Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Octopus Society - Parts 3, 4

For those who missed parts 1 and 2, there are no parts 1 and 2 that have been uploaded. Teeeheehheee

Third & Fourth Estates: Businessmen & Media. Yeah we know, they are not all that pristine. Jr. Ambani was barred from capital markets recently, and it’s not big news. I checked just now, and there's just 329 news articles on google news, after 5 days! When Harshad Mehta was hunted down, it made big news 15 years ago. And after he was arrested, or something like that, he alleged that he gave one crore to the then PM, PVNR. Dismissing the bug bull’s claims, the late, K. Karunakaran, then the CM of my state, said something to this effect “At the state-level 1 crore means something. At the central-level, what is 1 crore?” And we laughed it off as a society. Like, we ignore the banning of one of the richest men in the country now from the watering hole of capitalism – the stock market.

Even before the Radia tapes, I hated media. Not the jealous type of hate. I hated the high falutin stance of the new media breed. On any issue, they had taken the role of the jury, the lawyers, and the guillotine man in one sweep. And I hate that much power vested in one leg of our Octopus society.

I for one, wanted to be a journalist, years ago, when I was getting stifled by steam tables, gas dynamics, and Laplace transformations – during my engineering.

Sometime later, I applied for a Certificate Course in Electronic Journalism. The day of the interview to short list candidates was a shocker. There were 40 or 50 aspirants, and they had to filter it down to 25 people. I knew I would sail through, when I heard two people discussing things around me.
Guy1: In this course, I heard, they teach you to go to the Internet and find relevant information.
Guy 2: Really, I have used e-mail before, but this will be so cool.

I was like “get a life fellows, the world has moved on” and walked into this auditorium where 5 or 6 doyens of the press were gonna interview me. They sat on an elevated platform where politicians sit for press conferences. They asked me to read two news articles, journo style, one in English and one in Malayalam. Did those in a pretty suave fashion. And then they asked a few questions, and I answered them well (Yeah I did). Then they asked me if I had any questions. And I asked something like (smacks head now), in televised press conferences, I see some relatively arrogant comments from politicians, and I see the people from the press laugh. How do you explain this, considering it’s your duty to grill them to get meaningful information to your audience?

Some senior fellow in the dais said something to the effect of you will know the pressure of it when the time comes. And it ended. I walked out feeling confident, and the coordinator told me he will get back to me.

When I went down, I saw an elated Guy1 (mentioned above) pumping his fist, because he had been selected. Guy 2, who went in after me (who could not even speak properly), and came out barely a few minutes later, also was selected. And that day, I got the essence of I will get back to you. In retrospect, I didn’t lose much. But, as a candidate, that was a depressing experience. Failure gets to me, even if it is (or is not) of my own making. T/F you – TVM press club.

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