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Electronic News Bites

Been a couple of weird-ass weeks in Mumbai city, first came the rains, then came the blasts. Each of these incidents were covered brilliantly by our ever capable and hard working electronic media guys. How brilliantly you might want to ask...

This is how...

First, let's take up the rains.
It rained like it always does at this time of the year, and the city shut shop for a couple of days like it always has been doing for all these years. Only, till last year, we didn't have these guys risking everything to tell us what we actually should be knowing. Even if we don't really care. All that we got to see a couple of years back were photos in the TOI the next day, and read reports about how the city took a day or two off.

But now?

Intrepid reporter, suitably soaked, does his stuff, and gives us his views on everything right from the BMC’s inefficiency, to the volume of rain measured in the last half a minute. Stands in a waterlogged area for enhanced visual appeal. The junta in the background gawk at the camera as if they are seeing an alien life-form in a bikini, elbowing each other and the reporter to be ‘seen’, and dazzle us with their million dollar smiles. Cut back to dude in the studio, wearing his best Sunday suit.

“Aur aap dekh rahe hain…. Mumbai behaal. Jagah jagah paani ke bhar jaane se train tatha bus ki aawa-jaahi pe bhaari prabhaav. Log sehme hue hain, dare hue hain… par himmat nahi hare hain…Isiko Mumbai ki ‘ispirit’ kehte hain… jo duniya ki koi sheher mein nahi dekhne ko milegi. Kahaa jaata hai yahaan ke log kabhi himmat nahi haarte hain, hamesha museebaton ka dat ke saamna karte hain, aur is baar bhi Mumbai ne apna kamaal dikha hi diya.”

I could have sworn I had heard the same thing last year. Not a word out of place. You wouldn’t have known if they were showing this footage from last year, considering how cleverly they were juxtaposing last year’s waterlogging videos with this year’s, whenever they were a little short of drama.

Cut to footage of street urchins having a whale of a time on the flooded streets.
“Dekhiye Mumbaikar kitna anand utha rahe hain barsaat ki, pareshaaniyon ka saamna karte hue…”

That those wretches would have access to a recreational water body only at this time of the year is purely co-incidental. It simply means that the entire city is having fun in the rains.

Then came the blasts.
Time for even more tact and delicacy.

Cut to suited dude again, in front of an electronic map of Mumbai behind him, with all the explosion sites marked out. “7/11" written in bold on top of the screen. The last time I checked, we still wrote dates as dd/mm/yy. But then 7/11 is slightly easier on the tongue, and has a nice catchy ring to it.

Then suited guy repeated “(time) ko bum dhamaka” 8 times ad nauseam every time we returned from an ad break. Was enough to make you wish he would get a case of fissures in his dorsal cavity. A very apt series of bum dhamakas those would have been there.

Suited dude then tries to patch in another fearless reporter from the frontlines. A technical snag later, he’s left staring at us, blankly. We stare back expectantly, feeling something in our bones. Something good was about to come, or about to give. Then suddenly in a divine burst of inspiration, he lets this rip. Wonder what he was smoking during the ad breaks. Whatever it was, it was freaking good.

“Aur aap dekh rahein hai yeh aankdon (numbers) ka gazab khel”.

(Us: WTF?!)

“Aaj saat july hai, 7/11, aur aaj 11 minute ke andar, 7 bum dhamake huey…”

(Us: WTF?! WTF?! WTF?!)

Another edgy stare into the camera, and then he realizes he’s screwed up royally. He’s been screaming himself hoarser than a vegetable vendor outside Dadar station, stating that there were 8 bum dhamakas in all. Colossal.

To his credit, he pulls himself together very quickly, and then without batting an eyelid, says

“Maaf keejiyega, kul milaake 8 dhamake huey, 7 train mein, aur ek Borivli platform pe. Fir bhi, agar aankdon ko milaaya jaay, to 7 bum dhamake train mein, 11 minute mein. Waakai, acharaj ki baat hai.”

Was left marveling. Waakai boss, acharaj ki baat hai.
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8:33 PM, July 16, 2006
Blogger Supremus said...


If I have to pick the worst news media in thsi world, then NDTV, CNN-IBN, EESTAR News would Rank amongst the top 3. Indian news media is as pathetic as it can get.

I still remember a woman who was standing besides a rumble (After the 2001 earthquake in abad) and goes thus:

"Yaha pe kabhi bachce khela karthe the; aurat sabzi waale sabzi lethi thi!" - I was like - WTF?!


9:33 PM, July 16, 2006
Blogger GuNs said...

Hey, feel like kicking some reporter ass and some photographer crotch every time I watch the news. I mentioned about curtailing the number of news channels on air and the rope given to these smart-a$$ reporters on a comment on mine or someone else's blog.

I think we need some professionalism in the media. Its high time now.


10:39 AM, July 17, 2006
Blogger Anand said...

There was this reporter on Star(if I remember correctly) who was lying down on the lawn trying to dramatise the situation at the time of the Parliament Shoot Out I think. "hum jaan jokhim mein daal kar aap tak ye tasveerein pahuncha rahe hain, shoot out chal raha hai, bandookon aur goliyon ki awaazon se mahol daraavna sa ho gaya hai". Background mein - Reporter and Cameraman from another news channel walk by, or rather stroll across same lawn for a different view of the Parliament building!
Whom were they trying to fool! Jerks I say! All of them!    

3:33 PM, July 17, 2006
Blogger SEV said...

Just goes to show exactly how the newspeople probably viewed the incident. Media is all about hype.. and the worst part is - we're responsible for it being that way.

But that dialogue - like wow. How I wish those 'bum dhamakas' you talked of, happened.    

9:48 PM, July 17, 2006
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:50 PM, July 17, 2006
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ha ha ha ha ha

truly, no place like :-)    

12:39 PM, July 21, 2006
Blogger abeer said...

I read somewhere that a news channel requires only 3 hours of content in a day. They can then easily stretch that content to fit 24 hours. Which is why there is such a high repitition factor.

The news channel that really gets my goat, though, has got to be Aaj-Tak.
a) for their tag line "Yeh thi khabrein aaj tak, intazaar kariye kal tak." How I cringe everytime I hear that.
and b)EACH and EVERY reporter/presenter has to say "Hum aapko bata dein..." followed by whatever inconsequent thing he/she has to say. I know you are talking to me, ignoramus. If it wasn't for me listening to you, you wouldn't have been there.    

10:10 AM, August 10, 2006
Anonymous Anonymous said...

u echoed my sentiments!superbly written.me in hyd and my sis in umbai were checking whether the other was ok after seeing rain pictures one day,when she says its only drizzling here while i said there wasnt a drop over last 2 days here.
they want to sensationalise inanest of news with weirdest of intonations.    

2:32 PM, August 12, 2006
Anonymous Hiren said...

24 hour news channel has to generate news to survive. They are overzealous like in the recent prince episode.    

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