18 November 2012

Bring the 9 pm bulletin back

Where has it disappeared – the 9 pm news bulletin? After a long day of work, when I switch on the TV for my daily dose of news, all I get is opinion. Frequently, it’s one or two issues that hog prime time space with the same people from the same political parties going at each other’s necks. Does anyone really watch these tired old debates day after day? Where is the national news? And the less said about international news the better.

TV journalism (?) has taken a turn for the worse over the last couple of years and channels have willingly become platforms for political parties to boo boo each other. It works out well for both the TV channels and political parties: the former doesn't have to go in search of news stories and the latter are all too happy to have one issue catch the public imagination rather than have nosy journalists pick up stories from all over the place.

I remember how news bulletins at prime time used to have clearly demarcated slots for national, state, and city or local news. Now, the discussions that last nearly an hour leave no space for real news, except on the tickers. Why is this so? Am I the only one complaining? Or, have the channels assumed that people are anyway going to tune out and into a movie or a reality show, so why bother working hard for a news story?

There are no serious news stories being done, no exposes, no investigations. (But hey, there’s Arvind Kejriwal for that!) Just a passive sitting back with lobbyists from all over the place and let them do even the talking for you. News anchors seem to be present only to coordinate the ad breaks in between the shows.

Real reporting only seems to happen when there is a terrorist attack or some sort of natural calamity or an election, perhaps. Social media can easily take over some aspects of reporting such news events. Mainstream journalism in India is content with giving up its adversarial role and happy to be at best a stoker of controversies. If they have to be obsessed about the same issue, they could at least do less of discussion and more of digging around, perhaps? But that would mean work and making people uncomfortable. 

09 September 2012

Motherhood that looks and smells good

Bhargavi, when she was about a month old. 

Often, it’s the simple things in life that people don’t understand and miss out on.

Recently, I visited a credit card site in the course of some work and saw an image of a young couple obviously in love. The caption used words to the effect that said that the credit card made it all happen or some such thing. It’s an all-too familiar hook that advertisers use to get up close with the customer, but the problem is that people actually fall for this, and sometimes even without knowing it.

We begin to believe that we need the wherewithal to express love. We begin to believe that everything needs to be templatized in a follow-the-herd spirit. Hence, we ‘equip’ ourselves by buying whatever can be bought in preparation for the roles we must play in life, but when the time comes to actually don that role, we chicken out. Because, reality is much more than money can fathom.

Why I am thinking this way? Just today I heard from a friend how someone she knows was following the motherhood template: she had the posh crib from a pricey shop, a 24-hour ayah in place, and so on, but no time or intention to actually be a mother.

Motherhood is a one-way journey: once a mother, you’ll always be a mother. You can’t go back to the place when you weren’t a mother. You can’t expect that your baby will grow up overnight once your maternity leave ends. Motherhood isn’t always glossy. It’s wet, it stinks, and it’s sleepless. Yet, there can’t be a better feeling in the world than to be a mother. Now that I am a mother I can easily imagine how some mothers must feel when their children become uncaring and turn away from them. That’s truly sad.

What I said about motherhood applies in many respects to other roles in life. After the wooing with diamond rings and what not and the grand wedding, there comes the reality of actually having to live with the person – warts and all – day after day. No holiday from that. How many of us are ready for this?

Really, the most important lessons in life are ones that no one’ll teach you, but you’ll learn nevertheless.
If this post sounds like a lot of meandering, that’s because I am. Sometimes, it just feels nice to speak your mind, rather than collect and compose thoughts. Almost relaxing.