Saturday, May 25, 2013

An anchor turned headmaster!

Once the cable television came it brought the world right at our bedroom. I do not say drawing room because I love to dwell my thoughts from the bedroom. Amongst all the channels that I regularly surf news channels have always fascinated me. While BBC and CNN are my favorites I do not keep myself from the Indian television news channels. And one of these days am going to stop watching quite a few channels because of these anchors who are more of headmasters. And I fathom why.

The profession of journalism which I am acquainted with from my college years has evolved. Electronic journalism has given rise to a great number of news channels and thereby news anchors. News anchors have a duty or responsibility to ensure that news is broadcasted in a fair and without no factual error. Over the years we have seen news slotted into a prime time spot where anchors dawn the mask of judge and prosecutor. All this for what- TRPs.

I follow news hours regularly where an anchor invites people to the studio, grills them with questions but at the same time has a 'NO' for all their answers. Even for a layman it is ridiculous. There is no attempt to even allow the respondent time to answer. And, that is not good for the viewers. The anchors keeps on asking questions and blatantly defends him whenever anyone points a question at him. He is a headmaster who is unanswerable. He decides if the other channels are inferior and whatever he promulgates is gospel.

This kind of news reporting and meaningless debates have to be investigated. Questions need to asked and demanded if the viewers have the right to know what ails the anchor from stopping people to respond. Are the anchors unsuitable to digest reports that maybe untrue to him or her?

For years Dr.Prannoy Roy was the face of Indian television news channels. Under his wings there have been more news anchors, but it seems that news for them has become noise. The more you could develop sensation, the more viewers would watch your program. The adage "Dog eats Man" holds true even today and I don't see that changing at all. 

When you watch news debate, you understand that you'll have participants having double-edged views, but the views and opinions of them are their sole discretionary. Just because you as a news anchor and have to make a point valid, shouting and taking personal potshots does not hold true. At the end of the day, it is nothing but political nonsense.

I hope common sense prevails and news anchors take their job a bit more responsibly. I hope in the name of "we are the first to report' sanity does not gets lost. Everyone should have an equal opportunity to talk. For a second we can stop running after TRP and be sane.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Talking Beauty!

In a recent study shows that 50%+ women prefer to be run over by a truck than to look fat and ugly. To women, looking fat and ugly is not only hurtful but also traumatic. If you happen to say someone “hey you have gained weight or you got a pimple,” it is like spilling acid on that person.  Female body image is constantly constructed and maneuver by the society. Body shame is crucially picked, distorted and twisted by social commentary.

The word self-image has lost its essence. Most of us are unaware how our self image is twisted and turned by the society. Conscious societal pressure forces us to think that we are ugly and not in- accordance to the living standard of beauty. We are maneuvered to look pretty and   beautify ourselves. Almond eyes, flashy eye lashes, sharp nose, bow like lips and fair and glowing skin is the set standard that we all are tricked to adhere to. Any sort of skin imperfection is stigmatized by our society. A woman is made to believe that she is ugly and ugliness is intolerable by societal standards.

Beauty is socially constructed and marketed. If you are fat, then you are supposed to be on endless, cruel diet regime. You are supposed to exit on salads, fat and sugar free foods. You will hear “fat talks”, things like how beautiful you would have looked had you lost some weight. And, finally comes in the magic of capitalism, called prodicti-fication. Market strategists make full use of socially tagged ugliness. There are endless list of products that you can use to reduce your weight and enhance your beauty. Not only weight reducing belts or machines, you can read fitness magazines, opt for fitness related DVD’s and moreover hire some personal trainer. Theses stream of things might help your reduce your weight but at the same time you will be highly dependent on these products. Your self-image is nothing but a market strategy from which the society gains some sort of pleasure and capitalists get their profits. 

Women are nothing but a medium via which sexual appetizing bar is kept high. Beauty is associated with fairness. If you are not fair then you need to thank the advertisement that pops up every two minutes. You are supposed to use the fairness crème which will definitely make you look fair. The acid test does not stop right there. If you don’t have almond shaped eyes then you can make it look like almonds. Kajal, eye liners are flooded in the market and you have to pick one, rather the right one that suits your eye-type. Trust me it is as complicated as it sounds here. You can correct the fines of your nose and lips only by expensive cosmetic surgeries. The more ugly you are made to look the more is the stake of profits.

From hair to you toe tip a women needs to maintain and beautify her so that she is not stigmatized among her peers. From birth starts the beautification process. Girls are made to wear floral pink dresses, fancy accessories, sparkly shoes etc. With adolescence she is suppose to use all those products that will enhance her beauty and after 25 you are forced to look like 15. If a girl chose not to go for a diet and happily eat cheese and mayonnaise, I would question “who” society is to decide on a girls looks and what beauty is. Beautification and producti-fication are all interlined to societal norms and self image is no longer what we perceive of ourselves but what society perceives us to be.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Behind those Doors!

Her offer letter was given by Mr. Sheti, her manager. She was extremely happy on getting her first job. It was her dream to work with her mentor whom she idol-worshiped since childhood. She will work directly under his guidance. She was happy that her prayers were finally blessed. In some cases, excitement blurs a part of reality and misgivings creeps in silently that you cannot predict its depths. At that moment gestures and signs speaks louder than mere words. On the context of asking her about her work he started to call her in his cabin. Leaving behind so many employees he showed some queer interest on her.  Surprisingly calls to be in his cabin perked more frequently. He hardly bothered on how she was fairing professionally. He started to be frank and posted more personal questions. As a fresher she thought it is polite to answer. Maybe Mr. Sheti was just trying to be friendly so that she comfortably settled down in her new environment. She was not accustomed to IT norms and that “maybe” was a big question mark that disturbed her peace.

His constant pestering caused her sheer agony and pain. On many occasions he tried to grab her hands.  Physically he was trying to get very close. What was he trying to do?   She was confused about his intentions. It was wrong to doubt his intentions. After all he was her idol -worshiped mentor.  As time went on, he started to ask her to work late to meet her deadlines and would intentionally grab this occasion to drop her back. Knowing that she stayed alone in a flat he started asking her out for dinners. His gestures made her feel awkward and uncomfortable. Having no option left, she blatantly refused his offers.

The anguish and agony that she underwent is indescribable and cannot be put down in words.  Constant questions lucked on her head. Why would her mentor make physical moves at her? Was it a part of IT norm? If such things are normal, then it is highly unprofessional and unethical, she thought. It was her first job and she was unaccustomed to any IT norms. She was definitely harassed by his behavior. But again, why would someone so senior intentionally harass her. Was she also a silent victim of harassment?  May be it is normal and part and parcel of IT environment.  She had no definite answers to these questions. These questions will remain unanswered and silently flow into the archive of untold agony and pain that many women face.

Yes, she gave the thought of complaining to higher management. Again confusion had drawn thick clouds on her head.  What would happen next? Will she be able to convince that she was harassed by her mentor or will she be asked to quit her job?  At that point of life she cannot afford to fight some legal battle. Her career was at stake. She thought hard. She had a family to look after and most importantly what if no company hires her again. With these questions lurking back on her tired mind, silently without complaining she resigned from her job. 

Her act may appear cowardly to many of us. But think about putting yourself in situation what would you have done. You have worked your entire life to get yourself placed and work with your mentor and suddenly things starts to fall apart. What will we do is the decision that “we” have to make.