A Well-Deserved Overkill..

What, in the name of Ma Durga, is WRONG with the Indian media!

After a long time, today I felt very angry at the Indian news channels, nearly all of them, and how they covered the felicitation of the Team Kolkata Knight Riders, CM Mamata Banerjee's antics and the overkill of a joyous celebration here in Kolkata, the most frenzied city on earth.


My day had been busy.. Early in the day, I went to see off my sister at the railway station, as she left for Bangalore, for some internship (read suspected rave partying with her crazy friends). On the way, I met with a tsunami of people swept off their feet, yet somehow moving along with the shifty flow, swooping up towards the Eden Gardens - And here I'd like to declare, off-context, that this cricket ground has to be among the world's top 3 grounds ever, along with Lord's and MCC.

The taxi driver wasn't impressed one bit as a kid in a faded purple jersey climbed on top his bonnet from one side and climbed down the other side, while crossing the road and cheering 'KK-aaaR! KKR!!' in a hoarse voice. However I focused more on the faded jersey - it took 5 years for a downtrodden team to emerge winners of apparently the most frenzied sporting tournament in the country. The jersey was faded, but it wasn't thrown away. It was taken out from some corner of a closet, laundered, ironed and worn again today.

After I came out of Howrah station, I decided Metro would be my best option today as a victory parade for Team KKR with players and film stars through the city, was in order.

When I got topside, at the Jatin Das Park Metro Station, I first met absolute chaos. There were thousands of gatherers of nearly all age. Mostly wearing purple and gold and each one had either of the two emotions - smug smile all over, or a harried, hassled and that I-don't-belong-here look. It so happened that the team parade had just passed Hazra and there was nearly a stampede. Here are some of the things I overheard there:

Firstly, 'Ssala Shahrukh hi nahi aaya!' Shahrukh Khan wasn't there at the parade!
'Gauti ko chhua, sacchi!' I got to touch Gautam Gambhir, I swear!
'Mama, chapa pore giyechilam arektu holey!' Hell, I nearly got trampled!
'Gautam toh Rajarhat'e ekta flat pachhei..' Gambhir is surely getting an apartment flat at Rajarhat..
'Gouri ke dekhlam na toh! Gouri kothaaye?!!' Someone really wanted to see SRK's wife - but I guess she wasn't as excited as she was yesterday - 'What's wrong with Gauri Khan and emotions?'
'Ban*@#%d! Ku%#a'r Ba@#*a Raasta taake dilo toh bondho kore!' That was an auto rickshaw-wallah complaining..

There's nothing wrong in a little celebration, is there? Photo Courtesy: Soumya Sett

I went down the wormhole again, took the Metro, came back home and got on the news. The Bengali news channels were haywire with their live telecast of the ceremony at Eden Gardens, and subsequently showcasing it as the quality news that they broadcast. The English news channels instead, were insane!

The BREAKING NEWS FLASHES and the ticker tapes were all fueled up with some of the following headlines:

'Didi derails KKR felicitation ceremony'
'IPL bigger than World Cup?'
'Didi biased towards club over Bengal'
'The OVER-joyous celebrations - disaster and mismanagement'

Dude, yeah you there Mr Newsreader, firstly, by making such a statement, you proved about having zero idea about Kolkata and Bengal - Zilch. Nada. Zip. You have no idea how frenzied the people here are. And there should be absolutely no harm in being that! You just need a random reason to celebrate in Kolkata, the magnitude of which doesn't matter at all. And this win, of a team representing this beloved city, having some of the city's beloved young promising players, that too after 4 years in the shadows, is a victory deserving a celebration - it is a victory of the human spirit! Last sentence is for those who really love the game, for I know a couple of my friends, who'll laugh at my enthusiastic choice of words.

And secondly, your not understanding Bengali doesn't mean that you got everything right. You claim that Mamata Banerjee derailed the show with a band of her party ministers. I'll say damn right they did! Even though you completely overlooked the Governor there, every politician would make use of such a moment to gain some leverage for the ruling reign, especially when it is facing the flak most of the time. Perhaps our CM bangs her head everyday at the desk in her office over why she used the word 'Paribartan' Change for campaigning. Opposition will twist the word as a rule of thumb. It has become the spearhead of all forms of opposition, from people expecting a rapid change in Bengal. And to fulfill that, maybe what she could do is but either use supernatural powers to summon swarms of locusts from purgatory or another bubonic plague? You'll get your much-deserved rapid change then, alright.

The bengali businessman kaku waking up at 10 am in the day, and asking 'Kothaye paribartan?' should think about paribartan-izing himself first! You can complain about the Mahrwari invasion of Kolkata, and still wake up at 10 am? That way, you deserved to be trampled upon sir..

I believe by now you must've formed an idea over where my political allegiance lies, but you might be very wrong! My political hopes subsided along with Mr. Vajpayee getting old. Though I'd like to comment on our CM - patronizing 'Ma, Maati, Manush' (Mother, Soil, Human) - she's Ma sometimes, of the Maati at times and Manush when she feels like - all in phases. Yesterday we caught a glimpse of her being the first when she announced at the conclusion of the ceremony that the people should find some shade, cool off for a while and THEN drink water unless they want to fall sick. And that, is our CM, ladies and gentleman!

On some news channel, I heard Rohan Gavaskar put out a wonderful statement, something that the newsreaders did not expect. On asked if he thinks that the Bengal CM gave highly undeserved attention to the IPL players instead of felicitating the winners of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, he replied by asking them a single question - what kind of coverage and glam status did the media itself assign to the respective tournaments, the IPL and the VH Trophy? And so, who is ultimately responsible for all the hype surrounding the IPL? The senior sports journalist who raised the issue changed the topic to how IPL has bestowed upon the society with vulgarity, dirty politics and has turned sports to business. I'd say, arrey uncle, first answer the previous question, then raise another issue. Aap toh bas issue hi khada kiye jaare ho!

And lastly, let us see you organizing an event this big in a matter of 1.5 days. Something is bound to go wrong! So what if a kid slipped while running to get inside Eden Gardens? YOU DON'T HAVE TO PUT A RED CIRCLE AROUND THE FOOTAGE AND POINT AT IT WITH A GREEN ARROW!!

Indian media is a huge patron of sensationalism and negativity as many will agree. But what we need is a little bit of positivism - something that the crazy jobless people in Kolkata just exemplified! Please do not be a killjoy, celebrations and enjoyment should NEVER be frowned upon. After being audience to all that the English news channels had to offer, I skipped the Hindi news channels, turned to Junior Masterchef and wondered, who are these 10 year old geniuses!!