June 08, 2002

Frozen

Why I became a journo, or whatever you would like to call this monstrous mix of tech and content that I do, was partly due to choice and also due to some vague conspiracy that prevented a mass genocide in a distant galaxy or so I am told. But that is immaterial. After more than a year spent going through the 70 -90 odd stories that a newspaper carries on a daily basis, I wonder if I am experiencing the same kind of numbness that doctors often say pain causes in them.

Stories have become just things to sell. I do not see the people behind them anymore. Maybe I do and I am just turning a blind eye to them. When from all across the world all you get to see is people killing each other, blowing up in front of each other, being hacked to tiny pieces, you really do wonder what is the point. It is rarely that a happy story makes it to the top, of course cricket always does, but it is rarely that we get happy stories in that too. And when you have orders from the top to push smut and sleaze on to the front as it sells well, you again wonder where is this honourable profession that you heard of.

Well, I did not join the trade wanting to change the world. Matter of fact it was due to the fact that I do not have to adhere to a dress code that made me pick this line. I cannot even say picked it. A strange set of events landed me where I am and I really cannot claim to much purpose or control in the enterprises that explicitly led to my being here and now. It would be right to say time and events pushed and prodded me till here, like an unwilling toddler being pushed on to the stage to sing a song. Yes, that would be a better description. But coming back to the point, it hardly ever measures up now. But then do I have a right to complain since I never wanted to change things being in the line? I wonder again.

At the end of the day when I finalise the matter for the top page, it used to hurt a bit somewhere earlier when I used to dump a story that touched me somewhere deep for some piece on the latest drug that will let you have sex for 20 hours in a row even when you are 60. Now it just does not. The story does well on the ratings, it is a job well done. Same goes for projecting violence, fear and paranoia. Tell people you need to blow the country next door to bits, it sells. Tell them it is not nice to do that (believe me, there are still people who would advocate that!) it does not sell. Business wins over. After all I need my appraisals too. The blaster gets his way. In the process I have created a few more gung ho warmongers.

Would have been nice to wash my hands off it. But I cannot. Someday the chickens will come home to roost and that day I won't have an answer. As far as pushing the smut goes. We have been beaten at our own game. Sify has a better nose for smut now. We are nowhere even close. So now we are lost. We are no longer the classic smut peddlers nor are we now reliable source of hard news.

Maybe it is the ten thousand odd words that I have to scan through is playing tricks on my mind. Or is it? I really do wonder.