Sense over Sensationalism please !

It’s sad news for the entertainment industry again. Mere days after the shocking demise of colossally talented director Mr. Rituparno Ghosh , the country woke up to the news of the passing of the actress Jiah Khan. More shocking was the manner of her death, for it was not  because of a disease or accident but sadly it was suicide. It was sad to know that a promising young actress who serenaded us with her vibrant presence onscreen would no longer grace the big screen with her charming smile and lilting voice.

The very word suicide was enough to put reporters and journalists all over the country in a tizzy. There were speculations about her actions (even though her suicide note was discovered days later), stories were run on every other news channel about her life as an actress, panel discussions were held on the ‘dark side’ of the entertainment world and so on. Obituaries were written and condolences were made.

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And then came the shocking revelation behind her suicide- her suicide note was discovered. That finally put to rest to the horde of conjectures made about her decision. But then it gave the news channels some new fodder to hold discussions over. For the reasons listed in the suicide note were nothing less than appalling . The reason which she gave for committing suicide were problems in her love life. Although she did not name the person, there were explicit references to her (unnamed) boyfriend in the note. The note in question was made public and later the boyfriend was taken into custody. And thus began the petty TRP- hording tactics of certain ‘news’ channels. It is not a hidden fact from anyone living in the country about the ridiculous measures certain hindi language news channels take in the name of news and journalism. A particuar channel, notorious for the rubbish it churns out, took things to an all new level. They had a full-fledged enactment of the suicide note wherein they had a hapless distressed girl playing Jiah and delivering  the lines of the note in an over dramatic fashion, reminiscent of a daily soap cliche. She clawed at walls, shouted her lungs out, flung things all over the room, pulled at her hair and whatnot. The performance, needless to say, was uncalled for and disgraceful . What may I ask was the need to enact the whole letter adding theatrical angles to a sad event that brings forth serious issues of increasing instances of suicide and harassment ? Maybe they found reading out the letter, as was done by other channels in a very dignified manner,  was a tad bit dry and thus decided to dramatize it to garner more eyeballs and stand out from others, however petty may be the means to do so.

A news channel is supposed to bring forth hard facts and not to sensationalize news, specially the ones dealing with really sensitive issues.  We have plenty of entertainment channels for that You want to stand out amongst your competitors ? Well bring in quality and sensibility rather than sensationalizing matters. or else drop the “news” from your channel name.

 

Evanescence

It was there under dilapidated awning of the long shut down cafe while waiting for a taxi in the cold autumn air that she saw them. Man and girl, walking hand in hand. She was jabbering something at him , pulling hair out of her eyes with immense effort while he looked at the skipping four year girl with an indulgent smile. It was that look on his face , declaring her to be the center of his world, that bespoke a hundred promises to protect her and be there for her, which caused her chest to constrict.

Did the girl realize the dubiety of the moment ? How one day someone was so involved in your life that their presence went unnoticed by you ? That thinking of their absence never crossed your mind and you took their presence for granted. How one day your father would be arguing with you about your irresponsible boyfriend and then there would be none of that for the rest of your life. How one day you would be asking him to give you a ride to work and then on another you had to bear confined overcrowded bus. It surprised her, the transientness of  life.

As they passed by her, she felt an insane urge to run to the girl’s father and be told that everything was going to be fine. That he was going to be there for her to call to when she had a late-night shift, would be her collaborator to pull mum’s leg, would make silly faces when she was sad and then run to the grocer’s to fetch ingredients for making that pasta she loved. She wanted to be that girl. She wanted to be the one receiving that look.

A horn blared in the distance. Breaking her gaze from the girl and her daddy she turned and nodded at the cab driver to stop. Feeling slightly silly at the train of  her thoughts, she sat in the cab. As she passed them she leaned on  the window and waved at the girl.

She could never become that girl again.

Book Review : Everyday by David Levithan

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So you are one of those people who practice people watching, you know, the activity ( inactivity actually) wherein you sit/stand/stand-on-a-leg/ whatever-position-you feel-most-comfortable- in and observe ( stare at, actually) people. The preferred positions are mostly parks, cafes, metro trains/stations or even a public toilet if you take your ‘analysis’ really seriously ( or you are a real creep !). The intention could be anything ranging from passing your time to imagining their lives or what goes on in their heads. Okay, before you jump to any conclusions let me make it clear that it isn’t a psychological analysis of why people do this. Nor is it about my dreams to read people’s mind. This is totally what the header claims it to be- a book review of everyday aka my thought about it. And weirdly enough while reading the first few pages, people watching is what danced in my mind. For the protagonist is a soul-hopper ho has no physical body of his own. He’s just a soul/spirit who wakes up in a different body everyday, living their lives for the day and departs. But no, this book isn’t about people watching at all. Just a crazy thought i had while reading the novel (and i took the idea of explaining your thoughts while writing reviews quite seriously).

So on to the real thing then. Everyday is about A, a soul/spirit who visits/possesses a new body everyday having no body of his own. It during one of these visits that he comes across a girl, Rhi, and instantly falls for her. How he struggles to be in a relationship with her while hopping in different bodies makes up the story.

The concept is brilliant. The synopsis in itself is a sure shot way to make you pick up the book for it’s intriguing, rare and never done before. It’s an another gem to the ya genre. Besides being a romance novel, David Levithan raises interesting and deep questions about what actually defines you. And herein lies the biggest weakness of the novel. The primary focus of the novel is fixed upon the romance part of the story while it completely wastes the immense scope which the theme of the novel provides. There were no answers, conclusions or solutions to the questions raised. Maybe, given the audience that the novel caters to, the author didn’t want to delve in too deep into the philosophical part of the story.

All through the story i felt that the author was trying to shove his ideologies down our throats. He was preachy and there wasn’t any subtlety there with regard to that.

The subplot involved a boy named Nathan, who after having been possessed by A starts to suspect that he was possessed by the devil. Going public with his suspicions he is instantly backed up a slew of christians. This stereotypical and honestly over exaggerated image of the the Evangelicals was one of the weaker points of the book. Their actions lacks a definition and therefore makes their portrayal appear ignorant. Besides, I was expecting Nathan’s subplot to answer the questions raised by the author. I surmised Nathan to assist A understand his ‘condition’ better and maybe find a solution for his troubles.

In totality, Everyday makes for a very sweet, heartwarming and pretty engaging despite its flaws. And David Levithan’s writing is beautiful, lyrical and very beautiful.

                                                                               4 STARS