Blog | Are your opinions still controlled… by the media?

media controlI had written a post some time ago on the fickle-mindedness of people – especially Indians. This one follows on the same lines.

I remember how three years ago during the first year of my college, all us guys living outside the hostel gathered together one evening, rented a television itself, the “experts” jugadoed the cable connection from a neighbouring building – all just to watch the ICC 20Twenty World Cup final between India and Pakistan (by the way, Oh! What a match it was!!). Amidst the frenzy and the cries of abey-oye and o-no.. there were finer nuances of the occassion that was so heartwarming.

A room full of nearly thirty guys. All from different families, different cultures, different backgrounds, different regions and different ideologies.. sitting (or standing and jumping in some cases!) together to support the ‘Men-in-Blue’. And yet, (the accused-cynic that I am) I managed to spot a yet finer division in this unity. Every time our bowler gave a cheap run, somebody would threaten the guy’s mom or suggest to have him killed. And the Smart-Alecs would take a more technical stance.. criticising his run-up or perhaps his bowling action (criticise his bowling action!!

If you looked at the guy’s ponch you would wonder if he’d eaten his family.. and of all the people he was criticising an athelete!!). In a few seconds, the bolwer had become the Most-wanted guy of the country.

Yet if the same bowler in the very same over, managed to uproot the stump, all hell would break lose! He would soon become the only hope of the team.. the shining light of the future and the most beloved son of the soil! A guy even jumped to the screen to kiss him! (Ahem!)

Jokes apart, the sad thing to notice was that even in our unison, we are but a confused lot. A herd. A group of blind followers. A lot of BPL’s (Bin-Pendi-k-Lote’s)! Its a typical Indian thing. I do not wish to again coax the practice. I only want to point out the wrong habit, hoping we might at least think about it. For a fresh memory, I take up the example of the topic of the day’s talks – The CWG 2010.

The same people who were shouting “Kalmadi haye haye (Down with Suresh Kalmadi)” stood together with teary eyes at the sight of the Opening Ceremony meekly wording “I am proud Indian now because of thie event!” Wow! Such a case of drastic ‘after v/s before’ looks good in the soap commercials and NOT in the reflection of a country’s mindset, where people make up the biggest democracy.

Only a week ago, all hope had been given up! Suresh Kalmadi was, all of a sudden, our enemy number one! CWG were going to be a whitewash of our repute! The stadia were the butt of all jokes! The politicians were the favourite villians (well, they actually always are..)! My Facebook updates were full of jokes about Kalmadi chanting “All is well” and him failing to hang himself because, much like in the stadia he got constructed, the ceiling he was trying to hang himself from, collapsed! Nobody wanted to be a part of the event and people suddenly acted as if they were being cheated right of their underpants!

However, only a month ago, when I was in Delhi, I had seen many of these screamers spit on the newly painted walls of Delhi’s buildings; drive(!!??) on the newly laid pavements and push the barricades laid for the construction of CWG amneties from the streets, probably to meet their girlfriends on time! When the meal tastes half cooked, all of us gather to spit in the bowl together.. But where were we when the broth was being prepared by those few who at least did something worthwhile! The media, the mob, the masses. All of us! One stupid herd!

We did not contribute to the Games, not even in spirit. Most of us did not even know what the Games are all about. Up till two months ago, we hardly cared to speak about it. And yet were bang on the spot to sling mud at it! When we insulted the Games, we insulted each an every labour who had toiled in the summer sun to make it a success. We mocked every student who had volunteered to represent his country and play host to the global gathering. We ridiculed every sportsperson who wished to make it his or her Games. And worst of all, we spat at every on of those visionaries who had brought the Games to the country to gift us all a world full of opportunities!

Yet, a few days into the Games, and I now have beautiful pictures of the CWG venues on my Facebook page. All the sharp media reports have suddenly turned into soft petals. The ‘villians’ are now being heralded as champions! The “shame-Games” are suddenly making us proud. My friends who have never bought any other ticket other than those of Shah Rukh Khan’s movies, are now happy to wait in endless queues for tickets to the Games! All of a sudden everyone wants a slice of their own!

My English teacher back in school had first introduced me to the word “frivolous” while reading Shakespear’s ‘Julius Caesar’ to us. And frivolous is what we Indians are. Just like the mob in that classic play first danced to the tunes of Brutus and then with equal vigour to Antony’s — who were of two contrasting ideologies; we have been swaying one way and then to the other on every topic, big or small.

I am not the most enlightened person in the country. But I cannot help feeling the same when I wonder if it is actually very difficult code to crack? This sitting on the fence attitude is so silly! Isn’t it obvious?