News coverage of even important issues has become hilarious these days, says Abhinav Jain.
I really respect the media people. When I know these guys can to ruin this birth of mine by sending out one bulletin announcing some guy called Abhinav Jain is allegedly a ‘videshi taakat‘ planning to blow up all the ladies toilets in the capital this independence day, I’ve gotta respect them…
A couple of days ago, a guy called Praveen Mahajan pulled out a pistol and went boom boom boom. When the smoke cleared, we had a Praveen Mahajan thinking ‘Shucks, I knew I should not have watched so many violent movies as a kid‘. Pramod Mahajan must’ve been thinking ‘Huh, is this heaven?‘ And thousands of journalists, TV anchors, and newspaper boys around the country thinking ‘Wow, this is some masala for the next ten days‘.
Anyway, one Saturday morning, I was at my home wondering why they put three blades in the ceiling fan, when my sister came in and announced ‘Pramod Mahajan has been shot by his bro‘ with the solemnity of a pope. I went over to the TV.
There was this young lady, around twenty six, wearing a sharp business suit, light pink lipstick, and a ‘Main lut gayi, barbaad ho gayi‘ expression on her face.
Lady presenter (excitedly panting): ‘Abhi abhi praapt soochna ke anusaar Pramod Mahajan par unke hee chote bhai ne badi bedardi se teen goliyan chalayin hain. Aaiye taaza samachar ke liye chalte hai hamare samvaaddaata Deepak ke paas, jo ghatnasthal par maujood hain‘.
The camera stays on the presenter, instead of moving onto a emotionally shaken Deepak. She tries to smile, remembers Pramod has just been shot and quickly recaptures her ‘my house is on fire’ expression. We are soon connected to Deepak, who’s just come out of the toilet, smoking a cigarette, and a quick call to his wife. Deepak is standing with an even more intense ‘My house is on fire and even my pants are‘ expression. A big iron gate can be seen in the background. A few wide eyed people jostle each other and look directly into the camera, trying hard to contain the joy of being on TV.
Lady presenter: Deepak! Humein batayein wahan kya ho raha hain!
Deepak: Rakhi! Main iss waqt Pramod Mahajan ke apartment ke theekh neeche khada hoon. Subah se yahan khade khade taango mein dard ho gaya hain. Teen baar pepsi pee chuka hoon.
Andar jaane ki koshish lagaataar chal rahee hain, but baar baar yeh sasura security guard pakad kar danda lagaa deta hain. Main sochta hoon ek baar fir jaakar pepsi pee loon. Rakhi.
Rakhi: Oh. Aur Pramod jee ke baare mein kuch?
Deepak: Umm. Jee. Ahem… Rakhi, Yahan subah kareeban 8 baje goliyan chalayin gayi Pramod jee par. Suna hai kaafi dard hota hai goli lagne par. Goli ki awaaz se yahan ke stray dogs abhi tak dehshat mein hain.
Rakhi, the lady presenter, quickly realises that Deepak is woefully short of anything sensible to say and makes a mental note to send him an abusive sms after the telecast. Meanwhile, Deepak has tried to grab Pramod‘s neighbours, milkman, plumber, and beautician to express their opinion on the incident, and has successfully grabbed Master Deenanath, who taught Mathematics to Pramod Mahajan in class IV.
Deepak (Victorious tone directed at Rakhi): Hamare saath ab hain Master Deenanaath, jinhone Pramod jee ko 4th std. mein maths padayi thi.
Camera zooms to a frail old man, who’s shaken at being jolted out of his bed abruptly and trying hard to remember who Pramod Mahajan is.
Deepak: Masterji, subah ki ghatna ke baare mein aapka kya kehna hai?
Master Deenanath: Beta iss umar mein mujh buddhe ko yoon bistar se kheench laana, kaafi sharmnaak aur chintajanak ghatna hai yeh.
Champak: Jee, hume afsos hai masterji, par yahan aapka ek poorv chatra zindagi aur maut ke beech jhool raha hain, uske baare mein kya kehna hai aapko?
Master Deenanath: Beta agar yaad aya ki yeh hain kaun, to zaroor kuch keh sakunga.
Apart from this, special 1/2 hour bulletins called ‘Maut ka taandav’, ‘Bhai bana khooni’, ‘Khoon ki Holi’ are being beamed across news channels since that fatal day. Now that they have dissected Praveen, his mind, his motives, his childhood bedwetting memories, his dog’s eating habits and his driver’s family plans, they have been getting all kinds of doctors on television who pull out big human body charts, splotch three big red dots on it and say ‘Goliyan yahan, yahan aur yahan lagi hain‘.
It’s not that I don’t want Mr. Mahajan to get well. Like any other human being, he should live a healthy and fine life, and I hope he recovers soon enough. It is just that I am a little amused by the way media is chugging away at this. I am too relaxed in my life of mindfulness (am getting serious about Vipassana), reading and watching TV (particularly educative late night shows). Am no videshi taakat, ladies toilets in Delhi are safe!