Hate Aaj Kal Wednesday, Aug 12 2009 

This is the link to my article “Hate Aaj Kal” which appeared in the Times of India, National Edition on August 11, 2009.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/opinion/edit-page/Border-Talks-Hate-Aaj-Kal/articleshow/4878153.cms

Comedi-a Monday, Aug 10 2009 

(Warning: This article contains mild language, absolutely no cuss words and may offend most of my usual readers)

The last time I saw some good quality violence was when I watched Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto on DVD. Little did I expect to experience a similar jolt whilst flipping through the Mid-Day newspaper on July 28, 2009. Accompanying the news of a husband and wife in Noida who was found hanging from an electric pole and a tree respectively, was a painstakingly clicked photograph of the dangling lifeless bodies. And underneath this rather graphic photograph was a line that may easily have been penned by the comedic hand of Groucho Marx or Woody Allen. The caption read “Till death do us part”. At that point a phrase that I was taught in school but which I never thought I’d use came to my mind-Cognitive Dissonance. I didn’t know whether to recoil in shock on seeing such an explicit image in a national newspaper that even children have access to or applaud the incongruous humor that the reporter engaged in.

A few weeks ago when I read a news report, in another newspaper, regarding a plane crash I was surprised to notice the amusing use of language. The report said that the plane had been carrying a wedding party and the celebrations came to an “early crashing halt”. Now, I love puns as much as the next guy; you could even say I’m a pun-loving guy but it did baffle me slightly when I noticed it in a news paper that was reporting a plane crash. After living in India, the one lesson that we should all have learned by now is that the media can do whatever it wants whenever it wants to whoever it wants. And the public will take it all in without any resistance. No one is slightly concerned if while a news channel is covering a terror-attack the background music is purposely sinister and eerie; we overlook the fact that the man one channel denounces as a villain is lauded as a hero by another channel; we are least shaken when in the midst of a national emergency or tragedy the one thing every news channel emphasizes is that “you saw it first on our channel”.

However, the proliferation of pun-based humor while reporting harrowing stories is a new and interesting phenomenon. It’s only a matter of time before some news network, while reporting a terrible bomb explosion, proclaims “The victims had a total blast”.

(Link to the Mid-Day article: http://www.mid-day.com/news/2009/jul/280709-Noida-Sector-14-married-couple-hung-electric-pole-Delhi-alleged-suicide-shocked-people.htm )

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