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.
And just for a brief moment, I smiled.