Have you seen the news lately?

I’ve been in a strange frame of mind of late. And a little navel gazing made me realise I really haven’t been myself at all. I should have seen it earlier, given that there have been a few glaring points of evidence to prove why it is so. For one, I have been largely disinterested in most things that otherwise keep me going. I haven’t checked in on my facebook page in a week. I haven’t responded to a handful of comments. I haven’t cooked anything spectacular. And the few times I did, I didn’t feel inclined to shooting and blogging it. I haven’t hauled my ass up to start swimming like I planned over a week ago. I have been eating leftovers for most of last week. I spend more time staring at my computer screen, than actually doing something productive with it. I haven’t blogged anything I am proud of in forever. Silly as it may seem, it has begun to feel a little futile to go on about me and my life and all the cakes in it, when we seem to be going through such a shameful time as a country. But that’s not the worst of it. All the long hours of wasted time freed up have been spent watching TV. And the worst transgression of all forms of idiot box abuse — I’ve spent inordinately vast amounts of time watching the news (or at least the Indian news channels version of it).

The result is I’ve spent a large portion of the last few weeks feeling restless, helpless and altogether upset and jaded. It seems are courts of justice have not been this busy in a long long time. What with so many high profile cases showing up at their doorstep all at once? Who cares about the aam admi and the million lowly battles he fights for years on end. With them, all that is called for is file-pushing and time-buying. This is the real stuff, the hard work. The stuff worth rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty for. It fetches the media coverage, it demands guts and brings in glory. You see, Indian news channels aren’t really the epitome of joy. Much less now, with multiple saucy scandals for them to dig deeper within and provide us with their emphatic and sometimes completely melodramatic opinions.

I watched Arnab’s Newshour one night, and turned the TV off feeling physically agitated. Mind a buzz, angry, frothing at the mouth. At his complete asininity in gathering a panel of people, shoving them into a garland of little boxes around his own hallowed mug that sits right in the middle, and not letting them speak, while he repeats himself over and over again. How do people watch him night after night without wanting to reach out through the TV screen and wring his non-existent neck? No, don’t tell me they watch him because he’s entertaining, because you’re just confirming the news is all about TRPs theory. And I’m too afraid to accept that. I don’t think my tired mind can take that, in addition to the mockery of justice we have been seeing.

The downside of feeling so aggravated about the goings-on of the nation, the world, our people is that it’s hard to sleep. I stay awake thinking so many thoughts. What makes a man of such apparently high principles cave and commit an act that he later passes of as drunken banter? What makes it okay for him to take justice into his own hands and deem a 6 month break from work, a fitting punishment? What makes this countries highest investigative agency take such a firm stand on a double-murder case they deemed inconclusive not so long ago? Who decided it was alright for a high profile politician to keep tabs on a civilian, and then favour her with several lucrative high-profile assignments? What makes it all okay? Who are the powers that be, controlling and orchestrating these bizarre and absurd events? And why are we caught in this downward spiral of just one thing after another? There seems to be no dearth of unhappy, shameful, outrageous events coming out way.

That’s when the penny dropped. If for a moment, I ignore the minute details, like the fact that I have been down and out thanks to an ankle injury that has put me out of gym and in “resting” mode (which btw doesn’t work for a cardio-junkie like me. Because, endorphins. Lack of cardio = lack of happies, simple.) There is also the fact that I finally went into work-my-butt-off mode and cracked down on myself and my unending assignment list, which means when I’m not working, I’m psyching myself to work. But none of that takes away from the fact that I’ve been feeling eurrrgh, totally disoriented, and unhappy. Just so unhappy.

There’s a reason I quit following the news on an everyday basis, barring just reading the headlines online. There’s a reason we went TV-less for a long time. There’s good reason why I found it so hard to listen to the shrill, forceful opinions that are constantly being doled out on FB and twitter. Until news of the Tejpal sexual assault case broke out, the twitter app on my phone had remained dormant for close to 6 months. I probably paid the price for being less informed, but at least I wasn’t this cynical. Less helpless. Less restless. Less uncomfortable and less worried.

It’s one thing being informed. It’s another thing to willingly expose yourself to the sweeping quantities of drivel thats being beamed out on TV. So clearly biased, so filled with strong opinions. So loaded with hate. Brimming with heated, misguided, negative emotion. Because I’m beginning to think, it rubs off. It passes through. It seeps out and creates this cloud of cynicism, where the lines of what is real and what is dramatized blur and everything begins to feel like a gigantic mess. Where you only see the shit hitting the fan and not what lies beyond.

Is it just me or has it really begun to feel like every day is incomplete without at least one scam, one scandal, one shameful event, one heinous crime being perpetrated and then splattered all over our news channels?

Swiping through my twitter TL rife with opinions about the Tejpal ruckus, I saw this.

vir

And just for a brief moment, I smiled.

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14 Replies to “Have you seen the news lately?”

  1. There there…

    One of the biggest fallout of the situations in this country is that people are now being affected by the news in this manner. There are more cases happening, and a higher ratio being reported. If it affects people enough to be more aware and bring a better long term change, then great.

    Ankle injury? How fast is it healing? and did it pain much?

    Waise, what are you reading these days?

    1. Haha ironically, tarun tejpals “alchemy of desire”. Started it right after thinkfest and even though it is rather nicely witten, i just cant get myself to finish it now :-/ and honestly i havent been doing ANYthing apart from working and moping.

  2. So I don’t have a TV. I don’t watch the news and I don’t get newspapers. MY father has been giving me a hard time over this for the ten years it has been going on. He gets 5 newspapers, reads three more online and is always watching some new channel. And cricket. On Sunday he said to me, god I don’t even want to turn the damn TV on any more. And I smiled and I said, do you get it? And he did. But he still needs the TV for cricket!

    1. Iv said it before, when we went TV-less, neither of us missed it. And VC is the one who can spend hours in front of the TV. I never could, and cant do it now. WHich is probably why the last week as been so out of the usual for me, and it has totally fucked with my head, man! Even now, the TV and cable is there, but it is only turned on for ahem, Bigg Boss, Im ashamed to admit. But even THAT is mre entertaining than the histrionics on the news. And thankfully, BB comes with an end date, so even as I sit thru every episode and cuss and curse and rant and rave, I know it will be over in a month. And then I will go back to not watching TV. hahaha

  3. The husband likes to watch the news on tv, especially the debates, discussions, interviews etc. All it seems to be is people trying to one up the other and talk over the other which leads to shouting and ranting. Making everyone involved look like colossal idiots. It spirals out of control and no point gets made and no solutions come forth. It drives me crazy. My husband says not to get so worked up, but the news shows upsets and frustrates me terrible. So I have just stopped watching them. I glance at the headlines of The Hindu and that is enough for me. As an aside, I have found the BBC news programmes interesting and educative. When will our news shows learn to be less sensational and more informative?

    1. Yeah, like I was telling a friend, in India the should rename it “Opinions” and stop calling it news. Because we seem to have lost the ability to present facts and events as they happen, devoid this hysterical, sensational display.

      1. But, why? Why does Arnab need to go?

        Unlike the diva from NDTV and the sanctimonious Rhodes scholarship couple of IBN, Arnab (as far as what is known of him) is honest. He hardly gets along with the ugly Delhi socialite circle, is fiercely ambitious and what not.

        The evidence of Arnab not toeing any party’s line was very obvious from Caravan’s (sorta) hit job on Arnab Goswami: http://www.caravanmagazine.in/reportage/fast-and-furious

        He is noisy, yes. He doesn’t let people speak, yes. He is silly, yes. I would rather take a honest joker over a dishonest, sanctimonious diva who is in cohort with the corrupt establishment in India — evident from her involvement in Radia tapes. Unfortunately, for India, we are stuck with ‘messy’ people and dishonest rogues like the diva. Given the lack of a better option, I would choose Justice Arnab over the other corrupt media rogues.

        1. Im not Barkha Dutt fan at all. And for a lot of the same reasons I dislike Ms Ghose too. But I do think Rajdeep Sardesai has some substance. From what I have seen, I find him to be articulate, composed, level-headed and very clear. All of the things I find that Arnab is NOT. Arnab is LOUD, and I dont just mean in decibel levels, he has shrill opinions that aren’t necessary always right. His show is supposed to build a cross-opinion kind of setting, but is usually all about him and his agenda for the day. He never hears anyone out, even for the sake of putting all the various sides of the story out there. Its such a sham. Doesn’t call out honesty to me at all, at any level.
          And somehow the arguement of choosing the lesser of evils doesn’t sit well with me. If he is noisy, silly and doesn’t let people speak and is too full of himself and I dislike that, I’d rather stick with that, than say oh well, but he’s better than the rest.
          That the media scenario is a sick one these days, is undisputed, but that’s hardly reason to pick one sick-o who we think may be less evil than the rest.

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