Sunday, June 18, 2017

Why We need only two news bulletins a day?

I am a self-confessed news junkie!!

I started with hating news at a very young age, as news time meant no other TV programs. Dad insisted on watching it from the beginning to the very end, revising the headlines. Those were the days of 20 minutes of structured news bulletin starting and ending with headlines; featuring twice, once in Hindi and the other time in English. The news readers dressed formally, stared into the camera and read from the prompter with a very straight face. Dad as a middle class man with finite means and influence felt the genuine need to know the bigger picture. 

Soon his interest and need rubbed on us, me and my sister. Our young minds started finding the news as captivating, intriguing and thought provoking. It was stranger than fiction, the quest for truth and justice, conspiracy theories, corruption, power, politics, foreign policies… we followed Dad's interest in it. People often noticed and complimented our knowledge of news worthy events. 

We were very excited at the onset of cable TV as news became more interesting. The monotone was replaced by analysis and discussion and investigative journalism where the quest for truth became a little more intense and a little more dramatic. But it was mainly marked by our new found role models; smart, intelligent, confident TV journalist who oozed passion and conviction …. came across as good Samaritans. The khadi kurta’s, rolled up sleeves of pin striped shirts, the enunciated appeals, the visits to far reaching villages or war zones, the discovery of unknown statistics, the analysis panels and hard hitting questions to and from social activists were embraced by us with awe and love.

But as common wisdom goes, everything is good in moderation.

Soon news channels were 24X7. And many more in number. More reports, more repetition of news, more not-so-true news, more of over the top discussion panels, more non-breaking breaking news, more repeated shots of news crew shoving camera in the face of grieving parent/celebrity/undertrial, more Bollywood gossips.

The Indian news casters and journalists tried to strive for a bigger role, as celebrities and political supporters The discussion panel became more dramatized and chaotic much like facts and news. They try to make fashion statements. Many were seen by rubbing shoulder with politicians while standing with and behind them; making a personal profit from their professional influence. 

At this point I moved to US. The media here is sinister in its sincerity.

You can believe in anything and there will be a newspaper/news channel to say how you are right and more importantly those who do not believe in your belief are wrong. You can believe your neighbor is an alien, dinosaurs still exist, bigfoot reads newspapers, unicorns can rap. And there will be a “news” medium to verify and validate it while shaming the non-believers.

Same news and opinions are badgered. Mistakes/gaffes/typos are highlighted till they get set in stone. People with different opinions are showcased so they can be mocked. Attention grabbing headlines are first engineered, then analyzed, then repeated till they provoke a reaction… then the reaction becomes the next headline.

Left, right, center!! All kinds of opinions color the newspapers/podcasts/news sites/new TV channels. They viciously attack and demonize the “others”. The newspapers/channels/website sale has been miraculously revived. I myself read several newspapers but the bigger picture that my dad sought and found is made blurry for me by the large number of sources of constant news, business of profiting from news, propagation of opinions, advice on how I should think and the assurances that “I am right”. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The carnage of Social Media

Nowadays, the need to take sick time off from work is specially excruciating because of the absence of the endearing crutches of the social media.

Once upon a time you could swift through the sweet, non-abrasive, non-political updates and pictures posted by your friends, very safely. Remember, the good times when the worst thing about Facebook was friends showing off the cakes, cars, kid's crafts and nausea inducing PDA.

As thinking individuals, we cannot escape forming opinions. As social beings, we can’t stop ourselves from sharing our opinions. But conversations and josh and smart-ass sarcasm have been replaced with a lot of nastiness. You come across a lot of name calling, insulting meme, a lot of aggression and propagation of one’s own ideology with no respect of others.

The age old wisdom of "don't say anything if you have nothing kind to say" have been thrown out of the window. 

A lot of friends seem uncomfortable. Some threaten to leave Facebook while others invite friends with differing opinions to unfriend them; Some maintain a balance trying to showcase their life/updates/check-ins along with their opinions, some others pretend to miss the new-age-social-media-activism while others have anointed their ideology, prepared a game plan and are set to convert all who disagrees with them... though meanness.

It’s not a complain. I am not requesting helpful tips. It’s a documentation of an observation on how disturbing it is to see the people you respect, disrespecting others; propagating a very unnecessary commotion outside the immediate working of democracy; yet the urgency you feel to express yourself in response to some of the appalling information that threaten to rollback the progress we made as free and civil society.

I wonder if the level of nastiness would have been the same if people had to write their opinion/news/fake news/articles/memes in their own words instead of sharing what seems to be coming from “professional bullies”

We adapt to our environment and this may be the new face of it. May be new social media friend/follow requests will accompany have a sequence of ideology questions to guarantee a rather “happy experience”.

Twitter believe me, is much kinder to me. May be I find respite in sharp perspectives, cleaner words, less attachments or just the comfort of reading from and writing to strangers. Instagram is heaven.

Before I end, thank you to all who show constraint and thank you to all others who don’t. The former group inspires and  guides while the later can always be ignored. This is indeed a very "First World Problem".

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Paralell Universe

Every visit back home, to India, is rejuvenating and re-calibrating.

Every visit home now also feels more disconnected to my life here. It is a funny feeling, where I stay the same person with my thoughts and views, needs and wants, dreams and duties... but the world around me and my position in this new cosmos changes dramatically.

It is like the singer performing in a musical where the set behind her changes while she is still singing the same song.

From the king of my jungle I turn into a claw less kitten, from chef extraordinaire to the ginger & green chilies retriever from the fridge, from a driver to scared passenger who closes her eyes and say a silent prayer just too often, from a decision maker to a permission taker ...

Characters of my musical change too quickly from friends who 'forget' their wallets when we go out for dinner to people who pay for my meals, shopping and existence, from people who think i am funny to those who see every hidden tear in my eye when i try to smile just a little too much, from taking care of myself to getting frustrated of being taken care of by the people who should take care of themselves before me. knowing to each idea of mine will first be thrown out of the window, everyone proposal of help will be met with dismissal and from the head of the family i will move to being the kid of the family who has forgotten to act her expected age.

It is good to be part of two universes where you can still be yourself despite all the changes around you, wherehere you are loved, respected and missed different ways for different reasons and how you love them both again for very different reasons.

Friday, September 09, 2016


Here is my share

o   Making your bed in the morning is the most inefficient activity of the day. You will live through the day and get to sleep in it again!! Be positive people!!
o   I hate the name of the "family size" potato chips packs in the supermarket. They should be called “Motivated individual with right couch and good TV” size.
o   Your Dog or cat may be your babies, but they are still animals. You cannot love them unconditionally while eating other animals. Be Vegan/Vegetarian to declare your true love.
o   Facebook is not a conversion tool. Also the post about your opinion should follow the same rule of kindness and manners that you teach your kids.
o   "American (lack of) choice 2016" is a conspiracy for media ratings like the story of movie "Tomorrow Never Dies".
o   Netflix should have a “happy ratings” on the movie. I can’t afford to have another bad day at work and come back to watch a movie where the dog dies.
o   We should close all weapon manufacturers for one year and open them back only if the world become a worse place without them.  
o   We should introduce intolerance tax. I promise all governments will have enough for all the good work (if any) they want to do.

o   Everyone should be made to try five cuisines, visit four continents, have three passions, try two alcoholic drinks and fall in love with one CAR.


Monday, July 04, 2016

Professionally Amateur

I have a lot of ideas about an alternate career. I want to be a driver for a 18 wheeler truck or an auto mechanic. A writer, a photographer, a chef...

I am a good,safe driver, but I am not sure how easy it will be to take u-turns in a 18 wheeler's, I am known to miss exits or be jumpy and turn before its my turn. I also have a slight confusion with left and right. Just slight. Friends usually look at me when i navigate to match my words with the direction in which my hand points...

A mechanic with depleted strength, incapable of changing tires; a writer who writes short, random thought-farts because as a reader she skim over details consistently ; a photographer with no camera; a vegetarian chef  .... hmmm

A nutritionist with a serious chips addiction; an interior designer with money-matters attitude; a life coach with many socially-renounced life choices ...

All my talents lack a thing or two for me to completely adopt and bloom.

I think I need to go back to school. I definitely need a course in how to objectively weigh the complexity of personality and professional inclination to quantify the qualitative features of talent for deduction to acquire consistent financial gains. Also a guide on soul searching, mind reading and action taking...

Till then I do what I am happy to do everyday ... my current job.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

#Brexit #Regrexit #Badshit

Thursday evening was spent with a close friend talking about relationships, breakups, toxic associations, decisions and the impact of them and I woke up to the news of Britain's divorce with EU on Friday morning.

I felt like I was too distracted watching omelet while the tea boiled over, too engrossed in the US politics and totally unaware of the changing world just a few thousand miles away. You don't expect few things like UK quitting EU, Trump winning republic nomination, Rio allowed to host Olympics despite the epidemic of Zika or gun 'common sense' reforms sacrificed for politics.

The order seems to be crumbling. The foundations are shaking. The rights and wrongs, even the 'Absolutely!! Gosh!! Hell NO', are changing.

How do you make decisions on something which have both pro's and con's? British Exit from EU takes away its big brother role and contribution to EU, relieving UK of many responsibilities like contributing to EU budget and towards the security of the region but then the removal of the same big brother association with other countries hit it adversely in all aspects taking away the favorable climate of economic development, respect and power. Basically UK decided to stop being the cool kid in high school and no one knows the impact because it is absolutely unprecedented.

What is also questionable is that a complicated decision which holds most of its implications based on probability of events in the future was put through referendum and not left with the government and lawmakers. Common man tends to be governed by emotions and nearsightedness, this is why they select a body of people they trust to rule them. So was the referendum a right choice? Again the answer is not 'Absolutely not' because  there are many democratic governments that refuse to enact a very defined will of the common man like US government's apathy towards gun laws and change in economic safe-keepers by the Indian government, overlooking the gawking needs of their people.

But what is baffling is the issue of 'immigration' associated with #Brexit, the reason I am writing about UK, a country that I never even visited as a tourist is because this historic decision impacted me and may continue to impact if the predictions of global economic recession materialize.

Globalization is real. You cannot have globalization and trade without immigration. The problem of the world is not relocation of people but the economic disparity and aggressive fight for its preservation.

Hate, racism, crime, marginalization of communities, regionalism, religious intolerance, fear as a tool to grab power and money, difficulty is forming partnerships due of insecurities; these features have always existed in our socities, but now they grabbing headlines with their unadorned advocacy.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Pain Only!!

At physiotherapy, I saw another patient and was absolutely baffled. Despite her injured knee, she wore makeup and her legs were shaved. I on the other hand, totally overwhelmed by pain look like the bear from the movie ‘The Revenant’.   I have gained weight, can’t sit still for a haircut and wear loose cloths in which I can sneak into without my right shoulder finding out.

My friends talk about my future as casually. new gym routine, travel and changes. I fail to comprehend all of their plans at this point. Its crazy i know, its a small non-life threatening injury, a injury which is only known to cause pain and temporary impact to the range of motion. My condition is debilitating to normal thinking as much as its to the routine of normal life.

Now I understand pain better. I am no longer surprised that people confess to the crimes they have not committed after ‘persuasive interrogating’ from cops.

My mom says health is the biggest wealth and she also says we don’t enjoy any of the luxuries in life while sick or in pain. Except for Netflix, she is right. 

I am not the bravest soul in the world. So there is no longer a quest to find balance in my life, with this pain. The plan is to accept my challenges/grumpiness/handicap with left open arm , till the pain starts to be my busy friend again visiting me only once in a blue moon.