Two things happened recently. One can be labelled important, while another should be called a piece of scrap. What’s important is the timing, how they coincided. I, just finished, Anderson Cooper’s, CNN foreign correspondent, book Dispatches from the edge and couple of days back got trapped into watching, Jugaad ki Jawaani on Aaj Tak, (had won many India’s best hindi news channel awards). The title was juicy and the program was devoid of any. Don’t take me wrong, though sometimes interested in other kind of juices as well; this time I was looking for something invigorating, something insightful but like every other time, it was sheer waste. Every now and then something will happen that calls for raising our perceptual defence even higher. And while cementing the boundaries up, a thought struck me, it came not as a sudden spark but it was sneaking slowly below the radar. I found it hiding in the crack formed by recent rampages, when I bent down to pick a brick in one hand while balancing cement mixture on the trowel in the other hand.
The subject matter for the book and the program was all together different but difference was more in the treatment. Book was thoughtful, thought provoking, it’ll make you standstill and force you to think about several issues. It was a memoir; a firsthand experience of various calamities covered by the journalist in 2005 where as the program claimed to talk about benefit, risk and cost associated with cosmetic & plastic surgery by using imageries of Bollywood divas. Profound topic and quite a timely program, in this rapidly changing mindset of Indian urbane class, nothing can be more important to know. It can be a question of life and death for many. I don’t have any objection to its validity. My question is, after investing nerve-wrecking half- hour what new did we get to know? Was the sole object of the program was to inform which celebrity has got which part chiselled? Even if this was the objective, the program was way off mark. And why is it so with every program? Why every program ends similarly? Why substance is lacking from news business? Big names are big fuss. There are some real good names and worthy too in Indian media, likes of Karan Thapar, Vir Sanghavi, Kadambri. Today is the time for Barkha Dutts, who is seriously lacking in content. I read three of her articles and there was nothing cerebral about them, those were very myopic. If you happen to disagree with my claim, wait don’t trust me compare it yourself with their foreign counterpart and please don’t try to sell me ideas like, in west they are more developed and have more access to technology etc. I don’t buy into these lies and for all the sceptics’ kind information, India is by far biggest media market and the proliferation of both national and regional channels are glaring example of that.
The question remains still unanswered, why the situation is so grim? And where does the problem lie? Is it in our mindset? It is in our collective upbringing? Or is it with the way we are taken to new millennium? Or is it with our how-does-it-matter attitude? We need to do some serious thinking, let’s sit together on cups of tea or may be some Vodka will do the trick; Then again next day, next problem and jabbering.
(This post has been delayed due to some unavoidable reasons.)