Saturday, May 24, 2008

Poll results from the Newsroom.

One of the things I love watching on news channels is election coverage. Be it the exit polls before counting or the marathon coverage on the counting day (which earlier used to be days, before electronic voting machines became norm)

In mid-late 90s when channels like Zee News and Star News (when NDTV used to produce content for them!) were threatening Doordarshan as prime and more dependable source of independent news and Aaj Tak was just a half hour news show, TV Today used to produce the election specials for DD. Since there was no separate DD channel for news, the election special was shown on DD National channel only and since we didn't have cable connection (we were 'santusht' without cable, you see!) we had no option but to watch this only for nearly 3 days or as long as counting went on.

I used to watch this, not because I was very much engrossed in politics, ofcourse I liked keeping up with that too, but because I liked watching the sets, the graphics, the interface of analysis and results being shown, the anchors talking live with the correspondents and the overall energy of the show which kept the show interesting despite too many talks and discussions. Sometimes there was a piece in newspaper which talked about election coverage by channels and secretly I felt good when DD was praised for its accurate exit polls or good interface for wins/leads tally.

Later when I could watch other channels as well, a favorite activity was comparing these things on all of those!

On 25th May, it was counting day in Karnataka and all the news channels were in election mode. And I got busy with my favorite activity!

NDTV 24x7's coverage was lively with Prannoy Roy, Barkha Dutt and Srinivasan Jain handling the affairs. Their graphics were perhaps the best but just why they didn't show other parties' figures in their seats tally?

On CNN-IBN Yogendra Yadav wore his usual Kurta Payjama and academic attitude and was generally likeable as always but Rajdeep Sardesai was shouting (as always!) so much that I had to switch channels! The channel tried to spice up its coverage but frankly I was not interested in watching mostly because their tally and leads/wins scroller was so small that I could hardly see anything.

On Times Now Arnab Goswami and his team (sorry I know no one else there!) seemed to be conducting a solemn ceremony even when they were accompanied by politicians who seemed to get in that solemn mood as well! Their interface was very neat, big and clear but they were slow with their updates.

On Aaj Tak Deepak Chaurasia, Ajay Kumar and Prabhu Chawla sat on a set with an animated background which made me think for a moment that it was a F1 show. NDTV India wore a deserted look with Vinod Dua and A.... talking to Abhishek Singhvi and a JDS leader on a very regular set. Star News had horribly opulent graphics and animated set resembled an amphitheater, add to this 'Azeem-o-shaan' tune in the background!

And last but not the least, telugu channels namely ETV2, NTV and TV5 seemed to be miles ahead in their seat updates (at one stage when NDTV, Aaj Tak and Now were on 161/224, these channels had figures of 191/224) but their figures were very unstable and changed every two seconds, so after a moment of awe I decided to ignore them.

But the disappointment of the day was DD News with its ghastly sets and terrible colors. What a heartbreak!

Friday, May 16, 2008

The ugly face of Indians

I have a reputation for not abusing, yet if right now I feel like hurling choicest of expletives at Indians, no one in general, you may understand the mental state I am in after reading this shocking tale of insensitivity of Indians, and no I am not talking about Shivraj Patil and his hunchmen.

"Passengers sqeeze life out of child" (wrong spelling of 'Squeeze' is not a typo by me, its by paper, that too for a front page news) screams the headline on New Indian Express (Hyderabad, 16th May). A seven year child, Aishwarya, traveling with her sisters and parents in general compartment of Egmore-Guwahati Express died due to suffocation and scorching heat in the compartment.

Her parents tried saving the children from "constant pushing and shoving from insensitive fellow passengers" but Aishwarya started vomiting and ran up high temperatures. The 108 Emergency Helpline Ambulance that was called by her father lacked first-aid facilities and child could not be saved.

Do you know the sensation of being choked? Being crushed from all sides and struggling for a little air to breathe? I know, because I experienced it once when I was a child and went to a religious fair with my mother and aunty. Just imagine that 7 year old child struggling to have a little fresh air and dieing every moment till that moment which ended her sufferings for ever. Just imagine the grief of a family which lost a child during a few hours journey!

Add to that the insensitivity of people around you. Constantly shoving and pushing around. We all love children of our co passengers until we have to share our seat with them!

What kind of people we Indians have become? We have been known for ugly behavior, spitting and urinating in public, but I am really anguished by this new face of insensitive Indian. Given a chance of being safe from any punishment (which a mob gives us amply) we will display our worst behavior. Do you know these days every time I visit, I spend more time marking messages as abuse rather than reading articles. Worst kind of abusive, libelous and irrelevant messages are written on Rediff's message boards by us. Why? Why this desire of sadistic pleasure?

What is happening to India? What is happening to Indians?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Travel WITH Time

I decided to write about things as they happened on this trip to Bangalore. And I combined Twitter, blogger and good ol' diary to do as best as I could!

Apr 30, 2008 10.47 PM

I have done the mistake of the season by not traveling in a non-A/C bus. Its terribly hot. 2 hours after getting in this bus we are still in city, such is speed of traffic.

Just reached MGBS. I am terribly hungry and thirsty.

Apr 30, 2008 10.54 PM

Back after having some rice. Was it tamarind rice or pulihora? Don’t know just gobbled. Got down after the beautiful girl on 1st seat. Followed her and reached food stall. Forgot to wear specs when got down. Worried about looking like hell. While coming back forgot where the bus was. Found by applying brute force method. Back to the melting pot called ‘Super Luxury Bus’ of APSRTC. Hey now I know why they call India a melting pot of civilizations!

Apr 30, 2008 10.59 PM

I have a neighbor. A man. Damn.

Apr 30, 2008 11.12 PM (On Twitter)

sitting and sweating in a bus going to Bangalore.

May 1,2008 10.45 AM

Bus is running terribly late. We should have been in Bangalore by 9.30 max! It will take another one and a half hour to reach. This is the first time APSRTC is running late.

May 1,2008 11.59 AM

Still no sight of Bangalore. It’s hot and dry. The road is good but what catches my eye is there are no plantations on dividers or on roadsides. It would have been so good if this same distance was covered under the shades of trees. I remember the bus journey from Allahabad to Lucknow where on many parts of road, tress formed an arch, covering it beautifully.

May 1,2008 12.16 PM

Passing in front of Yelahanka Air Base. Last when I had come to Bangalore with Ami and had passed from here, he saw the choppers and planes parked in the sun and commented that these have been left to ‘rot’ in the sun. How I laughed at that one. Imagine choppers rotting in the sun like potatoes!

May 1, 2008 8.40 PM

On the bus to Madurai. Once again no dinner, fed on just chips and a banana, I am not very sure how long will I sustain.

Gilchrist is out and Deccan Chargers doesn’t seem to be in very good shape.

Another journey in non-A/C bus and it’s hot till it moves. Thankfully it has started.

May 1, 2008 9.16 PM

Just seen Infy’s Bangalore campus. Impressive.

May 3, 2008 11.15 PM

This was the most unlikely place on this trip, the one never on our itinerary. We have spent about 3 hours here trying to kill time as best as we could. From sitting in an ice cream parlor for one hour ordering for stuff we could hardly eat (because we ordered enough in the restaurant so that we could sit longer) to asking people for way to railway station we tried everything. Finally we are on the bus to Bangalore, but its going to be another long hot journey.

May 4, 2008 5.49 PM (On Twitter)

Waiting to reach Majestic bus stand in Bangalore

May 4, 2008 5.50 PM (On Twitter)


May 4, 2008 5.55 PM (On Twitter)

Waiting for 6.30 bus to Hyderabad

May 4, 2008 6.11 PM (On Twitter)

Seated. Window seat. Thank God

May 5, 2008 8.05 AM (On Twitter)

Back in Hyderabad. Going home