Monday, July 18, 2011

Know news is good news!

Disclaimer : No journalist or media-person was harmed during the making of this blog post.

You wake up everyday. I’m sure you woke up today, too. Once you are done with that, you get started with your routine. And one of the commonest human rituals is to read newspaper or to switch on the TV for news. (Unless you are one of those lucky people who are illiterate but content with their mundane ignorance!) Now, if your day begins with news, what does it say about you as a person? You are curious? Yup, always been. Want to stay abreast of current affairs? Great!
But what exactly do you do with all that you read and learn and watch presented under the garb of news? Nothing, in most cases. Following news is just another evolutionary practice inculcated into our daily life for knowledge’s sake. There is not much one can do about a majority of stuff out there on the paper or screen. So why are we so fond of news, be it good or bad? Because we are an entertainment-loving species and news is gossip presented in a very refined manner. As elementary as that.
On a personal scale, I relish half-baked truths. I have them for breakfast daily. The French in me calls it biscuit. They call it news. To add to the misery, I read something or the other every morning which tells me I should quit reading them. But I never do. In fact, the recent events revolving around Rupert Murdoch made me realize that even some of the oldest media giant might go down for news. Meanwhile, I’ve got no doubt that the world would miraculously change for the better the day we stopped reading newspapers. But then, even if I switched to TV, I’d still be hopeless. After all, in India, the thin line separating TV news from TV soaps is almost invisible now. And this has been the case long before Arnab decided to put the media in comedian.
You see, there might be absolutely nothing out there to report but our media will beautifully turn it into news for gab-hungry masses. Anyone can create news out of thin air. If nothing else works, the media can report on the thinness of the air. [No, wait, the weather bureau is already doing that, aren’t they?] Moreover, watching news destroys a few of those newsworthy moments that could have been ours. Being the minions that we are, we’ll never know what is true and what is being reported as true. Unfortunately, rumours won't give up on news at any cost and vice versa. Fortunately, the spread of fire will never catch up with the spread of its news.
One lesson newspaper teaches us every single day – better not believe every crap you read. Times changes, perceptions changes and of course, news changes. Remember when they got Osama (at last) and how he got killed by breaking news? No one was allowed to see his face nor his dead body but we somehow managed to gulp the shoddy information of his demise. At that moment, the less you looked out for news, the more you’re convinced of the sheer wastage of time and energy.
And the hard part is when they collect too many viewpoints at once and make you look confused than a newborn dinosaur. Goes without saying, the plural of news is nuisance. As a part of social experiment, we should read last week's newspapers and ascertain its relevance in present day, if at all. Or not check news, at all.
You’ll never come across a channel which will go “We’ve got breaking news for you! Damn. We just broke it!” That’s the whole point. There’s hardly anything sacred about truth or news or journalism at large. I don’t mean to sound cynical but everything is commerce now-a-minutes. And the day each one of us is happy is the day news dies.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Putting the quit in mosquitoes

You know what sucks other than my blog? Mosquitoes. Humans may find it offensive but "You suck!" must be a compliment among mosquitoes. Yes, that’s common sense unless you are a mosquito who‘s reading this piece and feeling offended. Moreover, for a mosquito, human body is just another free bar.

For the record, I share a very bizarre relationship with mosquitoes. I admire them as well as hate them. It’d be fair to say that we are engaged in a die-unto-death battle. One of us has to give up to let the other survive. In my otherwise insipid life, I am guilty of massacring millions of these pests but it was always them who started the fight, not me. But I have to admit that every time I slay a mosquito, the loser in me receives a massive ego boost. The feeling that follows such act is beyond words (and sentences and paragraphs and blogs and universe and everything else!). Thankfully, it's easier to assassinate a well-fed mosquito than a famished one. Perhaps that is Mother Nature's way of making sure no one dies hungry.

It goes without saying that they effortlessly defeat the Gandhian in me because I’m usually a staunch pacifist, even to the point of wimpiness. But being a human, you’ve got to do what a mosquito wants you to do i.e. murder it. Despite all of this, we share a mutual respect for each other. But love is not in the air. Mosquitoes are. The trouble with mosquitoes is that they think they are smart. And the bigger trouble lies in the fact that they are INDEED smart.

For once, they are born with this innate ability to overlook human ugliness. We should be gracious to them for this kind consideration. No wonder they are pious beings. They are a god-fearing as they constantly hum their prayers. Killing them is like a double-edged sword. You are displeasing both Devil as well as God. To make matters worse, they are born musicians. Anyone can kill a mosquito but no one can take away its music. Besides, you only share your blood with them, not your wretched DNA.

I guess early human beings clapped to kill mosquitoes and then clapped more to celebrate their kill. That’s how clapping and mosquitoes got introduced to each other. On a personal level, I firmly adhere to the principle of not mulling those who don't belong to my house. And anyway, even the mosquitoes in my office are professional. They'll bite you only if you're idling around.

Like I mentioned before, mosquitoes possess some attributes unbeknownst to the rest of living beings. For instance, dignity. A bed bug will be prepared to get into your pants but a mosquito won’t ever stoop so low for food. They do face hard times like the rest of us but they’ll keep their proboscis stiff and stay out of fear. Well, for anecdote’s sake, I do remember a swarm of panicked mosquitoes once invading my room. I figured out then that nothing else scares the shit out of them the way rain does. Rain is like a wet ghost to them.

As I’m typing, I can’t help notice this time of the night when some fat mosquitoes get high on blood and crash into walls like drunkards do on street. It is also the period when you’re bound to be touched by their unparalleled love for your skin. You can’t deny that they love you even at their cost of their bloody life.

Appropriately, to set the mood right, I haven't killed a single mosquito tonight. Yeah, age and non-violence is catching up with me. Peace is temporary. Also, it’s a relief there ain’t any clapping limits on killing a mosquito. Or else, I wouldn’t have been the mighty mosquito warrior that I claim to be.

In closing, killing mosquito is a lot like playing Counter-Strike with your own blood and obviously I enjoy it but I won't be satisfied until I participate in the execution of that one last mosquito left on Earth.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A letter to my 16-year-old self

Dear Me@16,
This mail shall reach you in the worst of your lostness and stupidity. But it’s alright coz you won’t be THIS young EVER again. And one day, nine years down the line, you’ll wake up and see yourself writing a blog piece on how things could have been different. At that moment, you’ll be running short of words while being busy looking for better excuses.

I understand you’re not sure what you want to do with your life. No one is. You are not the first human to be blessed with such indecisiveness. All around you are confused but they just pretend as if they know your roadmap. All you have to do is make a choice and stick to it. As of now, you must be wondering whether to opt for Electronics or Arts. Trust me, go for Arts. You are way too dull for engineering math and way too good to have a *secured* future. It’s better to be an unsuccessful writer than a terrible engineer. No kidding.

Pay attention to what I’m saying as I reckon you don’t listen to anyone. After all, I know you better than anyone else. Most importantly, live. Being scared is not a neutral trait. Stop being shy, you dumbfcuk! Go talk to that girl you liked in school. Trust me, it’s worth a try. Spend more time with grandma. She’ll be gone very soon. Take good care of your health. Swim. Run. Cycle. Play football. Do everything that you love but won’t get you killed before you turn 35. Stay in touch with those few dear school friends whom you’re not going to meet on a daily basis anymore. Send a common Thank You Letter to all school teachers and mention what they mean to you. You are not as bad a poet as you think. Of course, you could be worse than that but don’t you dare give up. Keep scribbling. Learn to play guitar. But don’t sing. Some voices are better left unsung.

Enough of lame advices! Moreover, there’s no point in talking sense into you anyway.

No matter how much I try, nothing will change. You’ll commit the same mistakes I did. You’ll learn the same lessons I learned. You’ll ultimately become Me@25. It’ll be a fun ride, though at points you’ll feel otherwise. And then one fine morning, you’ll write what you’re reading right now and feel good about having an active memory. Like they say, it’s all written…. in destiny or on internet.

Yours very own,

N.B. The idea for the above piece came from this post where I left below my more-than-necessary-but-honest comment.