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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Swapna's tears

The engineer was abducted and killed by Talibans.

If you are living in India, there is lot of other stuff thats happening too.
  • Lots of Hindus got Killed in kashmir (the big media is trying to be politically correct and mentioning the killings as 'minorities got killed'.). The killed were not Christian missionaries. So, there is no fun in that news.
  • Pramod Mahajan, clearly one of the greatest strategists of modern politics is dying. Bah, no fun there too. BJP is not the ruling party.
  • Darna Zaroori Hai got released. Hmmm.. interesting.
  • Some dude in a movie titled Gangster, Kissed a slut on the screen. Hmmm..interesting.
Well, we cant disagree with the newspapers. They know the news better than us.
They know what sells. They know what doesnt. So do the politicians.

Yeah, coming back to the engineer. We have an engineer here, from the Indian
middle class, who went to work in Afghanistan (dumb choice) to earn more
for his loving wife and kids. Cool. We got a flash last week that Surya was abducted
by Talibans.

Now, thats news. Talibans sell. Thats for the media.

So , media went big on that story. A telugu news channel TV9 somehow managed
to sneak into Surya's house in Hyderabad and started relaying (live, ofcourse)
Surya's wife and his clan watching TV9 live and weeping.

The women of Andhra love watching other women crying. I am sorry to say
this, but thats how it is. So they flipped their favouring soaps (filled with sorrow
filled crying weeping chicks) to watch Surya's wife.

Apart from the Taliban aspect, there is also the suspense angle to this story.
Surya's wife by thumping her chest live, already stole the show. Now the suspense
is, will Surya live? Now, you can see the newsroom anchors of TV9 rubbing their
hands in glee.

If you are a politician, you cant miss an oppurtunity like this. You have a story
that won the sympathy of women folk and interest of the state. So the CM
promised everything he can do to bring back our engineer. CM blamed Taliban.
CM blamed Pakistan thats still hosting Taliban. CM blamed the previous ruling
party. CM said, he will die to protect his people.

TV9 hit a jackpot. They have a story that won people's interest. Now they have
a government thats pretty much helpless when it comes to protecting its citizens.
News channels love blaming government. Thats their muscle. Thats their power.
When there is chance, they will flex it. (I guess, I dont even have to mention the
SMS circus.)

Finally the inevitable (sorry to say this, but thats the reality) happened. You cant
mess with the Indian middle class. They own the media. Both central and state
governments went crazy.

The CM of Andhra Pradesh personally visited Surya's (weeping) family live (ofcourse
on TV9). Both central and state governments announced lots of exgratia.
The state government announced Five Lakhs and a promise to provide a
government job to the deceased wife.

I dont understand this.
1) What is the merit of Suryanarayan to win Five Lakhs of Government's money?
2) What is the merit of Suryanarayan's wife to secure a government job?

Sympathy? Or is it because of the popularity of the story?
Clearly the popularity of the story. The governement is already at the receiving end
by not able to bring back its citizen. It needs to cover up.
Strangely, during these times, media supports those cover ups. TV9 demanded
more ex-gratia for the family.

Correct me if I am wrong. WHY SHOULD the government PAY? If the government
should pay, BASED ON WHAT CRITERIA ex-gratias should be declared? If the
government should pay, it should then pay the innocent Kashmiris too who got killed
by militants. Who is paying THEM? If no is paying them, is it because they are
less popular story?

It would have been just another story. But wait, TV9 is on a roll. On the day the dead
body arrived, an innocent looking young woman by name Swapna surfaced and claimed
a share of the announced ex-gratia. Swapna surfaced and how! She apparently is the
'second wife' of Surya.

The women folk of andhra jumped in delight. This is getting better than their regular
soaps. Airtel jumped in delight. Media jumped in delight. Swapna went live too.
She went live and stole the entire show. So much so that the first wife attempted
a suicide.

It just cant get better than this for TV9. Swapna has this strange innocent beautiful
look on her face. When she talks she moves her eyebrows in such way that the whole
Andhra fell for her. (That includes me). Her demands are straight forward and honest.

1) I have a child. I am not asking for anything. Nothing. I want a share of the ex-gratia
for my child.
2) I want to be recognized as the 'second wife' of Surya. I dont need no money.

Quiet obviously, first wife's camp refused. Swapna's camp went on a dharna.
Police lathi charged. Media condemned police. Police condemned media and the
second camp. Second camp condemned first camp and police and government
and talibans and government and government.

If you ask me, Swapna has no one but to condemn herself. Technically there is nothing
called 'second wife'. It is basically illegal. The 'second wife' or her 'children' have no
legal rights or no legal claims to anything. Ideally thats how it should be.

But the problem is we have this innocent, beautiful young illegal widow who
is pouring her tears out for justice. Technically there is no justice. But no one in
their right mind can come out and say that. Not the media. Definitely not the

We are humans and this is India, where heart is placed above process and systems.
So lets enjoy this show. Let the media milk money. Let politicians claim fame.

Peace, love and someone else' tears.


Prerona said...

very well said. well however india is - its great to be back in it :)

:..M..: said...

I liked your post. And I agree with you on the Andhra upset over the whole thing. It appeared more of a tamasha than anything. I still can't see why the government keeps giving people monetary compensation when, really, it was certainly not needed in this situation.

You're also right about justice, legal systems and the general way it works. It's always the heart, emotion, feelings that are placed above all else. I find that so riddled - it's good in a way, but horrible in another. On a macro level, it sucks. Just because of one family's grief, the govt gave money and compensation - but what about the tax payers and the othe common individuals? So the rest of us have to pay for this single family's 15 mins of limelight? Perhaps the heart is good in a micro level and, obviously, as a generally important background in making macro level decisions - but to do this? That too so regularly..

Adi said...

the best, or at least one of the saner, post ive read in a long time

Vivek said...

Trust the media to convert someone (else's) tragedy into a TRP-raising event. There should be law to prevent the media from entering houses and tresspassing on privacy.

Governments reaction is also trite. Promise the moon and deliver. Most likely the promised check will never materialize.

I would be surprised if someone even remembers the poor dead chap in the middle of first wife vs. second wife drama. Life is stranger than the soaps!

:-) said...

Pre: Are you still in India? Fly down to Hyderabad baby. What are you waiting for ? Lets rock (and also roll). :-)

Yummy: Sometimes you do think. You are right about heart and micro. Usually systems and institutions are independent of emotions tied up to situations. They look at everything objectively. If you are government, following your heart can be dangerous.

Adi: Thanks man. Needless to say, I stopped drinking two days back.

Vivek: The problem is there are no definitions to privacy. The media should have a self imposed decency guideline. But media is just another profit making business these days. The honor (and responsibility) associated to media is long gone.

The biggest problem with media is they dont follow up. You pointed out rightly about the ex-gratia. I am almost sure that that money will never reach the family. But by then media would move on to the next biggest story. The media lives on a daily basis.

iyer education said...

dropped via desipundit...

nice post... try to get hold of a book called "Evening News - Arthur Hailey"... he examines the psyche of the guys in the news business and portrays it beautifully... and not to add, has a lot of views that are common to yours :)

scipio said...

Smiley... Isn't it ironic that you have captured the headlines (at desipundit) by talking against sensationalism?
So can I accuse you of sensationalism? :) (No... that's not your name that's me trying to smile)

:-) said...

Iyer dude: Thank you. I sure will attempt. Thanks for the recommendation.

Scipio: You can accuse me of that. My blog being referred by Desipundit is not by design. I can assure you of that. :-)

Anonymous said...

smiley: good post.


sapphire said...

who wud be interested in "minorities" being shot dead by the dozens?

Nitin G Gokarn said...

As u rightly said Swapna has no case . In Hindu marriage law there is no polygamy and hence the temple marriage ( Film Aradhana style)will hold no water. Even if Swapna and Surya decided to have a child , both being adults (and Surya a qualified engineer) should have known that this child would have no claim on his assets or property. Just because she looks attarctive is no case for the child to have a share i the 25 lac booty. What if theree more Swapna's surface with a dozen children ?

:-) said...

oye nikita: Where have you been? Thanks.

sapphire: definitely not the hindus.

nitin: Yes sire, beautiful ya ugly, sympathy ya policy, the government or no other body should encourage swapna. Sigh, its the same country and the same media that announced ex gratia for the dead people in Salman's 'drive on the pavement' adventure.

So let us see.

Chick Pea said...

someone told me i had joie de vivre..and i didn't know what it meant... the meaning is fabulous..and love the title of your blog... i ironically came across a store entitled that recently and took a picture of it.. i was super excited.. it's on my blog... cheers

Swapna said...

Well said.. I read about this whole news online on every major newspaper - but the news about the kashmir firing, only in a couple and in some blogs.

The media is ridiculous...

Green said...

You probably are in India that's why you can't understand the sympathy. If you see other countries, how much they care for their citizen then you would have said that ex-gratia was deserving.

A man carries his country, his country's image and his country's strengty with him when he is abroad. So when he falls down then the blame goes on to the country. Of course India should have stopped him from working in Afghanistan.

:-) said...

chikky: Nice try :-)

Swapname: Thank you. Not just ridiculous but also highly opinionated.

Green dude: You probably are not in India. Thats why you will never understand why that ex gratia is not deserving. We have more important things to cater to.

I am not into man carrying image and stuff.

I also disagree with India stopping Surya from working in Afghansitan. It was his choice. India should let its citizens work wherever they please to.

What India should have done is put some extraordinary military pressure on Afghanistan.

Well, India atleast succeded in getting the dead body back. A little improvement I should say.

Green said...

Hi me again. So isn't it the duty of a country to protect it citizens whereever they are ?

Don't they give compensation in every fire or road accident? or even Delhi serial blast ? So why not when its citizens die in some other country ?

According to me it is a welfare country's duty to secure its citizen rightful interest where ever they are.

Sure there are more pressing things to do but if this is the case then why not ask the ministers to reduce atleast one car in their cavalcade? That will make more funds available for pressing needs.

Whatever an Indian earns anywhere in world they pay tax on it(accrues to India). I hope you know this. You might argue for DTAA but not so fast. Think more.

Putting some extraordinary military pressure -- Please think from geopolitics angle.

This is not about K serial of Ekta Kapoor.

Twilight Fairy said...

Nice post, P. Refreshingly different from your cake cunnilingus? :)

This and the previous one too.

How's the foobar coming along?

:-) said...

Fairy: Trust me. Cake is more refreshing.

Foobar is coming along fine. Just the regular hiccups. :-)

Green Dude: Let me correct myself first. You are right. The problem is, I am also right.

I am not against ex gratia. I am looking for some criteria for ex gratia.

"According to me it is a welfare country's duty to secure its citizen rightful interest where ever they are."

How do you do that without using pressure?

"Sure there are more pressing things to do but if this is the case then why not ask the ministers to reduce atleast one car in their cavalcade? "

Thats down right silly. Ministers are important people. They need protection. You dont comprimise on it. The cost of comprimise is very high than the savings on their cavalcades.
Dont ever be silly like that again. People might Laugh their ass off.

"Whatever an Indian earns anywhere in world they pay tax on it(accrues to India). I hope you know this. You might argue for DTAA but not so fast. Think more."

Thats exactly my point too. We should let Indians let work wherever they want to work.

" Please think from geopolitics angle. "

Yeah, I thought 'from' the geopolitical angle. Hmm, I dont see a reason why we cant exert pressure to protect our citizen. As far as I know, we are better off than Afghans when it comes to guns and money.

"This is not about K serial of Ekta Kapoor."

Sorry. Havent heard about this K Serial.

Twilight Fairy said...

Cake might be "more refreshing" compared to Swapna's tears. I was talking about this post being "refreshingly different" (emphasis is on difference not refreshing).

It's different. Havent you ever had Maggi sauce? :)

:..M..: said...

Finally there's some sort of action happening on your blog, Smiley. I think you hit jackpot (or semi-jackpot), dear.

Anonymous said...

BTW the wife of Maniappan kutti,other victim of Taliban in Afghanistan, is still running pillar to post to get even a Paisa of what ex-gratia was promised to her !!!

:-) said...

Fairy: Maggi Sauce? Ta!

Yummy: Semi? For Who? Its going be a biggie baby.

Anon: yeah, saw that on TV dude. Worse, Kutti's parents need medical assistance.

Anonymous said...

"WHY SHOULD the government PAY?"

maybe because it already pays hajjis subsidy. should it not pay this guy too, even though he is a non-muslim and despite his not make it as far as mecca? him not being around, his wife gets it. why not? whaddupwiddat?

- s.b.

Saltwater Blues said...

Damn well said, Smiley. I used to think the only people who didn't have to work hard for their money were pimps and politicians ... now I guess we can add the presswalla's to that list.

cheers mate!