>It was one of ‘those’ days yesterday.
I cannot breathe in ease until I pen it all out.
I do not believe in editing (yes…despite the fact that I am being taught that day in and day out)
Or maybe…I do not believe in editing when so much has to be said. So bear with the length or find something else to do!
I’ll try and be as objective as possible here but no apologies if the exact opposite happens on the way!
Students of IIJNM were cordially invited to attend the discussion on “Paid News” Who will watch the watchdog?—a seminar that was held in Bangalore International Center on September 2, 2010, chaired by many prominent people from the Press. The discussion was moderated by Mr. Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, member of the Press Council of India.
*goes blank in the middle*
Ok. I have to write an ‘objective’ report on the event anyways. So, I’ll cut the crap and get to the point.
As mentioned earlier, we, as students of IIJNM, got the opportunity of attending this discussion (unaware of what was in store for us). Those interested were asked to give their names to the concerned faculty. I wanted to attend this one because I found the topic interesting as I had done a fair bit of reading owing to regular reading of Mr. P. Sainath’s articles on the same topic in The Hindu.
And so I gave my name, indicating my interest. Many students (about 15-20 of us) submitted our names to the faculty. A day later we got a mail saying that the BIC (Bangalore International Centre) does not have enough space to accommodate so many students, because of which the faculty had to cut down the list to mere 5. Thankfully (and surprisingly), I was one of them. It was surprising because it was hard to believe that I had been short-listed. More so, because I wasn’t sure on what grounds had the selection been done. Possibly and in all probability, it was random but I do not wish to go into the details right now while I am thanking my stars for the experience yesterday.
We left for BIC only to see that we were one of the youngest members of an ‘elite’ audience. By elite, I do not mean the social or economic status, but elite in terms of the amount of experience these veterans had. A lot of well known journalists were in the audience, I was told. The problem with journalists and reporters (Print not electronic), I feel, is that you often remember their works, their reports, their articles and if you have a very good memory (I don’t have one), their names too. But, more often than not, you do not remember the faces of these hard-working people. So when I entered the hall, every face seemed vague and every voice seemed “somewhere heard before”.
Lost in the crowd of these experienced souls, curiosity got the better of me when I caught a guy in red Kurta sitting right in the front row. Somehow, the face and the voice looked familiar. I knew I had seen this guy before. But where? How? I had no clue. T
P.S. This has happened to me a zillion times before. Often, I forget to remember/recall my own relatives’ faces and my relation to them. So, it wasn’t the mistake of the Kurta guy.
My friend pointed out that it was Girish Karnad.
My first reaction was that of disbelief, disapproval and skepticism as I thought the possibility to be next to impossible. Firstly, what the hell was a theater personality of his stature doing in a discussion on “paid news”? Secondly, what was he doing in Bangalore? Didn’t he have a play to perform in NSD? And thirdly, how can I possibly be so fortunate?
I had to get these answers. When my faculty assured me that it was Karnad, I was too numb to even react. It’s a shame that I haven’t read any of his plays (I probably would have had I continued with my MA but that’s not an excuse). It’s also a shame that my only remembrance of him is through Malgudi Days (he played Swami’s father) and of late, the movie Pukar.
P.P.S. I am going to make it a point to read his plays this week.
Ammu Joseph, the first woman journalist from Kerala, was also present in the audience.
And so were many other prominent personalities, most of which I had never known/seen before *let’s be honest here
In the picture above: Paranjoy Guha, member of the Press Council of India, addressing the audience. Front row, in red Kurta: Girish Karnad. Lady sitting next to him: Ammu Joseph
In the picture above: Me and Prabhu taking notes diligently (like ‘true’ reporters. lol)
Back row: Our faculty members: Ms. Kanchan Kaur and Ms. Surekha Deepak
And then ‘it’ happened.
Someone entered the hall. This time I did not make any mistake of recognizing him (I am surprised at my memory actually). Mr. Nandan Nilekani, ex-head of Infosys, entered along with his wife.
I was too speechless to formulate my own thoughts. I decided to let my mind not be distracted anymore and concentrated on the discussion hereafter.
The talk was great. One of the most informative ones I have attended personally. Paranjoy and the other speakers made it very engaging. With his wit and humour, it never felt boring or abstract. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience
*more on this coming up soon. This is a personal rant. Don’t expect too much*
After the talk got over, all 6 of us went up to Mr. Nilekani to have a small chat with him. By small chat I mean roughly 3 minutes which I consider to be more than any one of us could have asked for. Since the discussion was on “paid news”, the talk had ended on a rather cynical and pessimistic note with respect to the future of Indian media that had literally sold itself to corporate houses. Nilekani asked us if we had been depressed after the talk as we had voluntarily chosen to get into a profession whose image is increasingly on the decline. When no one managed to open their mouth, I broke the ice saying that the talk had actually achieved the contrary; that it had simply fuelled our passion to work harder and excel in this profession. I had a hell lot of more things to say but I was tongue-tied at that time for no apparent reason whatsoever. So I decided it was better to shut up. And, trust me, that is, by far, the BEST decision one can possibly make in situations like these.
Nodding and agreeing in approval of my over-ambitious statement, Prajwala (my fellow classmate) suggested that we take a picture with him
Damn! I had lost my basic common sense at that time *not that I boast of possessing it too much
In the picture above:
It was a tiring day.
To call it memorable would be an understatement.
But I would like to say that I felt the enormous responsibility of my profession for the first time yesterday. And, to be very frank, it feels great.
More Pix on FB :)))