Saturday, September 11, 2010

Floods of Fools

Pick up the remote and watch any hindi news channel PRONTO! If you happen to read this within 2 weeks of my having written it, then you may be one of the lucky viewers to get a glimpse of sensational journalism at its extreme sense!! (I'm guessing 2 weeks is as fas as they'll take the news...but it may take longer, you never know)

The Yamuna is flooding Delhi, and all low lying areas are being evacuated. While this is grim news for the villages and the little shanky-towns lying by the underbelly of Delhi, the rest of the city is being shown this piece of news as a farce. How? Well, a Hindi news channel showed a reporter (IN THE STUDIO) drowning in 3 feet deep water (IN THE STUDIO) as she was broadcasting the news (IN THE STUDIO).

Why do I keep emphasizing IN THE STUDIO? Because this entire Cartoon Network meets Titanic coverage of the floods was done with special effects as bright blue water kept flowing over the reporter who seemed high and dry. I cannot even begin to think about the IQ of people who concocted this evil plan to thwart decent and dignified reporting. James Cameron did a better job with the water and a ship, if you ask me. At least they could've got the colour of the Yamuna right (and this isn't a slur against its dirt...which it ought to be sometime...but all rivers are murky brown). Bright blue Yamuna? Is it just one big mirror reflecting the sky's colour? (Not that the sky is blue these days, either)

So catch it if you can, and you will be, like me, one of the many millions who fell for the gimmick and increased their TRPs. Increased TRPs would mean more ludicrous productions of news. To quote two very wise radio jockeys (who are my companions on my morning drives) "If the News people would like to see the floods recede and the traffic subside, then they would do well to uhm... remove their gigantic vans and equipment from the bridge they stand on. They end up blocking effective movement of daily life and hoping against hope that the water rises by 0.01 mts so they can IMMEDIATELY BROADCAST IT LIVE FROM THE FLOODING VENUE."

Think about the people who once lived there. Of the houses that now need to be re-built because of the floods, of the Marks cards that have been washed away, the clothes that have begun to decay and the food that can now never be eaten. The homes that will now bear a coat of the Yamuna, once she resides. Think about them now, before you switch on that news channel. Chances are that once you switch the channel on, you'll lose the capacity to think.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The First Step..

Picture this. A small, chubby eleven year old girl in a mismatched uniform in the office of a gigantic school. Children walk past her, chattering away happily, as she sits awkwardly on a chair, fiddling with her new school bag and feeling more lost than someone with Dissociative Amnesia. She waits for someone, anyone to tell her where she's supposed to belong in this sea of students in a completely unfamiliar city in the middle of a school term. A group of teachers walk past her, assuming her to be a wallflower. But one lady notices her. The girl feels a tap on her shoulder and turns around, the kind lady smiles at her. The lady asks the girl her name and age. She then asks the girl to follow her and enter 6-B, the class she teaches. She introduces the girl to the class, gives her a smile and begins work for the day. For the teacher, it is a small gesture of attention. For the girl, it is the first step.

Thank you, Revati ma'am. For giving me the confidence to enter my first step into a new city, a new life. I may not remember much about the continents of Africa and the Americas, but I will never forget my first day in Bangalore, and how easy you made it for me. (You'll probably not be reading this, but I had given myself 10 minutes more that day. If no one had realized that I was a new student and was waiting for any teacher to acknowledge me, I would have run away from school and somehow found a way to go back to Delhi and continue with my old life there.)

Teachers are the first handrail one grabs before climbing the stairs. They stay with you till the end of the stairs, and expect you to make the journey on the next floor by yourself. Until you reach the next flight of stairs. I have probably not considered all my teachers 'special', but the person I am is largely due to the teachers I had. So today, this is a humble thank you, to all the unspoken heroines (mostly) of my life.

Thank you, Mrs.Jain, Mrs. Bannerjee, Mrs. Roy and Mrs. Anand for making my first years in Delhi so special. And instilling the ability to lead (haha, I was the Head Girl of the junior school - a post I exploited quite well, thanks.), the ability to express myself and to question anything that doesn't feel right.

Thank you, all my teachers at Kumarans. If I were to start writing all your names here, I'd probably need the school magazine and a couple of spare hours! Thank you English teachers, for critiquing and moulding my writing, thank you Maths teachers (I love the subject, and I'm sure a large part of the credit goes to you guys), thank you Science teachers (for actually making sure I understood 'application based problems'....sigh) , thank you Social Studies teachers (I DID love the subject. Honest. But mostly after I had finished my 10th bored exams!) and a special thank you to Sanskrit Sir - your classes were the *best* (and I learnt a fair amount of Sanskrit in the process as well!)

As a child, I always secretly wanted to be a teacher. More precisely, a librarian. Not the mean sort, who give you pincer stares and grab the book you're holding, enter the code and shove it back into your hands....but more the sort who would read out stories, encourage children to pick interesting books and spend all her free time re-reading Blyton, Dahl and Montgomery books. (of course, this ambition of mine was always hidden beneath the cloak of 'I want to be a neurosurgeon-forensic psychologist-mystery writer-television journalist-radio jockey-hostess of a travel/cookery show'.

And if school planted the seed of wanting to teach, then college just nurtured it further. MCC exposed me to a spectrum of teachers who have the scary and forbearing task of shaping the future of girls. And some who played a special part in shaping my future need to be thanked. So thank you Mrs.V (you were Miss.V when you started teaching us!), Mrs. P and Mr.R - for being the coolest Journalism teachers and showing us the gloss and grime of media. A HUGE thank you to all the psychology teachers - simply because I'm pursuing the same subject, and I wouldn't have had the confidence to do so, had I not been taught well enough to pique my interest in it. Thanks, Mrs.Matthew, for incorporating Greek Mythology so flawlessly into otherwise mundane Literature classes.

Someday, I'll make my ambition of being a teacher come true. While there's a part of me that believes that almost everyone is a teacher in some way or the other, the aura that the lady with an attendance register, a couple of haphazard notes and a firm glare that can instantly melt into a smile exudes is a class apart (pun intended). The first step determines a new journey and unknown adventures. And what better profession than to be a mentor for taking that step?

Thank you. :-)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Platinum Post

So my blog has reached 75 posts! No ordinary feat, I tell you. Since it takes me immense will power to get out of a book/TV and log into this thing. Odd, as I generally jump at the opportunity of talking about myself.

And what does one write in their 75th post? Well, I can think of many many topics.....and of course all pertaining to me.....but I figured I should try and think about others for a change. A healthy break from narcissism is essential, don't you think? So with this 75th post, let me try and figure out other things....which probably will all come back in a murukku (a twisty turny south indian snack. Go see the Haldiram version, if you're still confused) fashion to my life somehow. But oh well, the word narcissism can take a break, I won't.

When Facebook asks you 'What's on your mind?' everytime you log in, do you ever stop to think about it? I suddenly have. I obviously don't update every single 'What's on your mind?' as a status message, but it makes me wonder nonetheless. And off late, a LOT has been on my mind. Here are just a few:

Our friend, Aedes has decided to settle down in the dark and dingy corners of the city and meet and greet us every morning. But stop blaming the MCD and clear out that water residing in your old tyre in the balcony. The mosquitoes at the CWG sites will not travel miles to come bite you at your residence. But new ones will certainly thrive in the water park you have created for them at your house. So clean out your neighbourhood first, and then protect yourself while venturing out.

Another person earning almost as much ridicule as Aedes is A R Rahman. For the CWG anthem. It is nice, ok? So it needs a patient listening, maybe a couple of times to let the song grow on you. But the claims about it being the most uncreative song and uninspired with lousy lyrics is rather uncalled for. Take one glance at the mess created in Delhi, and then please tell me WHO can get inspired to produce a grammy-winning song? But that said, the stadiums do look pretty fabulous and people like the construction workers and traffic policemen are really working hard to try and salvage the games. I tip my waterproof, mosquito repelling hat to them and hope with a jingoistic fervor that the games become a success....they deserve it.

The Metro connects us to Gurgaon!! Is it weird that I was as excited as a three year old on a Cotton Candy eating spree when I saw the Metro rolling into a swanky new station? One of the many things about Delhi that gives me goosebumps..... (Chandni Chowk, Old monuments and endless tree lined walkways are some other)

I miss Bangalore. Does that make any sense after having talked so much about Delhi? Well, it does to me. Last night, I had a dream about eating cake fudge in Corner House Basavangudi. Odd, since I've never been to that Corner House before. Cake Fudge, Benne Masala Dosas, Lalbagh walks, Sugarcane Juice, My trusty old 27D, lots of elneerus and just great times. I sometimes feel like rewinding these two years and going back to my college days, just to re-do everything and then come back to the present. Oh well, maybe I'll fall in love with a new city this time next year.

Harry Potter. I've rediscovered Harry Potter. And fallen back in love with him. I just completed the seventh book all over again and found another new piece of information that solves the already solved mystery. Harry Potter is best read the fiftieth time. I have always read the books the first time with such a childish curiosity to know the end that I've missed the vital parts altogether. Re-reading it ages later brings back everything and ties it up like a neatly wrapped birthday present. If you're feeling low or bored, picking up the nearest Harry Potter can absorb you and keep you in a parallel world for at least a couple of days. Perfect escapist route, if you ask me.

School. I realized that I've almost never mentioned my school on this blog before. It's always been a never ending commentary on everything but school. I met up with an old friend online and as we reminisced about things long gone, it made me realize how much I liked school. Running to catch the last seat in the school bus....entering late to assembly (because our L van lived up to its alphabet - being Late and Lazy).... checking shoes and nails of poor unsuspecting little kids..... trying (and failing miserably) to play volleyball in Games Period...eating hot plates of BisiBeleBath from the beautiful canteen....the fervor that Nestle Chocostick created when it was introduced...sitting on the grand steps and chatting away nineteen to a dozen...bunking class to go do SEEK work...waiting eagerly for events like Teacher's Day and then realizing that you have no ethnic wear in your jeans-infested wardrobe so rushing out on 4th evening to buy one....and finally, the friends I made. Almost everyone is now out of the city, if not the country....but I think my school deserves some posterity on this page...and hence it figures in my platinum post.

Oh well...there are so many other things I want to write about. How bad parenting is ruining the lives of the children I meet everyday, How the media is sensationalizing something as trivial as Tharoor's pilgrimage, How Gmail's new priority inbox has grouped random people under my priority list for no apparent reason and How I have a stack of British Council books waiting to be read but I've chosen to blog instead. Since the last option is the only one I can work on, I'll get right to it.

75 posts to mark my *dhai* years of journey on the cyberspace. I've blogged from four cities, and here's hoping that by the next 75 posts, I can go a little more global about my outlook on bizarre things in life or is that bizarre outlook about things in life?