[Reader-list] News channel, orange juice and Naxalbari
rahulpandita at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 24 12:34:25 IST 2006
The world of channels was so lucrative that even Prime
Ministers began to break their fast 'live'
on TV channels. After he had taken a sip of orange
juice, a TV reporter asked the Prime Minister:
Sir, kaisa mehsoos ho raha hai? The Prime Minister
closed his eyes and just when the reporters
were about to remove their gun mikes, thinking that
the PM was not willing to speak, the Prime
Minister opened his eyes and recited a line from one
of his poems: kaal ke kapaal pur likh likh
ke mitaa ta hun, geet naya gaata hun.
It was such a dynamic sound byte, it had made the
Politicians had fallen prey to the habit of appearing
on News channels. When gun mikes of various TV
channels struck each other, it made the politician
forget the jingle of his beloved's bangles. These were
strange times, when politicians turned into actors and
actors vied for occupying a seat in the Parliament -
donning their khadi kurta-pyjamas.
He also appeared daily on the channel, holding a mike
in his hands. That evening, his uncle called. He said:
Son, you are becoming very popular on television. I
send all my blessings to you through TV only.
In his channel, two things could be found in
abundance: Interns and Editors. After Rajat Verma's
sudden exit, 'Lala Ji' could not trust any editor.
That is why he began playing 'musical chairs' with
editors. As it is, the Interns were doing all the
work. And also, the rice mill was making profit.
In the month of March, just before the expected
increments, the symbolic gesture of sacking employees
would begin. One day you reached office and found that
Ashok Mehta had been sacked.
Next day, Seema Chaudhary. There was a lump in Tiwari
Ji's throat. What if he is given a pink
slip (he was a business journalist)? His friends,
corrupting a slogan of a famous political party
would tease him often: Baari baari sabki baari, ab ki
baari Rohit Tiwari.
The sentiment behind running a 'sack campaign' in
March was that it instilled a fear among the
employees. Leave alone the increment, they would heave
a sigh of relief once they discovered that
their job was safe. But silently, they would take a
vow that by next spring, they would gain
employment in a 'professional' channel.
In the midst of all this, a 'Comrade' reporter came
back from an assignment from Naxalbari. Upon
his arrival, he called up a meeting of reporters. The
meeting began in an empty plot, opposite
the channel office, amidst 'Royal Stag' and 'ande ki
burji'. Comrade's face was red because of
his anger for the 'Bourgeoisie' forces. In the faint
light of a candle, he addressed the reporters:
Friends, I have had a meeting with Charu Majumdar's
son in Naxalbari. He has promised me that if five of
us within the organisation get together, he would
personally come and help us in establishing our Union.
What do you say? Are you raising your hands in unison?
He raised his hands. 'Wonderful', the comrade said,
looking at him. The mobile of a reporter rang. Another
had dozed off, after four pegs. Another went to
irrigate trees in one corner. Two quickly sneaked out,
uttering a feeble 'goodnight'.
The 'Worker class' was yet not ready for the
revolution. Spending yet another spring here and
next and next after that was their destiny.
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