Thursday, July 17, 2014

News Channels, Movies and Books

I mostly do not watch TV. Well, sometimes I do. I flip lazily through movie channels (in search of a highly gory action scene or a sci-fi or fantasy scene), music channels (old movie songs, ghazals, bhajans), travel/cookery/documentary channels (some NatGeo documentary on space/physics/computers, or some fat chef cooking something unhealthy and delicious, or rich, beautiful women in skimpy clothes talking about spirituality and world welfare holidaying in expensive resorts in South Pacific where I will never go), entertainment channels (soap operas, reality shows, just as a preparation to switch off the TV).

In that order.

Mostly, a fairly cursory pass through all these channels exhausts the 15-20 minute window of mentally vegetative state that allow myself.

My behaviour while going over the newspaper is similar: I start with the glossy supplementaries, I feed my morbid side by lapping up a few items reporting suicides, murders, accidents, rapes and robberies. Then, past all news on international politics, commerce, sports ... I jump straight to the editorial page.

If I really have some time in hand and am looking to spend it with myself while enriching myself, I pick a book. If I want to watch a movie (I love movies), I get a DVD or go to a threatre. I don't find it worth trusting the movie channels to telecast the movies I would like to watch, where they decide the time, and also the number and duration of commercial breaks.

An interesting observation is: I don't remember myself ever having sauntered into one of the numerous news channels. Not even when looking for information. In the days of Doordarshan, I remember having sat through the 20 minutes newscast where the very beautiful, elegant and impersonal-faced Salma Sultan would monotonously read out headlines worded crisply, impartially and lifelessly. Though I was still a kid, I would appreciate that those newscasts were talking about something important. And though I was still a kid, I was grown up enough to admire Salma madam's beauty (of course, there were others: Manjari Sahay, Avinash Kaur, J P Raman, Ved Prakash ...)! But never in the current days do I remember having survived a single news channel show.

There's plenty said about how the news channels have become sensationalised, loud and biased. So, I will not go there. I will sign off by just mentioning that however much I rationalise with myself, I haven't been able to motivate myself to keep up with current affairs, particularly by the way of TV news or newspapers. I do pick up magazines like Frontline and India Today sometimes. But I find keeping up with the day to day updates beyond my capability. In other words, my interest in certain current affairs gets aroused only when they lose some of their currency.

For me, a chunk of time devoted to entertainment or enrichment is often scraped out with some effort. I can't bring myself to squandering it. If it's entertainment, I would like the taste to stay in my mouth long after that. If it's for knowledge building, it can't depend on raw nuggets of information/rumour/gossips dished out to me in loud voices, sensationalised wordings and fake emotionalism, but on crafted/distilled/verified pieces of work with a direct connection of it to things I hold dear to my thoughts.

Whether entertainment or knowledge, I can accept only things which have a dash of timelessness in them, not anything with false claim of quality but essentially volatile.

1 comment:

Sambaran said...

I can remember few more news-anchors from past:
Shammi Narang.
For republic-days and 15th-Augusts there was Komal JB Singh.
Neeti Ravindran was another name.

Those were the days when watching news was supposed to be a productive/useful work.