Barka Dutt. I'm sure as hell none of you needs to be reminded who she is. Some really nice work and independent opinion and spunk to question the existing and non-existing. That's Barkha Dutt for you. I thought decently of her journalistic capabilities, till yesterday, when I stumbled upon a talk show hosted by the lady herself, on a very touchy-ouchy topic - Blogging in India. Now, let me announce here - if you didnt know already - that I take blogging as a wholesome entity, not as a Post Script in a soliloquy. My domian, my space is really important to me, as I'm sure yours would be to you, and no matter how much I fool around by writing just about anything here, I know that this is a serious part of me. More reasons? Well, I am the leading lady in here for godssake! I love it. Watching this talk show, trust me, I felt like a loser trying to prove an inane point to a biased audiences. Phew. I agree I am not one of the high and mighty celebrity bloggers around, but hello, I have an identity and I share a common interest with all of them. No matter how small a part, but I add to the volume of the community and I feel good about it. If I am told that blogs are only and ONLY about sex and booze and being single, I'd probably punch in the person's nose. Pity, one cannot do that to a TV. The show was a holy mess, in terms of content. There were a few famous bloggers on the show - bloggers who's claim to fame were things like - beat this - being gay and accepting it on a public domain called "blog"(big deal?), being a journlist or something (sorry, I dont remember the gentelman's work interests completely - I was busy waiting eagerly for Barkha to make at least one sane point throughout the show), and being one of the most celebrated girl bloggers who candidly talks about boyfriends and drinking and sex but safely keep her idintity a secret (an open secret of course, and I personally love her blog). Only a lady called Jhomoor Bose was the one who stoop up for herself and made her point loud and clear. Rest were duds. Barkha had their blogs on the big screen, showing a few lines like "I havent had sex in a long time...." and asked them things like "awwww...you actually wrote that? *warm smile* Didnt you feel insecure writing about such things on a public place?*genuine concern with a tag smile*" and "Ohmigod!*excitement* What did your friends say abut this?" She had wierd theories like with blogs, life on internet is nowhere remotely close to privacy. Excuse me! The discussion never went anywhere and was concluded abruptly after accusing blogs, in a subtel and thus very-unlike-Barkha-way, for revolving around sex as a singular theme. Well, not exactly singular, getting drunk was also on the list. I felt strange and as small and as insignificant as humanly possible. And all this for some thought-less crap that I refuse to buy!! I have a decent blogroll and not one is obsene. Every blog is creative and exciting and yes, inspring. Not at all objectionable. I like loads of other blogs and I devour on a million others but strangly, I still have to reach that level where I will *remote possibility* coincide with what Ms.Dutt has to say *I'll rather be dead than believe it*. The discussins could have been informative and worthwhile, but they chose to cruely dissect it with the exactly wrong instrument. I ask, if you dont like it, why read it? Despite tendencies to immediately ostracize whatever doesnt make sense to your-mighty-self, I believe people who think like Barkha can actually do themselves a huge favor by fully embracing the activity of blogging, particularly for themselves and not for the world to see and react and record and deduce characters based on it. Enough! Also, *and you thought it was over?lol* apparantly thereare more people who think like me. I came across Shubho's blog. Here's what he has to say - This is the transcript of a letter I sent Barkha Dutt, a TV journalist of some repute, after watching her programme on Indian bloggers last night: Dear Barkha, Two words that sums up my feelings after watching your programme on Indian bloggers: utter dismay.While I didn’t have a stopwatch at hand, my guess is about 80% of your programme had sex as the central theme. Sex as titillation, not liberation.This was of course a direct result of your questions to three participants, concerning their personal blogs. The entire tone of your questions was ‘Wow! You said all this in the public domain, weren’t you worried?’There were sage asides on the above from some participants, including a lady with an impeccable hairdo who claimed ‘Blogs are like graffiti, no one takes them seriously.’A mild-mannered gentleman (I think he runs some kind of platform for bloggers in India, much too mild for his own and other bloggers’ good) tried to tell you there were many kinds of blogs, including corporate blogs, but you chose to bring in a commercial break almost on cue.A few points I would have made, had I been on your programme (even with the commercial breaks): 1. It was clear you have a personal bias against blogs, perhaps from your Kargil experience when some bloggers spread alleged untruths – something you mentioned on the programme. 2. There are many kinds of blogs, personal and non-personal, sometimes they’re both. 3. There are news blogs which have a bigger reader base than established newssites. There are tech blogs which companies like Apple and Microsoft regularly quote. There are very successful corporate blogs where users/stakeholders interact with the company. And so on. 4. If the issue is privacy, then I would worry more about the mainstream media – I suspect the Govt. of India agrees, going by recent events. 5. The content of blogs are subject to the law of the land – and there is such a thing called an IP address. 6. While it’s true that it’s easy to start a canard, they don’t have a shelf life. Truth prevails, more sooner than later. Your experience would be a good example. 7. A blog is ultimately about enabling an unheard voice to be heard. To me, it seems to be a constitutional right. Finally, Barkha, my respect for your journalistic prowess took a bit of a beating last night. I sincerely hope it recovers soon. Best wishes, Shubho Sengupta, 21speed.blogspot.com Well said Shubho. I'm glad we have a mind of our own. Update: Link to the show is here.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
This is for one of your confessional days. This is for days when you are suddenly sure that if not told today, your grand story dies with you. This is so much fun. And exciting. And new. And fresh. And it gives you an amazing thrill. Trust me. Imagine telling a tale – real or made up – to someone who has no or very less idea about who you really are. He expects nothing and can easily accept you as you want him to, because he is unaware of your reputation of oh-here-she-comes-to-unfurl-another-story------yetttttt-again.
You see? It’s easy. And oh-so-damn-relaxing! Did someone mentioned Yoga? Try talking to a stranger. Who said it’ll be boring and confusing; you can talk about interesting things – made-up interesting things. Any average human being will always be interested in stories like heartbreaking break-ups including a suicide attempt, insider gossip stories about someone really famous who you happen to know very very well, infidelity in marriages these days or about the misbehaving males in the society. Don’t hold back, just make up some story and feed their hunger for knowledge. Just be confident and talk animatedly, throwing your hands in the air, raising your voice at an instance or two, wiping a tear of excitement off your wide eyes and the works. These are embellishments that add to the grace and truth-quotient of the story. You want an example? No problem.
Yes, I actually did this. (straight face)
The person actually was not a “stranger” stranger, we’ve known each other professionally since a few months and I talk to him on the phone almost 5 times daily, and chase him for media plans and media buying and similar stuff. So, last night, after breaking my cell phone screen into 3 and a half pieces and not having any-bloody-one to share views on cruelties of life and brood upon the games life play – well, hello! I was hurt! My cell phone for chrisssssake!!! – I browsed my phone book and saw Vivek’s (Yes, that’s him) number in last dialled. I had this urgent impulse to call and tell him how my cell phone broke and how I am sad in life and how I think I am overworking but under-performing and how life is treating me so harshly and blah blah blah...But obviously I recollected my senses and realized I couldn’t possibly call him – at 12 in the night – for no reason at all. Hmm. Idea! Why not text him something weird, something incoherent and pointless – say something like “Not at all! Don’t even try to force me! Now you have royally put, not one, but both your feet in your own mouth. I HATE YOUUUU!”? Ta Da. Yes??? What do you say?? :) Well, whatever you say, I did send this text message to him and immediately called him to tell him that the text was not for him, but was meant for someone else and I accidently sent it to him. Ummm...actually, the “immediately” was so damn immediate that I called him up before he received my text message. Reliance sucks. Anyway, I started with the rehearsed lines of the-text-you-just-got-was-for-a-friend-I’m-sorry-did-I-disturb-you?-aww and quickly got to the topic – broken cell phone and life - ignoring his lack of response. I said “Oh Vivek, you know what? My cell phone fell down and broke! This is insane! I am so pathetic right now. I looooowed this darling cell phone man! It was my partner in solitude. When other girls in the PG I once lived, used to talk non stop on phone, me and my cell phone took pride in being able to rest & relax. When those obscene girls used to blow kisses on the phones, I used to keep mine warm and safe under my pillow. You’re not busy by any chance, are you? Awww...We were a happy couple – me and the phone. Man, I’m so hurt, I don’t know what to do.....” Vivek – confused at the sudden outpour- said “oh!....Man!.....ah....errr.....awww....No...yes, actually I am a bit bussieee........oh don’t worry....Oh.....oh no....ya?....awww....hmmmm” Nice guy. :)
So you noticed how he gave me the lead to keep talking. Don’t blame me now. He seemed interested. I quickly made a mental note of things I wanted to say aloud and say to “someone” and quickly prioritized them. You never know when the guy hangs up, right? It pays to be prepared. Yes, so I told him how broke I am at the moment – financially – and how my funds are becoming seemingly tiny day by day. Then I went to other well chosen subjects like life, global warming, benefits of drinking warm water, how much SRK sucks, why Bhajji didn’t slap Symmonds and who killed Benazir. Hey, I suddenly remembered – I must share this amazing India Australia Cartoon with you guys – must watch! It is here. Go see and tell me how did u find it. :) so I had this amazing stress-relieving and encouraging conversation (actually a monologue, I think he kept the phone somewhere and got back to work somewhere in between the warm- water-to-drink discussion.)
Whatever. I am so much relieved. The conflict of being the person I’m supposed to be and the person I actually am gets to me sometimes and my stranger helped me brush that off. Now you go try it out and lemmi know. Find someone at work, at a disc, a bar or coffee shop. All the best!!