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Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Of gyrating thoughts and Jai Shilpa Mata Di

Some funny things I came across in the past few weeks:

1. "I am already a superwoman in real life. Ask any married woman and she will agree to my answer." Aishwarya Rai Bachchan 'candidly' confesses this in some interview and it becomes public. Hmm. Now I could use my above 150 IQ brain to try and decode the -150 IQ statement by the industry bahu; it is just that I have things like Scary Movie to watch which are genuinely funny and even though they might insult someone, they will never taunt a married woman who could not marry into the Bachchan family. Tsk Tsk, oh how could you even live on the same planet as me, given you are not Aishwarya Rai Bachchan!

2. I saw him doing this in 'Dus Bahane' minutely before he asked Rani to 'Aaja Udiye' and then finally matched Mehmood's tone in 'Bluffmaster'. Now I see 'Desi Girl' and Mr Abhishek Bachchan is repeating the same pelvic thrust he has been doing since he was asked to dance. Now this man has few problems:
a) He wears a beard in a feeble attempt to match his father's thick mop in order to get more leverage out of being Big B's son.
b) In every film, he has to give that "deep eyes, sombre and bursting with intensity" expression by keeping that left eyebrow raised. I think he does that in order to ask the director whether he can go and take a leak.
c) He schlumps in order to hide his abdominal flab which is hideous. This handicap of his was most annoying in Drona where he thinks walking with his shoulders drooping will suck the tummy in and he can easily tell the audience that look, I am a superhero, balle balle.
d) The industry thinks that giving him only one step like his father (who had copied it from the legendary Bhagwan Dada) will take his career to heights.

3. I saw this programme called 'Chak De Bachche' on a channel called 9X. It would appear that the children in this 'talent' hunt are some bloody pop stars. They appear so damn professional that I had to watch this monstrosity that is one among many throughout contemporary Indian television. But you know what happens - apparently the children record their performances, and are then forced to dance (dance baby, dance) to the tunes of the show choreographer and ultiamtely reproduce the combined result for the shoot. Yes, the talented kids lip sync. Now I am a little too unclear as to why are you trying to make Ken & Barbies out of poor children. Some of them really belong to below middle class segment. Why show them dreams that might nosedive someday? Why make superstars out of them today when tomorrow they will be relegated to 'fly in the soup' status? But people watch it, as it is a programme that is, in my neighbour's words, 'a little hat ke'.

4. I overheard this bunch of young girls from India - "Even though they are the two most sexiest people on the planet, somehow I do not get that feeling from them. They do not appear... sexy enough to me, together." This was a remark on Brangelina (I so hate that word). Apparently when I shared this with few of my intelligent souls around, they all agreed without thinking much. And as always, I was not too happy with that. Who says they are the world's sexiest? People? Maxim? Empire? GQ? Grazia? Whatthefuck?
And who further adds that they epitomise "sex appeal" when they will be together? I mean, let Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie be sexy to each other as they are in love. Why speculate something like this? Last I heard, "Gouri Khan can not match upto Shah Rukh. I do not think she has any stuff in her." Ptch!

5. 'Shilpa Shetty is a true woman.'
Now I really do not know how to talk about the most recognisable Indian face in the world as put by our dearly beloved, 'The Bombay Times'. I hate her too not because of her success but the means by which she has achieved those. Do you remember Tulsidas? Now, when his would-be wife questioned him, he always kept quiet; it was this keeping the mouth shut that won him Tillotama. Ignorance was subdued by silence. However, Shilpa's calculative silence has done this - Jade Goody has resorted to the cheapest means possible in order to raise money for her cancer treatment; Jo O'Meara went on suicide watch and Danielle Lloyd was ditched by her boyfriend. Some wrath! I remember the angered News of the World columnist lamenting Shilpa's gain and poor Jade's loss. I sympathise with Goody.
I am just surprised by some people, esp Indians in particular. My ex-girlfriend had to say this - 'I think it is an overblown episode but then Shetty deserved to win all the accolades'. When I bluntly put forward Warhol's statement of everyone being famous in the future, she vehemently opposed by saying Shetty did not need to be famous, she already was a superstar! No points for guessing why our relationship did not work out.
It is not a sad but sick state of affairs where we let people like Shilpa Shetty get away with a lot. And no, no picture of her.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

TOI does it again... and again

It comes to me as a surprise would be the most inappropriate line here after what I have been reading about TOI's blatant attempts at plagiarism. A friend of mine sent a dismaying mail about her mother just became another victim of shameless plagiarism. The woman in conversation is Jyotsana Shahane who write a blog by the name of 'thecookscottage'. Apparently a reporter, Eeshanpriya MS, of TOI Pune East Side Plus did a story on Shivaji Market that was not copied word-wise but printed the very same photographs. When Shahane contacted the Supplements Editor Mr Diniar Patel, she was told that today being a holiday, he is unable to look into the matter. Sometimes under the garb of research, the reporters really dig deep and it seems this reporter dug really well. The blog entry was published in May, 2006. Funny? Amusing for sure.

On September 1st, 2008, Twilight Fairy reported the lifting of her photographs from Flickr. I was baffled by the audacity displayed by the editor Poonam Singh when confronted by the author and owner. I am not reproducing the entire conversation here but this is the most annoying part:

I wrote about 3 mails in all, asking for (a very meager) compensation for the damages done as well as credit. For one, I never got a response in written - but of course that would mean acknowledging the theft. When I called up, I was told that it is common practice to “use” free images from the net! Flabbergasted at the audacity of this all, I clearly asked whether TOI staff was blind or illiterate to not be able to make out the clearly written statement on my Flickr stream and my copyright license, both of which stated that my images can NOT be used without my explicit permission - ALL rights reserved. This is plagiarism in its full glory. Not only this, on asking for compensation, Ms. Poonam Singh clearly told me that as a next step I could even go to lawyers and that this case will then be forwarded to the legal department of TOI.

Now someone might point out the presence of watermark but then this happens. About Poonam Singh's response, the dialectical problem is with the misunderstanding of the freedom Internet offers. Then again, a supplement like What's Hot! is nothing more than a concoction of ideas taken from here, there and everywhere. So, fundamentally there is no original content at all. You very well know where did you read something similar the last time... or might just read it again. See, the Times of India is a huge media house with a turnover of over hundreds of millions. Although it portrays itself as a people's newspaper, it is nothing more than a money making machine. Nothing wrong with it, except that it lacks a strong base and uses marketing ploys to generate content. HT is no different. A long time ago (there I go again) the intelligent sunday guys came up with this as a cover story - Krrish Vs Superman Returns. No points for guessing why this was done. There was a huge cutout of the mighty superhero from Krypton and there were idiotic comparisons between the different characters from the movie. Here is the detailed story on someone else's blog.
The point is that everything is looked at from sales' point of view. Thank god there have been the blokes from the respected IIMs. The onus of responsibility no longer lies on any single person - the reporter blames it on the sub editor, someone else blames lack of photographs on the library, the editor takes a hard jab at the marketing clowns and everyone in unison boils the entire game down to the public. Read Kalabaaz's take on it exemplified by the famous advertisement shot in Pushkar of the young hockey player. The blog entry is titled "The Thieves of India". I'd say - mat kar, blog band kar denge saat panne ka legal notice bhej kar. Ha Ha.
When shown reality, they believe in flexing their currency-covered muscles.

I do not see people in journalism working hard at all. Look at this. But the more I will get into it, the murkier the discussion will become. As of now, do try and get involved with all the above mentioned bloggers especially Jyotsna's blog which needs comments so as to voice against these petty robberies. And do pay a visit to this one.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Viva Santiago by Colin Fernandes

Viva Santiago
Colin Fernandes

Penguin: New Delhi, 2008
Rs. 199

After a lot of deliberation, I decided to pen this review in first person, and in the manner I could, freely, express. What was initially planned to be written in a formal tone turned out to be a confusing affair; it would seem that lack of surprise, dismay of the lowest level at the banality of the tale and that Delhi urge to be cool killed my excitement of a new book. I now write this as a blog entry which will not only review the book, but take into consideration various accounts of the same, and, of course, display my devilish grin as I rip apart few things in my genuinely insulting tone.

I was eagerly waiting for Viva Santiago! My excitement was displayed in my congratulatory mail to Colin which I had sent as a token of appreciation for a former colleague who had taken the brave step of coming out with a book in such a short span of time. I am glad it was all short lived; not because of any personal differences (there is no place for that here), but it saved me the embarrassment of anything positive that I might have said earlier. For all the popcorn relish it offers, Viva Santiago is abysmally low in its attempt to be "that" thing (read that cool thing) in contemporary Indian literature. I share this sentiment with Sharanya who makes a good point -- a jovial, light-hearted read that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I saw the cover and felt let down. It is not Colin's fault at all; these publishers, who definitely lack the brains to do anything in publishing, tend to do this all the time. They did this with Chetan Bhagat's One Night at a Call Centre, Tushar Raheja's Anything for you Ma'am and Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss. These are all laboured works that definitely do not lack ambition but are highly anaemic, given their insincerity towards writing. Lest we forget, they were never serious. Someone like Jabberwock might like them. He is equally confused, except that he knows he is and others do not. Desai's justified award still finds a hater in me. This piece is about Colin's work however.

See, this is one of the problems I am facing. Despite reading it sincerely, I can not dissociate the author from his book. My Derridian ideas stopped me from doing so, initially; in the later stages, it was as if I am reading Colin's
blog or any of his contemporaries' (including mine). Anyhow... The story is about Alonso Gonzalez, a typical Delhi University lad who embarks on an impromptu and treasure to his hometown in Goa (Ah, will the ever surprises end!). He is aided by Yvette, a Canadian, (will the western conformism ever stop? and please do not wonder why is she from the white Northern Americas) who claims to know his grandfather. You see, the ol' man is the dude here: He mouthed the most over-abused cliche, that I personally dislike, of life being a roller coaster and mojito in one hand, and some jane in another, and there is a woo-hoo. Ok, my bad, I know the line like the back of my hand and it is not the coolest thing. It is like "I live my life a quarter mile at a time" or you know, "Life is a box of chocolates, you never know which one might melt". Oh again, my bad. You see, that is the problem with these cool lines - they can always be modified, just as Colin does, and cheaply, in his book. The original line has been read in numerous mails and those profiles that are either pretentious or just for "frandsip". Those guys can use it, not you dude. Oh, the grandpa! You see, the womaniser or the women-loving man lives in a purple haze, is addicted to Dylan (or so it is portrayed; you see, more coolness is spelt with things like these) and indulges in religious banter ((un)surprisingly, he is quite blasphemous at times).
Something is amiss here. He has left a treasure for Alonso. There is a gold chess pawn, a map and Yvette who discovers him in a Paharganj (Am I smiling at all the deliberations or what?!?), and, yes, there is lots of pot and umpteen references that make it so uncool from something that could really have been cool.

Everything is so Da Vinci here that one does not believe it to be real. Secondly, this unrealistic ability stems from the convenience with which the book has been drafted. After all, Viva Santiago ends with the line that it was written in three weeks. I remember going through Colin's blog at that time and reading the 2-sentence entry before the book and the one that followed. I was interested in his book since then. I just did not know that he is hell bent on disappointing his readers to that extent. Everything is picture perfect: friends, family, hippies and a woman on an Enfield attends Grampa's funeral. The transition from student-life in Delhi to rolling joints in Goa happen with such an ease that you wonder whether there exists an understanding of intertwining and parallal narratives. Narrative, it seems is a paralysed entity here. A premature birth results in long scars till the end of the book.
Everything is touched on; it is as if the Penguins asked Colin to write a travelogue of his home state, heavily intoxicated and put in every modern cool film in it. So there are pig-killing rituals, Grampa exhibits traits of Col Kurtz, Paul Newman and, very annoyingly, Bruce Dern and Walter Mathau packed in one. And all of them are smoking pot. You can imagine Lee Strasberg would have killed Elia Kazan and then hung himself upside down.

In Hindi, there is a proverb that goes, kahin ka roda, kahin kee eent. It means pebble from somewhere and the brick from somewhere else. That is the recipe of this book that uses random photographs (and anecdotes, many of which are doctored heavily) to suggest something - that everyone is on a trip. Hence, I wonder, whether in an annoying manner, Colin brilliantly weaves a tale that probably exists in his stoned world and could be real in some parallel universe. But then, sadly, Mr Fernandes, your readers are well aware of such fables... Or the existence of their thought for that matter. So yes, dude, it is a brilliant story if it were narrated to me on a corner in one of the old towns of Goa or Rajasthan and we were two strangers whom pot brought together. In that sense, I smile. But I know, this drug-induced bliss is momentary. Unfortunately, your book does not even provide that. Probably in some other universe, some other time.


I presume Ridhi Kamal Parekh of DNA needs to get her head examined and same goes for the retard called Amarinder Sandhu. I wonder if they are Colin's friends because that is how things in Delhi and Mumbai are moving these days - because of these cool chuts. Last I heard, Complusive Confessor is already on her way to become India's Carrie Bradshaw.

Ridhi is from DNA and her review is horrible. Same goes for SAndhu. Both these writers present an extended version of the jacket, which I must admit is so not cool. It destroys the reading by raising the reader to a pedestal with drums beating and hearts pounding and it is as if Girls in the US are awaiting the arrival of Beatles for the first time... And then, Poof! The first lines tell you that this is a hurried affair by a good writer who has hardly put in any effort apart from watching a couple of DVDs and indulging in useless banter with his accomplices.
Ridhi's review is titled 'Da Vinci Code for those who love Goa' and the Tribune reporter calls it 'Dylan code deciphered'. Hmm. I wonder if they even deserve my insults. I think they should be fired immediately. For instance, Ridhi writes, 'Fernandes peppers the story with interesting (some might say useless) anecdotes about the family'. What is this diplomatic (read two-faced) line? Sandhu goes a step ahead by using phrases like 'joyous wit', 'whacky humour', 'vivid story', but the funniest bit is this - The reader is taken on a roller coaster ride while reading. The book is fast paced and easy to read. The writer has caught the sights, sounds and smells of Goa.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! No offence Colin, but are these your friends? Did you pay them anything? Because if you did not, then I suggest, make them pay you immediately for writing such reviews.

Most importantly, the only thing kaleidoscopic in the novel is its cover artwork, which I do not see as creative. It draws heavily on LSD-induced scribbles that still line some of the ol' shops in Camden or Goa for that matter. Because if the twists are hailed as kaleidoscopic, then I have to say something - the mystery is known to everyone except the reader who has his own mystery as to why he chose this book. It is not bad. It is readable but it is purely bad fiction as Sharanya observes. There is nothing worse in the world than bad comedy and bad mystery. And you can not be forgiven Colin because mystery and innocence are not akin; hence you can not escape with the argument that this is your first book.

Now, the insults begin. You see, people like Colin in modern, urban India are led to believe that they are the first ones here to be cool. The protocol increases with terms like - smoke loads of pot, act cool even if you are not, listen to Dylan and Cobain at the same time, act cool even if you are not, talk about everything that has a cult following and lest we forget, act cool even if you are not! Hence, when he got the book deal, I was just wondering whether he deserved one. It is not him who generates kind hate in me, it is his form, that specie which generates so much of love inside my heart for these bucketheads. These are the people who call themselves hippies, yet work with rigid conformity to Americanised ideas. They might be reading Kerouac and Ginsberg and treating themselves (thanks to their proximity to local bands trying to create 'music') as the Gen Next for these tough globalised (?) times but are hardly anything global or modern in their outlook. They hail themselves as kids born in wrong time and they rightfully deserved to be in the flower power era and all that jazz; their lifestyles and thought processes speak something else. And in these times, it is absolutely essential that they are told that they are wrong and their supposedly cool ideas have been here even before they were just eggs. Unfortunately that does not happen and they end up doing this.

I have faith in Colin's writing but look what conformity to the thought that he must pen a book that can sell, did to him. I am not insulting him because I hate his luck, but because it is a sad state of affairs in contemporary creative India where "how cool" is something that determines the creative quotient of any product or idea. I do not think MTV Roadies is good Reality Show programming or Get Gorgeous and its BitchDiaries is anything interesting to watch. Mouthing "fuck" and "gaandu" do not show that your programme is not laboured or it is downright real; Bani had to become a VJ and it was obvious by the 4th episode to everyone in Roadies 4. So do not insult the intelligence of the audience, whosoever they might be. Again, over there you have cool people like Nikhil Chinnappa, who let me tell you is one of the most obnoxious and phoney people you will ever meet. Seriously!

This cheating of audience is not healthy, nor is it new. I just wonder if Colin takes a serious clue from here because the one good thing about his book is - it can easily be made into a cool film. (I do not use the term movie as it is a slang.) Yes, I assure you that anyone with an interpretative method can create a nice silver screen adventure. But, the operating word being interpretative, which would mean that Viva Santiago will have to undergo a lot of changes and get rid of its phoney and deliberate character. Probably I will, when I have the money because some of the stuff in this book is just so cool Colin!

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Where are the journalists?

When I read the news about Pankaj Paul, HT's chief man, going to United States to recruit people, I had a problem. No, I had a big, fuckin' problem with that. My biggest complaint with Indian journalism has been that of lack of proper training. And there is more than one ways this comes out. I shall get back to the main problem of Pankaj Paul's recruitment of journalists from the outside for the inside.
First things first.

1. Anyone can be a journalist today. There are no specifications. Often I hear that "nowadays there is a lot of money in Mediah; Media is a lucrative career; there is so much you can do when you are in Media." True, if you know how to properly define media. Keeping a subjective definition from the self aside, it is important to assess the power, role, idea and independent capability of the kind of media involved. But to enter the bloody field on the pretext that includes the above mentioned and several alike in nature is just so stupid. My problem is that it is encouraged. That is the problem - the lack of class in every aspect of the modern society is creating more disturbances than ever in the 21st century.

2. Too many schools, fucked up training: A friend's friend had just joined HT in 2005. He was a graduate of Amity School of Communication. Till date, he is disgusted about coming from that place. Another one was educated at the "prestigious" IIMC; there is nothing prestigious about that bullshit of an institution. Journalism is about news sense, understanding the power of words that can affect consciousness, and most importantly realising the importance of the CHANGES. How do you teach this to somebody in a fuckin classroom? Last I heard, a friend from TOI whose entire career spans not more than 3 years and a byline bouquet that is there courtesy the PR people, was teaching at one such school! The schools lack equipment and the expertise to create a good curriculum. What they also lack are good old grammar/spellings/writing books?

3. The misguided training continues: Once inside the office, those so-called beautiful newsrooms, there is no way someone imparts proper training to these rookies. They are forced to think what they are writing is all cool, you know that whole "oh you start from somewhere, some bloody scratch you know." One mistake and they are humiliated by those fat lards of women and men. The problem is that everyone thinks this is the way to learn. So those people (Pratyush Kanth) who were shouted at few years (read at least 10-12) ago think that the only way to induct the newbies is to subject them to this torturous method of learning. No one however has the time to teach you grammar, analysis, developing a proper code of dialectic for every story and the whole idea behind news. If you are good, you are accepted and if you are bad, then again you are accepted. They need workforce, not horsepower. This is the most troublesome phase. Nobody is realising the problem, let alone cure it and even my contemporaries are following the same bloody trap. The flip side - those who find the problem see being sympathetic to the rooies as the only solution. That is worse!

4. Absence of reasoning: It is not one of those 'you either have it or you do not' things. It is a power, that needs time to develop. Reason is a composite function of knowledge, experience, humility, passion and patience - none of which are present in today's journalists. And those who replace this with inverse snobbery (Sonali Chander), hierarchy (Barkha Dutt, Sagarika Ghose) and idiocy (Nidhi Razdan, Paras Tomar and numerous other PYTs, from both the genders) end up blurring the lines between journalism and politics. Sagarika never knows what she is talking about, Sonali is yet to know what to talk about, and I can never know what Nidhi talks about as she is always so morbid. It is like her PTI papa did not teach her how to read news and she still has not learnt the ropes. Her journalistic skills - the lesser said, the better. And Barkha is just so bloody ugly, in every sense. I believe the fairy godmother is one fat ass, bitch who stumbled upon the proverbial potion of eternal beauty and all that jazz. No wonder there are her children in the form of Barkha Dutt. I mean how could someone be so darn lucky?

Now, what Pankaj Paul, PP to many, is doing would only aggravate the problem. It would make the outsiders the ones on the inside. A very few privileged lot shall be the ones calling the shots. They are the ones seeing the American media, its clones in Indian media but not the problems plaguing it. Barkha Dutt is a fine specimen (She is not a human by any standards) of someone who went to Columbia and then came back, made a blunder about the bunkers during the Kargil War and is now revered as one of the top journalists of the country. She has fan clubs all over. Girls have been hero-worshipping her for ages. So Mr PP, you wish to create more such clones?
So you are saying that an aspiring journalist in one of the schools in India lacks the class to be there but an Indian studying in the US of A in a "prestigious" school has earned the right by default? What the fuck? Why do you not make the efforts to churn out well-trained journalists from HT? Don't give me the trite judgemental arguments! Instead of having people like Paramita Ghosh, have those who can make your organisation work. If you see a bit of spark in them, at least use them properly.
There is never a shortage of talent; there is always a shortage of good mentors.
The point is are you setting a good example Mr PP? I would like to know what are you doing to uplift Hindustan Times that needs fundamental repairs not makeshift, glossy arrangements.
Think about it! For once, you bloody flagbearers of journalistic trade in India, THINK!

Friday, 28 December 2007

Death of a daughter

Bashing aside, I think the coverage of Benazir Bhutto's death in Hindustan Times is better than Times of India. However, the incident is no pretext to have a comparison/analysis on, but I still consider saying it rather than keeping it in my mind. It is rare I would like anything written by Karan Thapar, but over here I do. TOI raises important questions (of course, rhetoric aplenty) but HT ends up presenting it well. The former must do something about re-location of advertisements if it were to hold the reader. However I was a bit saddened to see the picture of a crying man projected in front of the burning vehicles. Such a terrible cliché.

It is indeed sad an incident for the country and its people who had those bleak hopes alive only because of Benazir Bhutto. However, few of my friends from Pakistan have maintained that unfortunately their nation has no strong leader left. One of them went to the extent of saying that it is because we have crossed all the options (Musharraf and Sharif) that we freeze on Benazir. Surprising? Not so much when it comes to countries like India or Pakistan.

My problem is not with the regime, the hukumat or the current politics. They are screwed on either side of the Indian sub-continent. My problem takes a look at history. There was a time I dejected the whole idea of History as a subject; my preference was that of leisure. While the professor/teacher was busy with her own monotonous take on the World War II, I used to be lost in my own world reading the lectures/books at my own pace. And though keeping that passion alive, I also prefer reading history more for my understanding of the present and perception of the future. And this is where I think the Indian population goes berserk. By population I mean policy makers, knowledge experts, journalists (both old and new) and the public that has studied in universities and colleges and then moves forward to be a part of the economy and knowledge bank.
In my opinion, Bhutto's death is the real wound of partition. A country that was born out of fuelled ego and accidental thought can not expect anything but turmoil. This is one of the reasons I have immense hatred for Nehru and his kin. I am not going to elaborate anything but if you have a bit of interest in the nation called India (and this includes Pakistan as well), think where have the dialectics disappeared. Think where is the problem. People who think India is a prosperous democracy, wreck those ideas in your head and analyse. Yes, the often asked question is Why would one do that? Would Compulsive confessor and Jabberwock do that? Would Paramita, and her PR and journalist friends do that? No, they won't but that does not mean they should not.
Things are not that bright in India either. It is a torn country which has yet to make sense of Independence. I am just half-Indian but I still mourn the Independence Day for it brought nothing but misery for our two countries.

Good PR contacts = 1 Byline

It is all about loving your PR friends! The problem with Indian journalism, the contemporary wing of it, is the dependency on Public Relations. The number of bylines still send a journalist into a happy mood but he/she fails to understand the quality aspect of it.
Today's first pot-shot, and this is because they tried to throw a challenge at me in a typical girly-girly fashion, is at Hindustan Times and Paramita Ghosh. Go to page 6 to find her story on the "thriving industry" of PR as part of the "I love Delhi" campaign. This was the same problem last year - a good concept but bad stories throughout. However, this one is appalling.
I am yet to discern whether the article has been written by Paramita or Bhawna Singh. Half the quotes are by the PR manager at TRAC; actually barring two, the entire story is about Bhawna and her campaigns. Don't miss the pat-on-the-back quote where she talks about her campaign (and her client Orkut).
But the funniest parts of the article are:

1. "Executives say it (PR industry) is more subtle now, especially in Delhi" [sic]: This cracked me up! Can anyone who truly loves (and lives in) Delhi ever be subtle? If you are, get out because this city loves to be explicit, absolutely non-subtle.
I know Paramita that Bhawna Inc. are your old friends, but at least think before you put this in a national newspaper.
However the example they use is far away from the subtlety cry! They use beauty queens to sell Mauritius as an "aspirational destination". This also smashes the rules of writing - What aspirations? What Mauritius campaign? Which year did this happen? Why did this happen? Just what the fuck was the whole thing about? But most importantly, it blatantly publicises their campaign to the extent that now people know if they have to use tourism as a decoy to sell their stuff in a nation, they should come to TRAC.

2. Channelising energies: What the fuck was that Tofler-Tucker kind of quote? Some PR bloke talks, in a lip-smacking way, of channelising energies as the key syndrome of this industry. D-uh! I am sure even Big Moose could have not uttered this intellectual shit.

3. Dominant youth culture: Is there a city in the world where the youth culture is not dominant? Is this a new aspect of Delhi that we all have stumbled upon? Read the language and pick the loopholes yourself.

4. Multi-dimensional illusion: One of the biggest judgemental lines (and I so bloody hate them) is that a PR professional's job today is multi-dimensional. The following quote says that as a PR person, they have to scan all kinds of news. Oh really? How come none of us never knew this?

So what is the article doing? Selling... medicority, shamelessness and idiocy.
Paramita has yet to give up her Brunch hangover. Or maybe I think she belongs there and not in Sunday or main pages like these. You have got to understand that the hierarchy of PR professionals today lacks a strong foundation. They are all products of the likes of 80s Illustrated Weeklys, Debonairs and Societys. The sticky parasites of PR industry must be kept at bay for they have now explictly begun dictating terms to journalists and getting their stories published. This is one of the biggest dangers which has already gripped the news industry pretty damn well.
When K at Presstalk shows some optimism about news, this is where I feel like stopping him or rather disagreeing completely. This whole world of "new dimensions, coming of age, new chapter etc etc etc" are nothing more than a shameless play of words that works on the simple philosophy of give and take between the PR guy and the newsie. What happens is that the reader is totally forgotten. Well, ever since I have been into the field I do wonder where was the reader. And if you counter that point by putting the trite "we give what the readers want to read" argument, I say you deserve a kick in the arse, a good one. The readers of today are anyway too limited, they don't wish to get their news from YOU; they are pretty smart at figuring out things by themselves.
But what disappointed the most was that this got the approval of Rahul Sharma. I am yet to understand what made him do this!
His introductory piece to this campaign was beautifully drafted. That talked about why Rahul loves Delhi and being an outsider myself, I concurred with that. HT writers should talk more on these lines. Let Vipul Mudgal/Upala Sen/Poonam Saxena tell you why they love Delhi, let Susmita Bose scribble a diary entry about why she loves/hates this city and let a youngster trainee come out with his/her views in a very warm manner. That would be loving Delhi, not some bloody PR campaign-note.

I love Delhi because of its warmth that has a prickly demeanour. I love Delhi because the Sundays can still be Sundays when you go and have chai at NSD, or some small shop near Khan Market. I love Delhi because it is the only city that has no deep-rooted character of its own. There is nothing Delhish about Delhi because it even lacks its own weather. If it snows in Shimla, it is cold there and if the monsoons are receding, the mercury drops and rains splash in the chilly winters. There is nothing indigenous about it; yet we all love it. We love it as we know there is a life, no matter how much of it is based on money, that embraces us and we reciprocate.

But to today's article, I can't even look at it and can only sulk over the grim face of Indian feature writing today.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007


It hurt me when I read the news of Tejeshwar Singh's death. He was one of the clean-accent newsreaders of all times. Yes, he had a deep voice and he acted in Pankaj Parashar's pulp fiction Jalwa (Beverly Hills Cop). But lately he was famous as the anchor of Sage Publications.
If someone can get copies of Doordarshan's early news readers, it would be great to share them with the current crop; they need them more than anything.
I offer my condolences.

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