In continuation of my failed attempts to look back at 2008 (the year when credit crisis eroded the economy of construction and terrorism created new ventures for employment) and converting my 12 months of news watching in a blog post like last year, here I am – back with a new post.
January – For most part of the month, news channels which were playing the Karamchands and Byomkesh Bakshis to unearth the mystery behind a political assassination, suddenly turned into the Animal Planets and National Geographies depicting the thesis of human evolution from monkeys and similarity between the language of queen and Punjabi expletives. If Australian media was reporting on how BCCI is negotiating for a cheaper fuel deal for its chartered aircraft to bring back its team in protest to one of its player's ban, India TV was running a series on HanumanJi and how he burnt Ravan's Golden Lanka. They also found out the cave where gold has disappeared after melting. Aaj Tak, fresh from winning the best new channel award for 6th consecutive year, again displayed its Sabse Tej Channel expertise when they won the race in a photo finish to reach the conclusion – it wasn't monkey but maa-ki. Jignesh Patel, economy expert at KLPD Broking, predicted on CNBC Awaz that SENSEX would reach 28,279 in December 2008.
February - Son of a certain lion who doesn't eat grass was seen dating with a damsel who was fancied by his ODI captain. Aaj Tak called it Yuvraj ka Badla, as Dhoni was supposed to have snatched captaincy from him which could have been Yuvraj's. News24 showed the entire history of song Dost dost na raha as it fitted the situation perfectly. In other news, a certain political party (I am scared to take its name) opted for a power play when it disrupted a few press conferences, blocked few roads, broke few taxis. Soon, the media was going to create one of the biggest political images of the year. Finance minister P Chidambaram announced a 60,000K crore loan waiver for Indian farmers. IBN7 welcomed the move with open mouth & closed mind and invited Mahinder Kapoor to relive his magic of Mere Desh ki dharti song to celebrate the victory for farmers which include Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bacchan and Rani Mukherjee. Jignesh Patel, in spite of SENSEX plunging a few thousand points, remained up beat about it. However, he did revise his target to 27,893 saying long term growth story was in tact.
March - India won CB series and U19 world cup. Everyone welcomed their heroes back with all the warmth. But life isn’t just about playing cricket and winning. Hence IBNLive did what the family members of many cricketers wanted to do, they went on soul mate hunting for the bachelors of team India. The very same political party I am scared to name broke another taxi in Mumbai. Only an esteemed channel India managed to get exclusive coverage as the taxi broken happened to be their staff cab. India successfully tested AGNI-I. While rest of the channels were foolishly comparing it with Pakistan’s Gauri and their likes, IndiaTV compared it with its real comparable – Bharamshtra - during their visit to Ravan’s lanka in January, they managed to get some picture of the weapon which looked like a compressed picture of AGNI-I. SENSEX kept declining although Jignesh Patel, at Aaj Tak, explained that the long term growth story is intact on the basis of decoupling theory.
April – True journalism is not just about reporting elections which look interesting but make no difference to common man’s life or budget which make difference to common man’s life but doesn’t really interest him. It has to be reporting for and about the common man. TV journalism took this new avtar to a new paradigm in India. So in case you have lost your dog, Star news searched it for you or if your cat has lost her way to roof top, Aaj Tak was there to cover it. IndiaTV went one step further and revealed how aliens peep into your neighbour’s daughter’s room every night to take some nefarious pictures on their gen-X mobiles or how they are stealing cows from the planet earth.
May – This was the month when the monthly blasts started in India. All the channels were live reporting the aftermaths but an esteemed channel held the real sensation in “Ms. Short hair” who, as expected, turned out to be most intriguing interviewer with her trademark question to a victim – “Hey, you have just lost a leg. How does it feel?” Home minister said that culprits will be dealt with strongest actions. Aaj Tak would have surely got the home minister to resign if a murder had not taken place in Delhi. In a really unfortunate event, a 14 year old kid got murdered in Delhi. This gave genesis to the biggest rendezvous to the imagination of police and its facilitation by media. The plot envisioned was no lesser than Tashan in terms of twist & turns. Out of total chaos, IndiaTV emerged as holiest by sticking to their alien attack story. They also came back to brahmastra when India successfully fired nuclear capable Prithvi – II.
June – Aliens looked like paying off for IndiaTV as they continued their successful run amongst news channels. With a month or Arushi murder case on TV, viewers actually started shifting to UFOs and Aliens by the end of June. Transfer to mere 40 acres of land to a shrine board caused havoc. CNN-IBN tried to analyze the issue from all angles and what they missed, TimesNow covered. And what these two missed, others covered. However, nothing was discovered. SENSEX kept declining. Jignesh Patel had corrected his target to 20,000. He said that worst is over yet some pain might well be left. The political party which I am scared to name burnt a few more cabs. This time everyone reported the exclusive footage.
July – The most honest day in the history of Indian parliament happened to occur in July 2008 when three BJP MPs refused to accept bribe that too publically in the parliament. A sting operation was planned and tapes were handed over to the speaker of the house by CNN-IBN. This was the day when most of us, the common men, saw an amount which we might never be able to earn in our entire life span – INR 3 cr. However, as the enquiry is throwing results, it looks like a Manmohan Desai’s happy ending movie with everyone turning on the brighter side of life which means innocence. I wish they could donate me that rejected money as no one is claiming it. Bangalore was shook by serial blasts and before home minister could give his customary speech, Ahmadabad was done. Home minister said that culprits will be dealt with strongest actions and will not escape scot-free. First sentence was for Bangalore blast and second for Ahmadabad. In a remarkable event signifying media as mass communicator, terrorists sent an email to a few news channels warning about the attack. “Ms. Short hair” collected her set of data from two cities – reply to “How are you feeling”
August – Finally it happened. India won its first individual gold medal at Olympics. Some other players also did commendably well. Focus on Olympics by 24X7 news channels after Bindra won gold made sure that this was the most keenly followed Olympics in Indian history. StarNews organized a talk show on how popularity of cricket is making other games suffer in the country. Charu Sharma, Mandira Bedi and Rakhi Sawant were the main panellists. Mandira Bedi did reveal that she is an avid sports lover which has helped her keeping her body fit enough to make her cover girl of Maxim India. This led to a debate of who has better body – Rakhi Sawant or Mandira Bedi. Viewers could SMS their votes to 53333. Winner was going to be gifted a barrel of Kingfisher beer by Charu Sharma and also a chance to dine with him. Jignesh Patel had shifted his SENSEX target to 17,000. He did say that some pain might be left in the market yet worst was about to be over.
September – Kosi had taken a catastrophic form in Bihar leaving millions affected. Flood did stop the flow of its news to media centres in Mumbai and believers of Indian shining were informed a month late about the calamity. As News24 was about to send its reporters to the flood affected region to cover the story, Delhi donated its share to the sacrifices in the name of so called Jihad when serial blasts shook the capital. Home minister gave the same speech as the last time but in three different dresses. IBN7 ran a story on his wardrobe where as IndiaTV was again the front runner to receive the warning email from the terrorists. May be their alien connection was giving them some edge. After all terrorists believe that they go to heaven when they die and we believe that aliens come from heaven. May be aliens are terrorists or vice versa. I don’t have an answer. May be IndiaTV will unearth the mystery behind it in 2009. “Ms. Short hair” collected her set of data from Delhi – reply to “How are you feeling”. May be she wants to write a book about the correlation between people’s response to a terrible event in life and their geography. That political party’s (which I am scared to name) chief was arrested and released. Again arrested and again released. It kept happening with so appreciable regularity that nothing changed in the city. Just that it was poorer by a few cabs and few weeks of productivity.
October – India launched some space vehicle. IndiaTV soon declared that scientists had taken their inputs about aliens before launching the vehicle. They also reported that one of their reports is missing and he might have slipped into the space vehicle. However, next day it was found that the very same reporter had joined StarNews hence he was missing from work. India won the second test against Australia in Mohali under Dhoni’s captaincy which prompted IndiaLive’s cricket expert Surinder Khanna to urge Kumble to take retirement in the interest of Indian cricket and let the fresh blood take charge. Siddhu opposed him and the one sided debate continued till next test at Kotla was drawn and Kumble actually retired. Jignesh Patel was now talking about March 2009 target of SENSEX at 13,000. He said that the short term pain might erode long term growth story and India cannot be untouched by the global turmoil however worst was almost over. City was becoming poorer and poorer in terms of cabs as some political party which I am scared to name was....
November – 26th November 2008. I need not say anything. Every channel was bringing its own exclusive coverage of live operations. With so many channels you got so many angles that even a cricket match might not provide even if it’s covered by Channel 9. “Ms. Short” hair was busy collecting responses to her pet question, TimesNow was busy sounding the most honest, Aaj Tak was as usual the fastest but the real victorious emerged in form of IndiaTV. The terrorists chose IndiaTV to make a phone call and it was broadcasted. Doesn’t it sound like a modern day love story? First patao a girl on mail/chat and then one fine day call her up to take your chances. But everyone in the limelight bore the burnt of 24X7 news. One wrong word meant a pink slip. One wrong companion meant a pink slip. Quite like a political recession. The event also triggered off a political recession for that political party I am scared to name. Jignesh Patel could have been in Taj for a company party which was cancelled because of cost cutting measures.
December – Aftermath of 26/11 still continue. Aaj Tak is still making stunning revelations. IndiaTV is still reaching places where no one else can like Pandal of a famous marriage in Mumbai where some guests were expected from Karachi. “Ms. Short Hair” is still asking the same questions. Everyone was singing was Mumbai Spirit song but I was yet scared and worried. But as soon as I saw Aaj Tak reporting about chief of that political party (which I am scared to name) again giving a speech today, I took a sigh of relief. Its all back to normal now till next time. Aaj Tak can go back to Dhoni and his would be, IBN7 can focus on a chain snatching incident in Yamuna Vihar in delhi, News24 can focus on the love story of the terrorist who were killed in Batla House, “Ms. Short Hair” can ask people on how they feel participating in “We the people” and IndiaTV can go back to UFOs.
Meanwhile, no taxis were broken in the entire month of December. I received a mail with Jignesh Patel’s CV. He lost his job because of the pain still stuck in the system as his brokerage house closed down. As I sent it to my boss he replied “CV format is nice. Keep it with you for making your CV. You might need it soon”.
1. While intentions and message are true, there are lots of factual inaccuracies in this post e.g. names of channels reporting particular news items. Most of them are devised by my mind fearing my 6:00AM alarm. I do not take responsibility for any such error and if it is there, it is regrettable.
2. Don’t sue/hit/kill/send hate mails to me.
3. Before you decide against disclaimer 2, please read disclaimer 1 again.
4. In nutshell, there are a lots of factual inaccuracies which are work of my imagination.