Friday, March 11, 2005

History for breakfast

This morning I was treated to a healthy dose of history. Or civics, or geography. Some of which I didn't know, some of which I didn't care to know. Four girls were in the train cramming for a paper. Because they kept going on and on about the Press Council of India I gathered it was a journalism or media studies paper. They were learning, by rote, when Article so and so was imposed when it was abolished during the Emergency. When the xyz report said that the Press Council does not have the power to censor any article. 'If they do the newspaper tells them to fuck off'. These were the precise words I think. The one girl told the others to stop cramming and she was asked to shut up. She was also asked if she knew the name of the President. 'Kalam something, balls I don't care'. Again, the precise words.
What a difference there is bewteen our education system and what is happening in the real world. How I wanted to tell those girls that none of what they were learning will impact their life in any way when they become journalists (if they do). That , in reality, when they are sent off one fine morning to interview a woman who has just discovered the night before that her husband is leading a dual life and is also married to someone else, none of the words in that textbook will come to mind. Or aid. That when they talk to a father whose daughter has committed suicide by consuming cellphose, which Article allows a news report to be censored will hardly be top of mind. That as a journalist it is far more important to take your head ouf of that textbook, out of your immediate surroundings, to be able to look over, into other's lives, to be able to sympathise, empathise, be aggressive, prodding, embarrassingly so, to ask the difficult questions, to genuinely care, are far more important. To love to talk, to love people, to keep your eyes and ears open, to believe that in any situation there may be a story.... and to find it and develop it and publish it. To go to all lengths to find and publish what you believe is the truth... not what the book says.
But of course I didn't tell them that, I let them cram and turn pages and go on about the Press Council until the entire coach knew what it was, and I smiled, and I smiled...


Blogger Jabberwock said...

And the award for Idealistic Claptrap goes to: GSB!!!!

" a journalist it is far more important to ... be able to sympathise, genuinely care... to love people...To go to all lengths to find and publish what you believe is the truth..."

Do you really believe this? No, seriously?? This is truly frightening.

12 March, 2005  
Blogger eM said...

I agree :)
GSB, when was the last time you spoke to someone who consumed cellphose? Aren't you still in Features?

12 March, 2005  
Blogger Jabberwock said...

Ha! Maybe Mumbai P3P consume cellphose to stay thin.

14 March, 2005  
Blogger GSB said...

first things first, I couldn't speak to the person who consumed cellphose because she was already dead, but yes I spoke to her father and her neighbours... and ultimately her absconding husband who was referred to as a proclaimed offender (which is someone who consistently fails to show up in court when summoned) and a few days after the story he was caught... the case was picked up later by Seema Sirohi, Outlook correspondent Washington, and included in her book in which she discussed in detail five dowry cases in India...
And yes J, I do believe in principle, that this is what it takes to be a journalist. I find most good writers whose writing appeals uniformly to the masses and not to a niche are people who are able to put themselves out of thweir immediate surroundings into someone elses, who are able to see the micro and the macro. A lot fo the stuff I know one tends to lose sight of but I do feel that sonme of the things I mentioned are very important to be a good writer. Also, the pice was meant to highlight the difference in relaity betweenc ramming a history-laden media studies paper and journalism and what it actually is, and I couldn't have got a better dose of it myself than the Shiv Sainik attack in our office on Friday which only highlighted how reality is so, so different from the textbook.

14 March, 2005  
Blogger writer-in-egg-style said...


Well said. I agree wholeheartedly.

Often, though, as Nehru was fond of saying, truth is seen to have many versions. Like some quantum thing, adding up, as in probability theory, to one.

The point is to look not just at what's on top of the dice from our vantage point, but all around... zoom way way out, inner/macro view etc, as cubist artists urge us.

"The Whole Truth"

Given our perceptual constraints, some versions appear to blur into each other (like a vignette). This makes it all the more critical to discern truth from falsehood.

"And Nothing but the Truth."

23 March, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, soon to come: cubist films. you choose any of six camera perspectives for any scene. quite nutty. but it's time cinema storytelling did some of this kinda experimentation (WITHOUT messing up the core power of storytelling, which has endured over millennia... so filmmakers, fear not... shall still give you storytelling integrity of one coherent story for us all).

in India, meanwhile, film fans are talking about DVD vs VCD etc.

it would help if someone gives us their take on the probability of Sony's Blue-Ray format becoming the next standard (Matsushita, Hitachi and Philips have signed on, Toshiba, NEC and Sanyo are in dissent). that would be blogger value addition, no?

24 March, 2005  
Blogger Kamakaze said...

Since I have just indulged in a DVD vs VCD debate, I should carry that to to cubist films ASAP.
I would love to see the cubist ones. I have a couple of DVDs that a precursor to those.

My Daredevil DVD has three angles to choose from in some action scenes. Even Matrix has two angles. So can't wait for the six perspective mega fun.

I have bugged my offline readers with my frequent next format cometh, Blu-ray vs HDDVD, load. So can't let this op go. The war ain't over yet, may the best format win.

Blu-Ray looks like to be a winner after Sony bought MGM. Now Sony has a huge library and if it decides to release its movies only on Blu-ray, then Blu-ray hardware will sell which in turn fuel Blu-ray disc sales. Oh what a circle these capitalists create.

But HD-DVD is still going strong, because Hollywood minus the Sony companies are firmly behind it. Even Sony knows that muscle doesn't always work. Sony's SACD has still not taken off. Sony and Philips worked really hard to hook people to their mini-discs. The world just couldn't care less. Size does matter here.

So what's the future? Don't feel bad if you have just bought an expensive DVD player. For DVD isn't gonna die, and it's not clear how Blu-Ray or HD-DVD is going to affect the DVD.

The trouble is both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD have humongous amount of space. Even if they push in the best quality of uncompressed pic and eight tracks of 7.1 sound, they'll be left with so much space, that the companies will be tempted to fill. So we might just get 10 Amitabh movies on just one expensive Blu-Ray disc, which like any disc is perishable. I am not gonna risk my 10 favourite eggs in on one basket.

Besides, displays are still too bleeding expensive. Who needs 2000 lines of resolution when their TV can't make up 480 lines.

As far as sound goes, DVDs do excellent in the human audible range.

So what's the verdict? Have a good time today with your existing entertainment gear. Because, tomorrow always comes.

whoops... I need some good friends who can talk this shit with me. Else I am gonna technocrap on other people's blogs like this.

How I better write some for my offline readers, because that's where the butter on the bread comes.

24 March, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bonzo journalism must be very bad journalism then, the kind where the writer is stoned out, doors-of-perception (aldous huxley) style, and is all about what all goes through the writer's mind a la blogosphere more than any desire for objectivity of archival value to historians or future beings studying this planet

GSB, in your opinion is blogging hurting or helping journalism and the courage required of the same in your country?

24 March, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

looks like avid readers of writer-in-exile will have to wait for her (??good guess??) to return to form

28 March, 2005  
Blogger therainandme said...

Though I cant comment on the journalist part, I completely agree .our education system is just plain rote learning, nothing more.the saddest part is,we never get to know what subject really interests us because all we get to see of a subject is what the text books tell us .and all that these books tell us is to learn up how will I ever know what i am genuinely interested in?

04 April, 2005  
Anonymous roadchoice said...

education must make us think. frost said it is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or confidence

05 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

another thing no text book will tell you is WHAT a green-blue tartan kilt (worn by a fashionable royal who at long last knows precisely what he's up to) actually signifies !!!
esp since the red hyphenated tartans have been so popular in India

11 April, 2005  
Blogger Luv said...

What a fantastic blog.

13 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the best part is the spelling creativity of this blog.

like 'concensual' . very censual

14 April, 2005  

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