The age of ridiculous

Published: 26 November, 2011 08:20 IST | Rohan Joshi |

So it's come to this then? Two days back, a man named Harvinder Singh stood up and slapped Sharad Pawar, one of the most powerful men in the country, square in the face.

So it's come to this then? Two days back, a man named Harvinder Singh stood up and slapped Sharad Pawar, one of the most powerful men in the country, square in the face.
Now some of you are thinking "That fast bowler who only ever played that India Pakistan series in Toronto slapped the head of the BCCI?" You guys watch too much cricket.

The rest of you on the other hand, no doubt know that some ordinary fellow slapped our Agriculture Minister because that man was angry/crazy/a BJP stooge/Batman, depending on whose version you believe.

And this has resulted in the scientific phenomenon of the butterfly effect, which states that the flapping of a buterfly's wings many miles away can result in political supporters burning things and demanding a Pune bandh.
This is what interaction between the government and the people it governs has come down to. It's like Roadies with consequences. Political debate has degenerated into playground scuffles.

A few days before that, the knights of the electronic media  issued a set of guidelines that would govern their coverage of the birth of a baby. They shackled themselves to afford one of India's most public families a rare private moment.

The Bachchans, in their moment of joy, naturally have every right to their privacy, but it's sad that guidelines were voluntarily laid down, or that they needed to be laid down at all. The horrid part is that if the media hadn't put the shackles on, they wouldn't have had the restraint to allow that moment the dignity it deserves.
The last time we were this excited about a baby, we got a whole new religion and Christmas holidays. What should be trivia, is news. I can't wait for the coverage guidelines they'll issue for the day Rakhi Sawant reveals to the world what planet she's really from.

Elsewhere, an Indo-Canadian pornstar entered an Indian reality show, but did not reveal her profession to her co-contestants. This speaks to two great Indian hypocrisies; one, we'll harp on the Indian-ness  of anyone even remotely famous on the world stage  And two, we watch a lot of porn, but it's not okay to say we do.
Face it, she wouldn't be on the show if a lot people didn't already know who she was. In that respect, her "fame"  is no different from the fame of her co-contestants.
Like them, she's "that person from that thing." The funny thing is, unlike the other contestants in there, people have actually paid attention to the stuff she's in.

I went to bed after watching the show. I had a horrible dream in which a man killed a woman at point-blank range just because she wouldn't serve him a drink.

He went to prison (every alternate Thursday for six hours), and then someone he knew got married, so the prison let him out so he could enjoy it. Luckily, in my horrid dream, the law took a firm, hard stance against him. It looked him in the eye, fearless as ever, and said "Um.
Don't go to bars, okay? Please?" It was a horrible dream, but thank God it was just a dream, because that'd never happen in real life. I mean Ha Ha! That would never happen in a decent world, right? The good news is, at some point he'll probably run out of eligible relatives.

So it's come to this then. We're living in the spoof-film-versions of our own lives. We are in a Govinda movie.  And no, it's not one of the good ones with the No #1 at the end. A world of bad news is understandable. A world of stupid-news though? No thanks.

Those are some of the biggest news items on the air and in the papers now. Aside from that, they have something else in common; they're all personality driven. We are a country of 1.2 billion people. The news though, is currently focused on a grand total of 10 people. When will the news be about everyone else? And more importantly, if we ever do cover everyone else, will we remember to issue proper guidelines on how to go about it? 

Rohan Joshi is a writer and stand-up comedian who likes reading, films and people who do not use the SMS lingo

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