Even as I write this, Burkha Dutt is writhing in orgasmic fervor on the TV screen in front of me. Revelling in the drama of the situation and getting into her zone, with her voice breaking almost at will and her vocabulary scaling new heights in dramatization. This is her thing!
As I watch this newscast from my couch all weekend, I think to myself….’isnt this a dream newscast for a terrorist’? Isnt this how they would have exactly wanted to script it?…..20-30 of the best journalistic minds in the country fighting between themselves to prove who can ‘magnify the fear’ better and who has the best ‘drama’ on offer?…..for heaven’s sake, they even have a ‘highlights’ sorta music video every hour or so….just in case you had forgotten any of those images.
I rewind back to the early morning hours of Thursday, when I got out of my hotel room in Mumbai after being huddled in front of the TV all night. Though I was ridiculously far away from all the ‘action’ of the previous night, I ask the bell boy something I have never asked in my life before “Is it safe to go out now?”.
30 minutes later, I reach the domestic terminal and it was a shocking sight. Not because something changed, but because Nothing did. It was exactly the way I left it two days back. Well, actually no. There was a lone cop standing with a semi-automatic.
Ten minutes later, I pass through security and for the 22nd time in the last 2 months, my super-large shaving cream canister, my 500 ml Davidoff and packs of matches – all in the front zipper of my laptop bag, make safe travel through the X-ray tunnel, without tickling the attention of the guard. My mind is shouting out to him “common!! see it! See it atleast today…..this is the morning after a terrorist attack and there is enough room in that canister to blow up the plane I am taking”. But No. He gets out the rubber stamp, and mid-way over sharing a joke with his colleague, brings it down on my tag.
(Even as I write this, Arnab Goswami has just repeated the words “These are visuals that are coming to you exclusively on Times Now and no other news channel” for the 104th time in the last 48 hours.)
As I board the plane, I am convinced about one thing. You dont need an international conspiracy to blow this country up. You dont need a meticulous plan. You dont need a terrorist ourfit. You can do it at will. All you need is just a desire to die and a few hours of your time. So, lets not pretend that something has been breached. There was nothing to be breached. No fucking thing.
The Director of HR of Infosys just popped on screen, demanding the right to bear arms. Fair enough (are you listening Mr. Terrorist? Is this panning out like you planned?). And Milind Deora pops on screen talking about Mumbai like as though it is a neighbouring country. Dude, you are the MP from South Mumbai, for cryin out loud!! But the most appropriate sound byte in all these 4 days came from RR Patil. Surprisingly, everybody is calling it a gaffe. Absolutely not! I think it is the most honest, objective and pragmatic assessment of the situation. A masterstroke.
“Aise bade bade sheharon mein aise choti choti baatein hoti hai”.
Bravo, my man! He is right. A much much larger thing could have happened. And no, the cop in the police station in my vicinity, weilding a lathi and a modified version of the 1880 “.303 Musket” is not gonna stop it. The fact that the “.303” was a big hit in both the World Wars, notwithstanding.
i thought the hostages sounded much more composed than she did…but you put it just right k. To give her credit, she is the only one who asked why nobody was talking about whether the NSG Commandos rushing in were north indians or south indians. i thought that was a point well made.
Very very well written and with the right amount of “punch”. Isn’t it true that we (not referring to this post) often substitute media sensationalisation for media freedom ? I have a ton of reservations about the media involvement this time, call me old fashioned. And am lost for words after reading about the airport scanner experience.
Arch: yeah, I saw that too. And her first victim interviewee was a Muslim! Two moments of brilliance and 59.50 hours of pure ham!Krithika: thanks. and no, dont think you are old fashioned for having reservations about the media . Every other person I have met in the last week is ready to sue a news channel! By the way, have you noticed the sudden popularity of the term “media terrorism”?
I read this aloud to my husband, K, and the first thought that struck me was that it is very effectively written – the right blend of everything. I know your primary intention while writing this post was not for it to just read aloud well, but I thought I should tell you.By the way, my big Indian holiday is canceled, so no chennai dance festival plans :(. Feeling terrible about it. there is no place like India, right?
Roopa, thanks so much! My writing must have improved, thanks to me spending hours reading archives of a certain blog called ‘Tattoo’. You should check it out sometime! Its Beautiful 😉 Very sorry to hear that the Chennai thing has been cancelled. But guess what…http://margazhiraagam.com/Watch that space…am told some international screenings are on the cards 😉
This is the nicest thing anybody has said about my blog. I am grinning away like a Cheshire cat 😀 (to resort to an archaic simile)
psssstttttt … isnt it time u wrote again? this silence is deafening!!
I just happened to land here, from the ‘Tattoo’. Read the post on Mumbai…Very nice. Am amazed that your shaving cream canister and the davidoff squeaked through. Honestly, I am a wee bit envious. For, my bag gets hauled up every single time – for safety pins, to perfume vials to key bunches to what ever else. Me, impatiently rumaging about in my giant tote bag, under the unapologetic eye of the security officer, was at one time a common sight at Bangalore airport. These days, I take the train.:) 🙂