Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A rag-tag writeup

I have never expended a singe brow of sweat on my blog when it comes to how I want it to look or whether I have blogrolled and, truth be told, I suck at HTML big time.
Shilpa and Snigdha have tagged me and this phenomenon sounds alien to me. But I am gonna keep the spirit alive though.

Much as Krissh Ashok would scoff, or much worse, snigger at me, a “dear friend’s” prodding has led to this latest entry.

Following are the five, among not many, idiosyncrasies of mine:

1)I hate at the sight of multiple windows’ on my task bar. I imagine a hydra-headed monster waiting to swallow me.

2)I have an amazing propensity for 700MB movie files. I download them because they give credence to the term DVDRIP.

3)Like Naipaul hated India I hate books which have a best-seller tag attached to them with the same intensity. As soon as I notice this tag I tend to dismiss the book as, to borrow a phrase from the British band “Sex Pistols”, “a piss stain.”

4)I refrain from reading on the web, if I can read it on print. I think I will be doing a great disservice to my fraternity. Moreover, the tangibility factor also comes into play.

5) I started getting newspaper at home since the Toronto Cup in 1996 when Ganguly turned out to be the Seth Rogen of Indian cricket. During those days I used to flip through the pages from back-to-front i.e., sports page to the front page. That habit stuck to me till date albeit these days I read it (newspaper).

Monday, May 12, 2008

Umbilical Discord

Prologue: You are perfectly justified if you lambast this write-up as a childish rant or a sanctimonious piece of, forgive the following expletive and many more to follow, shit or, even better, yet another random blog on the blogosphere. This is supposed to be a sad commentary on the times we are living in.

Right at the outset I wish to confess that my J-School has to do as much with journalism as much as oral sex with talking. After failing in a number (a gigantic one) of engineering subjects and MBA not looking like my proverbial cup of tea; with much trepidation I took up this journalism course. Trepidation, because I had this notion that a chunk of the class will consist of English grads and for this junta journalism is analogous to fish and water. Three days into the course and I started palpitating.

Most people were not interested in reading newspapers or, you can gasp, watching the news channels. People were hardly concerned why M.J.Akbar was booted out by a mercenary. Instead, most of the class was in a collective orgasm watching Ishaan Trivedi enjoying his Che Guevara moment. That one single trait necessary to become a good journalist- curiosity- was missing in most of us. As budding journalists we are supposed to produce weekly, and subsequently daily, newspapers. To borrow a phrase from Gandhi, these newspapers are truly a drain inspector’s report. When the industry is undergoing a seismic shift in terms of quality what with quantity taking a backseat my J-School is still in that Karanjia personified time warp. Get stories every week. It doesn’t matter if they are really worth publishing. Amazon forests need to be raped and we should contribute to it in whatever way we could is the overruling dictum.

Ethics is as much an abused term as much as aam aadmi by the UPA government and different by Indian filmmakers. I don’t know how ethical it is for a hawker to fend for himself in a park where, surprise, surprise, hawkers are not allowed. I certainly don’t know how ethical it is if a bus conductor filches one rupee from right under the nose of the commuter when, in fact, he has to share space with “techies” who draw obscene salaries. A firangi once told that a city can be assessed by the quality of its newspaper. Touché.

Earlier people used to come to journalism with sheer commitment when in fact they can go anywhere. Praful Bidwai could have been in the Silicon Valley. T.N.Ninan could have been India’s version of Jeffrey Sachs. Buttressed by pumping of ridiculous amounts of moolah into the industry, newspapers and their richer cousins, websites, have indeed started paying well. No wonder then that you see young journalists taking up jobs with money being the sole differentiating factor which is not at all a deplorable fact. But one needs to be sure what they are getting into. The quality of journalism being churned out in the current times would make Sham Lal wake up from his coffin. I don’t see this changing unless the journalism students stop thinking that the sun shines from their ass.

P.S: I know I promised something else but I am nowhere near that eunuch who lifts his undergarments to show his smashed genitals. At the end of my first semester, ugly journalism looked like endemic but after passing out I feel its pandemic in this country. Thus, instead of personalizing it I have tried to keep it in a broader perspective. However, I have learnt one big big lesson at my J-School- importance of reading.

Some Recommendations:

REC: This is certainly a Blair Witch Project knock-off and comes nowhere near that cult feature but quite a few moments certainly make this movie watchable.

My Name is Joe: Yasujiro Ozu, Luis Bunuel and Ken Loach. This is the chronology of directors who have made “social” movies. Peter Mullan’s affecting performance actually made me say “My name is Joe Kavanagh and am an alcoholic.”