Monday, August 31, 2009

Frankenstein’s Monster

What amazes me is that people still get all dewy eyed and soft when it comes to launching a magazine. I’ve spoken to three friends in the past three weeks who are ‘launching’ magazines and who have tried to either hire me at half my current salary, because ‘I’m Good’ or getting me to write for them pro bono. I had to politely explain to them that they’re not only kooks to believe that they can afford me, but I genuinely like ‘being in the machine’, because it helps with content creation because it gets me access. Anyway, enough about me and my complete lack of philanthropy and adventure, because I still genuinely feel that a printed product without a distribution strategy in place, no matter how ‘niche’ (read: elite) the audience, is one bound to fail. ‘Elite’ twats don’t pay for anything, you just have to start mailing them the magazine and then go to advertisers and say “this is our mailing list, can we now become your catalogue?”
I’m sorry in I sound cynical, but the machine is a highly evolved life-form and thee amniotic goo it surrounds you in feels really nice and warm. Just as long as you know you’re in goo. I’m sorry, it has been ten years since The Matrix, which I saw an advance screening of with my best friend Doc at the Russian Cultural Centre and still remember that both of us barely made a peep during the movie. Here is the thing, there are more and more magazines out there and many of them fill needs – such as porno magazines – believe me, despite the advent of online porn and dedicated torrent sites where you can download all of Sasha Grey’s movies there is a particular joy you have when you see titties in print. A joy that future generations of horny 15-year old boys will never know!
Magazines are great and the racks at Khan Market with thousands of titles show that there is hope, but I don’t know for how much longer for a bulk of the products. Trade magazines won’t go away anytime soon, and PR agencies will tell you that clients still have a bout of auto-eroticism when they see their thumbnail in a business magazine, a cover… well you don’t want o know. But that said, there are far too magazines that come and drop out too quickly and worse still several of the smaller magazines read like the Internet paraphrased, with only the occasional guy who understands a modicum of English. Most content is crap, with little genuine research or writing.
Personally, I don’t know how much longer the format will survive in its current form. As I said, porn has moved primarily online and so will the magazine, perhaps they will survive till the advent of colour e-book readers . But believe me; I’ll miss them when they’re gone. But despite the misplaced optimism of my friends, it is great that people still believe in the format. I just hope that the quality of magazines coming out was better. Just look at GQ India, a genuinely disappointing product, there is the occasional sign of sheer brilliance (and excellent photo-shoots) admittedly – but then again compared to the high-standards of GQ UK, you kind of expected this.
On another note, I’ve been accused of baiting Business Standard. Honestly, I’m not a fan of the product anymore (other than ‘Chinese Whispers’). It was and remains a decent product, but over the past few years, you can sense it isn’t the same. It was a great foil to ET, and had far superior policy coverage. But you need money to survive, and well, I don’t think Uday Kotak (guess who wrote about him recently) is putting any into BS, and I don’t think anyone is buying. Fact of life, deal with it. Money and funds are important for survival as is brand-building, no matter how passionate readers are, a brand on the down slope, need money to survive. Particularly, when the brands at the top of the game are losing money.
Hopefully, Baru might take it somewhere new. I don’t know. But honestly, it is losing the ‘top of mind’ battle. As I’ve said before, to each their own, we have a fantastic choice of newspapers, magazines and television channels, and you are free to consume what you want. Some you might feel are worse than others and some are genuinely bad – many of the Indic channels for example – I watched how they explained the ‘Loch Ness’ monster the other day – bizarre.
Anyway, over the next few weeks I will be travelling a fair bit, so I become irregular all over again, don’t start sending ‘hate mail’. Take care and be careful of what you read on the interwebs!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sources, schources... hic!

I don’t mean the people to whom you might end up going to shady bars (Press Club or IHC) who end up giving you absolutely pointless and often libelous information. No, I mean the ‘Anonymous’ source or the guy ‘who wished not to be named’ or worse still, ‘the one who cannot be named’. You see, after seeing headlines saying ‘Hindustan Khabardaar’ on Aaj Tak warning about the evil of American Global Hawk and Predator UAV’s now being bought by Pakistan along with the associated illiterate hype, the point is I think we live in a magical Harry Potter world and the reason that sources can’t be named even for the most innocuous story is because the source is either Voldemort or worse still, third-hand.
You know what I mean. Your editor lunched with someone at the Chambers and then tells you a story and tells you to do it. The news is credible and very likely true but you go on your editors word and its your byline. Everybody wins. But just reading some papers, the amount of people who are taking the ‘unnamed’ source escape route is getting crazy. I can’t act holier than thou here, I’ve also been guilty of this, but recently, actually for a few years, to save myself useless questioning later I’ve been informing a senior editor of who the source was if I resort to using the ‘anonymous’ tag. It is a lot safer to editorialize and express an opinion as your own than to constantly attribute to mysterious sources unless it is something policy related. Or when you start discussing the Ambani brothers… In which case just stepping back is a hell of a lot safer then getting dragged to lunches with ‘good friends’. Either that, or doing an analytical study of government and legal documents. Now these can be ‘sourced’ through ‘anonymous people’ but they’re printed documents so they’re a lot safer than ‘sources’.
Anyway, before I bind my argument in several layers of knots like my iPod headphones – what I want to argue is that occasionally ‘sources’ have to be used – most bureaucrats in the central government who are not Secretary-level don’t want to get into a soup and therefore don’t get quoted. And as for the Ambani brothers, nobody wants to get on their bad side. Fair enough. But then at least give me an idea of the source. If it is a corporate story did you get it from the PR flack (company spokesperson). The main reason I’m whining is because sometimes stories include far too many ‘anonymous sources’ and then trying to identify who is saying what becomes impossible for the writer, let alone the reader.
I know. I’ve been there. Just chill on the ‘sources’ credit will everyone? It will help with the credibility of what is being written and my bowel movements!
And if you haven’t read The Secret Diary of Ajit Balakrishnan as yet, you must! It reminds me of the early day’s of the Rakesh Jhunjhunwala spoof blog!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chinese Honeytrap

Not something you will ever hear of in this paper, not from October any which way, or so the grapevine goes (not anything as much fun as the highest profile alleged honeytrap in the recent past). The number of conspiracy theories you hear on the phone nowadays with the 'Number 10' stamp on them is positively befuddling. It would seem that there is a full 'plotting' cell over there geared to engineer what can only be called 'Jinnah' moments.
Anyway, there was an interesting exchange on Twitter yesterday. Minister Twit says something, one of the few relatively politically neutral high-profile journos points out the ridiculousness of Minister Twit. Who then says that he is a critic of JLN. The joys of social media! Honestly, not everyone will ever get even a 100 followers on Twitter, let alone a thousand, but you shoul go onto Twitter for amusement. Personally, Twitter is a fantastic content-discovery and disemination tool for me. But that is me, someone who is far too social for his own good.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jinnah's Speech

You know something, both LK Advani and Jaswant Singh have been persecuted for praising Nusli Wadia's grand-father. However, after 62 years of antagonism, Jinnah's speech that is so often praised is often forgotten. In line with overall Nehru-Gandhi love we have in India, we're only taught about the 'Tryst with Destiny' speech. However, Jinnah's speech of August 11, 1947 is one I feel everybody on the sub-continent should read. India has not fulfilled her destiny 62 years on, not because of Pakistan but because the divisions that Jinnah warned about still wrack her. Pakistan has completely forgotten the speech. Read it, I've marked a section in bold.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen!

I cordially thank you, with the utmost sincerity, for the honour you have conferred upon me - the greatest honour that is possible to confer - by electing me as your first President. I also thank those leaders who have spoken in appreciation of my services and their personal references to me. I sincerely hope that with your support and your co-operation we shall make this Constituent Assembly an example to the world. The Constituent Assembly has got two main functions to perform. The first is the very onerous and responsible task of framing the future constitution of Pakistan and the second of functioning as a full and complete sovereign body as the Federal Legislature of Pakistan. We have to do the best we can in adopting a provisional constitution for the Federal Legislature of Pakistan. You know really that not only we ourselves are wondering but, I think, the whole world is wondering at this unprecedented cyclonic revolution which has brought about the clan of creating and establishing two independent sovereign Dominions in this sub-continent. As it is, it has been unprecedented; there is no parallel in the history of the world. This mighty sub-continent with all kinds of inhabitants has been brought under a plan which is titanic, unknown, unparalleled. And what is very important with regards to it is that we have achieved it peacefully and by means of an evolution of the greatest possible character.

Dealing with our first function in this Assembly, I cannot make any well-considered pronouncement at this moment, but I shall say a few things as they occur to me. The first and the foremost thing that I would like to emphasize is this: remember that you are now a sovereign legislative body and you have got all the powers. It, therefore, places on you the gravest responsibility as to how you should take your decisions. The first observation that I would like to make is this: You will no doubt agree with me that the first duty of a government is to maintain law and order, so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the State.

The second thing that occurs to me is this: One of the biggest curses from which India is suffering - I do not say that other countries are free from it, but, I think our condition is much worse - is bribery and corruption. That really is a poison. We must put that down with an iron hand and I hope that you will take adequate measures as soon as it is possible for this Assembly to do so.

Black-marketing is another curse. Well, I know that blackmarketeers are frequently caught and punished. Judicial sentences are passed or sometimes fines only are imposed. Now you have to tackle this monster, which today is a colossal crime against society, in our distressed conditions, when we constantly face shortage of food and other essential commodities of life. A citizen who does black-marketing commits, I think, a greater crime than the biggest and most grievous of crimes. These blackmarketeers are really knowing, intelligent and ordinarily responsible people, and when they indulge in black-marketing, I think they ought to be very severely punished, because the entire system of control and regulation of foodstuffs and essential commodities, and cause wholesale starvation and want and even death.

The next thing that strikes me is this: Here again it is a legacy which has been passed on to us. Along with many other things, good and bad, has arrived this great evil, the evil of nepotism and jobbery. I want to make it quite clear that I shall never tolerate any kind of jobbery, nepotism or any any influence directly of indirectly brought to bear upon me. Whenever I will find that such a practice is in vogue or is continuing anywhere, low or high, I shall certainly not countenance it.

I know there are people who do not quite agree with the division of India and the partition of the Punjab and Bengal. Much has been said against it, but now that it has been accepted, it is the duty of everyone of us to loyally abide by it and honourably act according to the agreement which is now final and binding on all. But you must remember, as I have said, that this mighty revolution that has taken place is unprecedented. One can quite understand the feeling that exists between the two communities wherever one community is in majority and the other is in minority. But the question is, whether it was possible or practicable to act otherwise than what has been done, A division had to take place. On both sides, in Hindustan and Pakistan, there are sections of people who may not agree with it, who may not like it, but in my judgement there was no other solution and I am sure future history will record is verdict in favour of it. And what is more, it will be proved by actual experience as we go on that was the only solution of India's constitutional problem. Any idea of a united India could never have worked and in my judgement it would have led us to terrific disaster. Maybe that view is correct; maybe it is not; that remains to be seen. All the same, in this division it was impossible to avoid the question of minorities being in one Dominion or the other. Now that was unavoidable. There is no other solution. Now what shall we do? Now, if we want to make this great State of Pakistan happy and prosperous, we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor. If you will work in co-operation, forgetting the past, burying the hatchet, you are bound to succeed. If you change your past and work together in a spirit that everyone of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his colour, caste or creed, is first, second and last a citizen of this State with equal rights, privileges, and obligations, there will be on end to the progress you will make.

I cannot emphasize it too much. We should begin to work in that spirit and in course of time all these angularities of the majority and minority communities, the Hindu community and the Muslim community, because even as regards Muslims you have Pathans, Punjabis, Shias, Sunnis and so on, and among the Hindus you have Brahmins, Vashnavas, Khatris, also Bengalis, Madrasis and so on, will vanish. Indeed if you ask me, this has been the biggest hindrance in the way of India to attain the freedom and independence and but for this we would have been free people long long ago. No power can hold another nation, and specially a nation of 400 million souls in subjection; nobody could have conquered you, and even if it had happened, nobody could have continued its hold on you for any length of time, but for this. Therefore, we must learn a lesson from this. You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State. As you know, history shows that in England, conditions, some time ago, were much worse than those prevailing in India today. The Roman Catholics and the Protestants persecuted each other. Even now there are some States in existence where there are discriminations made and bars imposed against a particular class. Thank God, we are not starting in those days. We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State. The people of England in course of time had to face the realities of the situation and had to discharge the responsibilities and burdens placed upon them by the government of their country and they went through that fire step by step. Today, you might say with justice that Roman Catholics and Protestants do not exist; what exists now is that every man is a citizen, an equal citizen of Great Britain and they are all members of the Nation.

Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.

Well, gentlemen, I do not wish to take up any more of your time and thank you again for the honour you have done to me. I shall always be guided by the principles of justice and fairplay without any, as is put in the political language, prejudice or ill-will, in other words, partiality or favouritism. My guiding principle will be justice and complete impartiality, and I am sure that with your support and co-operation, I can look forward to Pakistan becoming one of the greatest nations of the world.

I have received a message from the United States of America addressed to me. It reads:

I have the honour to communicate to you, in Your Excellency's capacity as President of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, the following message which I have just received from the Secretary of State of the United States:
On the occasion of of the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly for Pakistan, I extend to you and to the members of the Assembly, the best wishes of the Government and the people of the United States for the successful conclusion of the great work you are about to undertake.


If my Editor's reaction to the news is any indication, Sanjaya Baru's return to journalism, in Business Standard no less, has surprised everyone. "But why?" being the obvious question followed promptly by "Why BS?" Now we can't claim to know the answers, but in the paper that is now pretty much owned by Uday Kotak, Baru's entry means that AKB's dream of becoming boss might never come to fruition. And to become the Editor of a rapidly shrinking paper is quite a fall from grace for a man who had a position equivalent to that of a Cabinet Minister.
And then there is the BJP. Now what on earth can you say about the party? All I can possibly say is that I read Plato's 'Theory of Art' in my first year and remember that the old Greek guy said that catharsis is a good thing. I can only speculate that the BJP is going through catharsis. I won't believe the endless stories of the party self-destructing that will be spread tonight, the cadre has still held unlike the Commie cadre in West Bengal. But if the cadre breaks...
In other news, top-level changes in ET's print edition are around the corner. And 'The V' has alledgedly been slapped with a legal notice for writing about brotherly love (not 377 but the Ambani spat) and this is by the adevertising one. The silent one however, I believe also very upset.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Shove it, SRK!

Frankly, I’m bewildered that SRK”s detention made the news. Nobody writes about it when ‘ordinary’ folks get detained. For crying out loud, I’ve been taken aside for a ‘secondary check’ on a domestic American flight in 2004 , though given the chaos of a summer travel weekend at Atlanta Airport, me and my friend Sid, were grateful for the check as it allowed us to skip the line and rush to our gate for our flight to Newark. Mind you, I was punch drunk on Absolut Kurant at the time.
However, SRK’s crying because he wasn’t afforded VIP treatment at Newark is puzzling to say the least and Ambika Soni’s hissy-fit of tit-for-tat reprisals is scary given that the woman actually ‘controls’ the media infrastructure in the country (was that the reason for the bizarre coverage?) My cousins have been stopped, my cousin brother, a British citizen was stopped at Newark for two hours because he kept on coming to the US (to meet his brother in New York). My cousin brother mind you is short and slightly plump. The only thing he could potentially attack in the US is a Doughnut stand. My cousin sister, born and brought up in Texas is constantly stopped, now, she is 5 foot nothing, a Doctoral student and well, pretty docile. But her reasoning is that her name is ‘Geetanjali’ and ends with ‘Ali’.
Listen, I find it bizarre that we are crying about this. Most people who cry would jump at an opportunity to move to the US, movie stars who crib would die to work in a Hollywood production. Some like Mallika Sherawat have decided that taking off all clothes (or wearing bizarre ones) is more productive there than here. The moral high ground statements coming from people who don’t face an iota of security in India stinks of bullshit, just as our cricketers refusal to the WADA tests on ‘privacy’ grounds.
Despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary, the US is a far more egalitarian society than India. C’mon would you see a half-Muslim half-Hindu become Prime Minister of India? Or a Dalit for that matter? Not anytime soon. But the Americans, despite their rednecks and the racists did elect Barack Obama. They don’t ban smut or TV shows on the basis it is ‘destroying society’. For crying out loud, can’t people see the irony in these statements.
I respect Shah Rukh Khan immensely, I am terribly proud of the fact that I went to the same school as he did. But our ‘V.I.P’s’ need a lesson in humility. Next time round, the Americans should stop Robert Vadra. Of course, that will have the entire Gandhi coterie up in arms, and you’ll see the Prime Minister forced to make a statement on the issue. The only thing I was grateful for is that I did not watch an iota of silly TV news yesterday.
PS: Amazing publicity for his new film which talks about just the same thing. Hmmm…

Friday, August 14, 2009

62 years old and forgetful...

Whenever we celebrate Independence Day, a wreath is always laid by the Prime Minister at the plinth of the Unknown Soldier at India Gate early in the morning. Remarks by some crazy politicians aside, we, as a nation pay tribute to those whose sacrifices have kept the nation together. Don’t think that I’ve become all patriotic and nationalistic as 15th August approaches. Nope, it is neither that nor have I been drinking too much of Anchorman’s Gatorade (who doubles as a supremely arrogant fear-mongering loudmouth – or whatever the opposite of mild-mannered gawky reporter is – when not saving us from the clutches of Swine Flu/Somali Pirates/Obama/Random Chinese bloggers/Barkha Dutt/Rajdeep Sardesai – his terminal weakness being Pakistani journalists who can shout him down). I genuinely feel that our soldiers get a rather poor lot. Defence deals are invariably cloaked in secrecy and involve Swiss Bank accounts.
Five years ago, thanks to a close friend I ended up travelling to the Allied graveyard at Monte Cassino, the site of one of the most ferocious battles of the Italian campaign. The one thing that awestruck me were the number of Indian names. Soldiers who died fighting a war in a strange country, against a enemy who wasn’t their enemy, and for a cause they didn’t know themselves – Freedom. Tens of thousands of our soldiers fought and died across Europe. But the other day, during one of my Wikipedia diversions (where I just surf from article to article on the site rather randomly, it is great fun, well I think so any which way) I came across an interesting article of the East African campaign. And guess what, thousands of young men, contemporaries of my grandfathers I guess, died in Africa in wars that made next to no sense. On an aside, the BCCI logo looks suspiciously like a Raj hangover - you decide.
What is weird is that the Australians and New Zealanders remember their war dead of the World Wars as ANZAC Day. The Brits wear poppies on their collars around Rememberance Sunday. We get away with the occasional wreath. Even wars fought after independence get forgotten – in all the brouhaha about random Chinese bloggers, we all forget India’s darkest hour (well, not including the time that VP Singh and Chandrashekhar bankrupted us) – 1962. The war that is never mentioned – the History and Civics textbooks of my time spoke at length about 1965 and 1971 and I guess books of the future will talk of 1999, but 1962 – despite Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon - is a war that we like to forget. Well, I guess it is obvious.
Here is my simple point. We celebrate three national holidays and have holidays celebrating most religions to advertise our secular credentials, but why on earth don't we, a country that has lost so many in Wars and a country that still loses far too many every year fighting the fires lit by the politics of inequity, why don't we celebrate our soldiers? I'm sure the average Indian soldier will bristle at the thought of having a dry day declared in their honour (could there be a bigger travesty?). But as people take advantage of the long weekend and I stare blankly into a computer monitor endlessly editing and fine-tuning my story, this is just a thought I had.
Jai Hind!
PS: Its I-Day, I'm allowed a post like this, and anyway I did make fun of Anchorman. Though he actually does it himself. Hey and if you're in the media and don't have a long weekend like your Civvie friends, I salute you too! I just hope you stocked up on booze yesterday. As for me, I'm giving my liver a rest.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

K’s Honest car Reviews Part… Something, anyway they’re back after a long time

One of the few pleasures of living in South Delhi is that every once in a while you can drive like a man possessed – or basically like the folks in West Delhi when they come to the South. The problem is that the once in a while moments usually are too few and far between. After much careful analysis the reason behind the decline of driving is not Sheila Aunty’s hare-brained BRT Corridor, I swear I will kill the next Leftie who says ‘But it works in Bogota!’ Rush jobs in public transport are screwing traffic flows across the city, anyway even though a easy-fix to the BRT problem would be to ban auto-rickshaws and commercial vehicles, but I don’t want to get too far involved in a rant that someone will say is directed against public transport.
I just hate stupidly planned schemes, but then again, doesn’t everyone. But more than the BRT, I should direct my ire at Bajaj Chetak drivers. The child-molesters who drive the worst piece of Indian automotive engineering after the Reva drive with no care for anything else on the road. I don’t dislike Hero Honda drivers, nor do I hate cyclists or the dimwits who weave around in their Pulsar’s. No, the Bajaj Chetak is the single most horrible thing on the roads. The guys will try and force their way virtually everywhere, have no respect for whose paint their rusting footrest scrapes against.
Even though Rajiv Bajaj should be credited for creating a product that proves Darwin’s theory (the Pulsar – I’ve seen far too many accidents on Pulsar’s and pretty much every one is because of idiotic driving, but what would you expect from the average Pulsar driver) I’ve actually personally thanked him personally because he withdrew the Chetak from production. And he allowed Lintas-Lowe to create some pretty kinky new advertising – even though the Benecio Del Toro lookalike in their new advert is bit bizarre.
OK, I was supposed to be reviewing something and it is the Honda Jazz, which for the purpose of this review we will call the ‘Seven Lakh Small Car’ (SLSC) given that journalists are the latest victims of abbreviation-itis. OK, but then again as some comments can’t help but claim I’m a lazy pile of bull-turds, so since I’ve been dubbed a bad journalist I’ll stick to calling it the Jazz.
The reason there are almost four hundred words of filler text is that it is incredibly difficult to justify this car. The reason Honda has priced it at the price they have isn’t because it is incredibly well-engineered and loaded with goodies, which it undeniably is. Honestly, the interiors on this car are the best for any small car on Indian roads save the Fiat 500. The reason Honda has priced it so insanely high is because the financial crisis has hit them hard forcing them to slow down the start of their new plant. So the Jazz is essentially a car that pretty much completely imported from Thailand and put together by a bunch of robots in Greater Noida.
The one thing I fear that they have changed for India is the gearbox, which means that the car ends up with little perceptible power off the line. To get the best out of the engine you’ll need to keep revs well past 3000. There are two stretches of road in the capital, the first the Greater Noida Expressway is a straight line road, and is best enjoyed in something made in Germany or Italy. The second is a lovely twisty road, which unfortunately isn’t quite up to the mark anymore. The Jazz disappointed on both these roads. I’m not saying it was bad, but for the price you could definitely have a lot more fun.
I know this is a terribly stupid thing to do on public roads, especially on public roads where people don’t quite follow rules and random trucks suddenly decide to drive on the wrong side of the road, but occasionally I do throw a car into a turn. Not enough to lose traction, but enough to have a nice time. And the Jazz kept its bearings, but felt quite bored doing it - it isn't as if the car is wobbles through corners, it is assured but there is little feel to it. The car is extremely practical in most respects - interior space is brilliant and fuel economy is surprisingly good - despite my sometimes map-cap shifting and obsession with second and third year to get the car moving, it delivered an impressive 14 k's to a litre.
But it is a SLSC and for that much money it is horribly mediocre. Decent car, but absolutely not worth the price!

Monday, August 10, 2009


The ‘Dear Father’ informed moi that someone is upset that I called him a ‘Twatter’, even though I was but merely repeating conversation overheard at The Chambers over lunch. That said, the Twatting preson’s tweet rate has dramatically shot down since aforementioned ‘Twatter’ incident, even though I cannot claim to be a Cambers regular like some other (former) journalists, though the Taj does excel in the food served on the top floor. The ‘House of Singh’ on the other hand needs a desperate makeover.
Enough about Twats and food. I haven’t been blogging lately and this has made me realize the sort of readership I have. Just like the lurkers who follow my tweets, but don’t quite follow me, there are several lurkers who read this blog but are too scared to comment. The reason why I haven’t been blogging is because I don’t seem to have enough vitriol in my system anymore, either that, or I’m so busy working that I genuinely don’t have the time. I think it is the former though. Which in itself means that I definitely don’t miss someone who left this organization recently. Not the one who took over a newspaper, who, it must be said is still most entertaining, and generous with his wine.
What has been intriguing over the past week is how the media seems to have grown a spine when it comes to cricket and cricketers. Either that, or there is a realization that our cricketers are scared that regular drug tests will expose them as frauds and the media is licking its lips at such a prospect. Then again, the amount of time some of these ‘cricketers’ spend in Bombay with the swish set, I’ld be surprised if they didn’t stuff their noses with Columbian/Peruvian powder, the prices of which I believe are shooting up again thanks to increased demand in the capital.
Back to the media, and before you ask me what exciting things are happening, I must admit I’ve been far too busy watching Rakhi Sawant become a born-again Christian to care about Channel 309 on Airtel DTH, which is rather unwatchable at primetime, but vacillates wildly on weekends. Frankly, there were three reasons I bought myself a big-ass LCD panel, the first was to watch live sports – IPL, EPL and even the occasional round of Golf. The second was to play the Xbox360, which I have to admit I’ve slackened a bit on. And the third was to watch random movies and TV serials (such as Top Gear) that are thankfully available through the mysteries of the antarjaal. Watching news is only fun on days when they pronounce buggery legal, just to watch comedy ensue.
The other reason I don’t watch too much TV News is not because I depend on Jon Stewart to see what is happening in the ‘Land of the Free’ but because there is too much of it. Drive past the BJP or CPI(M) headquarters like I do quite often and the outdoor broadcast vans are creating a bloody traffic jam. I don’t want too much analysis and there is the antarjaal you see, which thankfully is also available on my phone. I even have an application delivering me news to my homescreen (though I must remember to shut off data access when I travel broad next time).
I will watch TV if something earth-shattering happens and I will watch a certain channel if they have something truly exclusive. But I would rather watch Manchester United and Chelsea beat up each other live on TV than see pointless, misinformed reports on the epic Ambani tale. Yes, that and someone should tell Saif Ali Khan that while he is a great actor, after he had his heart attack he should stop pretending to be 25-30 because he does look 40!