Saturday, April 02, 2005

Talking heads early in the morning

Something called the Mass Communication Professionals Guild has organised a seminar on Media in Kashmir: Challenges and the Future. It’s a Saturday morning and everybody seems to be taking it easy. It was supposed to start at 10.30 … It’s already 11.

While walking to the venue -- IMPA, another day another acronym -- I was waiting for the lights before I could cross. Waiting right in front of me were two heavily laden men on a motorcycle. One of them dropped a packet. Nobody moved to help them. I knelt, picked up the packet and handed it to them with a smile. They avoided all eye contact. The traffic policeman standing and directing traffic glowered at me. There seems to be an unwritten rule out here about trust -- don’t trust a stranger.

Coming from a city filled with boorish people, I thought that that was as bad as it gets. But people smile in Delhi. Here, they just hope for the best -- which means getting home at night. Or am I overreacting.

The hall is filling up slowly. But the seats to my left and right remain empty. I still am the unknown quantity in here … it’s an interesting feeling. Surrounded by journalists -- a fraternity to which I stake claim as well --- and yet completely out of everything happening around me. I hope the seminar is conducted in English.

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