "Natasha, I need a celebrity ambassador for the Telethon. No, I am not going to pay them a dime! Get me a scoop you have which can be leveraged for a favour."
Few minutes later, she dials another number.
“Hello, This is Channel 8 news. I feel sorry for you, the nightmare of having a starlet dating a married man."
The conversation continues for 10 minutes and ends with a wide smile across her face.
4 PM: She leaves the office and meets a guy on the way.
"Ravi, I am done for the day. Remember the lineup and the debate at 8 with the party spokespersons about the stupid thing one of them said the previous night. Let’s hope that they do it again. More fodder for the week! And remind me next week, we need to increase the time for commercials. Make it 15 minutes in every hour."
11 PM: Sukanya is crying in the TV Room. The crew is busy making packages or reviewing the lineups. The Channel is showing an interview with Indian Ocean as they perform "Des Mera".
Sukanya looks at the various screens in front of her. The lyrics and the images are in a rhythm.

"MP calls his wife a witch and accuses her of cheating in public" 

" Indians refuse to progress"- Is this the biggest betrayal by Salman Rushdie to his motherland?"

"ISI claims that one of their senior officers has died in a car accident”

“How safe are Indian Women? followed by a discussion with directors on the importance of Item Numbers and how they design them."

“Do we really need Sex Education or will it just degrade Indian culture?"

"India's 1.4 Billionth baby named Harsh, Government announces new scheme to control population."

“Building Fire kills 15, Builder cannot be traced."

Her tears stop as the last lines are sung,


"Sukhe naina, rooki ankhiyaan
Dhundhla dhundhla sapna
Aansu bhi namkeen hai pyaare
Jo tapke so chakhna"



2 comments:

  1. wow..precisely well articulated as always...the paid media of today sensatiobalize petty news..and ignore really important issues

    ReplyDelete
  2. The media, in the present scenario has a lot of influence on the public at large. They need to be reminded of Spiderman's motto, "With great power, comes great responsibility"

    ReplyDelete