Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sometimes Natha’s poop is better analyzed than the rising Yamuna waters

Few weeks back I watched this movie called Peepli [Live]. Now if you are in India and have not heard about this movie, then it’s probably because

You live under a rock in the middle of Thar desert
You tribe lives in one of the protected jungles
You are illiterate, blind, deaf, all of these
You live in a different country (at least you think so) called Tamilnadu
You live in Bombay (which is almost not India, even if you think so), and only poverty you have known is in the slums (which is more of squalor, more about unaffordable real estate and less of actual ‘going without food’ poverty).

Take your pick.

This movie is about a brother duo, who happens to be small farmers in some village in the Hindi heartland. And by extension very poor. They have mortgaged their small strip of land for their mother’s medical expenses. Since they cannot repay the loan, one of them, Natha Das Manikpuri, decides to commit suicide to get the compensation from the government.

What follows is a huge drama over the suicide, played by the frenzied media and the wily politicians. Of which the movie is touted to be a satire over. And it’s a very finely done satire. Not too understated and not overtly loud. This fine satire is the most likable thing about the movie.

You laugh through the movie and in the end go home with a compelling issue or two to think about.

While I can tell a thousand likable things about the movie like the real characters, the almost real story, the fabulous presentation and the immaculate attention to details, I will not.

That is because this post is not about reviewing the movie. Which I wanted to do but got too lazy about.

This post is just to draw attention to the current drama in the news media. The case in point my people is, the flooding of Yamuna River and the imminent floods in Delhi. Although waters did not enter the city, but we got severely flooded by all the ‘exclusive and by the minute’ reports of the water levels of Yamuna and how far above the danger mark it is flowing.

What pisses me off is to hear every day for last two weeks that by 4 pm (or near about on different days) the water will be flowing 2 meters above the danger mark. Every single day.

Monday (before 4 pm): another 2.5 cusecs of water has been released and by 4 pm Yamuna will be flowing 2 meters above the danger mark. Monday (after 4 pm):  water is currently flowing at 1.8 meters above the danger mark. Will be above 2 meters above danger mark by 4 am.

Tuesday (before 4 pm): another 1 cusec of water has been released and by 4 pm Yamuna will be flowing 2 meters above the danger mark. Tuesday (after 4 pm):  water is currently flowing at 1.8001 meters above the danger mark. Will be above 2 meters above danger mark by 4 am.


Friday (before 4 pm): another bout of rains and by 4 pm Yamuna will be flowing 2 meters above the danger mark. Friday (after 4 pm):  water is currently flowing at 1.899 meters above the danger mark. Will be above 2 meters above danger mark by 4 am.

And all of a sudden today, water has started to recede. Despite huge rainfall in the city.
If you have been feeling acute concerns about the floods in Delhi, hold on for now. You have been duped. And I wonder if you will be really concerned if it really happened. What with having exploited out of all your emotional juice.

Besides, how this flood will put the commonwealth games in jeopardy, as if it is not already. But that is another drama in its own right.

Or how dengue will be an epidemic, like it is not already.

The high point of all this is this: one fine day the news anchor is waxing eloquent about how water is above 2 meters above danger mark, a caption just next to his face showing 2.01 or some such number. And the news flash at the bottom of the screen shows 1.8 meters.

Well, we all need to know and hold on to the high points when there is flood at your door steps.

Talking of high points, one high point in the movie is this: Natha goes for the ablutions and goes absconding from thereon. Bereft of a subject, one of the news team camping there goes on to broadcast the analysis of color and consistency of Natha’s poop. That apparently helps to determine the emotional and psychological state of the person.

That was at least hilarious.

If you have friends and family in Delhi, don’t worry. They are perfectly safe. Unless they have been meditating in a tent on banks of Yamuna. In that case they deserved it.

Water logging in low lying areas is only a little worse than what you get after a day of good rainfall.

Now can I have some more analysis of Natha’s poop please!


tarana said...

Havent seen the movie yet but I can atleast testimony to Delhi's situation that it is not as worse as it has been projected by the news channels. i was terrified when i saw the Tv back home in Assam, but when i arrived here yesterday, i found its totally ok. being professionally involved with the media, i understand the TRP games of channel, but it is high time that we dont lose the essence of a news channel and become a mere comedy circus

GKI said...

Excellent title
Fits in with the 'Peepli live' theme.

Satya said...

You have that art of touching only where it tickles and touching only when it pinches. Thy panache reminds me of Sharad Joshi and Ravindranath Tyagi in Hindi and Somerset Mougham in English. Ahoy!


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