New Delhi. Fourteen years old Tinku Ramesh Pundit, a local boy slated to appear at board exams next year, was heartbroken when he found out that his favorite newsreader was actually an asshole. Tinku discovered this disturbing fact when he was invited to a television studio discussion panel by ABS (Always Breaking Some) News. The panel discussion was being anchored by Sakar Sharma, the hitherto loved and respected television personality for Tinku.
“I was meeting him for the first time and I was so excited. Finally he came to the office and as soon as he walked inside, he tore apart some Gutka pouch and emptied the whole stuff into his mouth and threw away the plastic wrapper on the office floor. I was kinda disgusted but still smiled at him. He walked up to me and asked me – aur bachchha kaisa hai (how are you kid) – and proceeded to meet his producer without even waiting for my answer.” Tinku recounted his experience.
Tinku was not sure about the brand of Gutka that Sakar chewed, but he presumed it was Rajnigandha as Sakar went on to behave as if the whole world was at his feet for the next one hour. Tinku believes that Rajnigandha causes people to behave in such a cocky way as its advertising tagline says “munh mein Rajnigandha, kadmo mein duniya” (the world is at your feet if Rajnigandha is in your mouth).
“I was willing to give Sakar a benefit of doubt for behaving rather arrogantly with me and his colleagues, but I was shocked when I realized that he knew nothing about the stuff we were supposed to debate on television. He had done no homework and he didn’t even know the difference between percentages and percentiles. I tried to make him understand but he gave up and argued that common viewers would not be able to understand such complex issues. He just wanted to know if I hated my parents for asking me to study.” Tinku was invited to a panel discussion to discuss the switch to grading system from marks in class Xth board exams.
Tinku and another guest, a supposed educationist who kept on asking for his honorarium money after the discussion, got very few moments to speak between commercial breaks as Sakar asked them questions about school-fees, uniforms, jealousy, gender inequality and threat from cheap Chinese textbooks. Tinku’s parents were also called up during the discussion and Sakar asked them if they would beat up Tinku and lock him up in the bathroom if he failed to get the maximum marks in the board exams.
“That was so demeaning. I almost hated him for asking that question. And it didn’t make any sense when we were supposed to discuss the impact of grades instead of marks for the coming exams. He simply refused to discuss the stuff which he was intellectually incapable of understanding, claiming the viewers won’t appreciate it. I was dead sure by then that he was an asshole.” Tinku said.
Sakar’s top pitch voice and apparent ‘grilling’ of his guests used to excite Tinku but he hated these when he was in the studio. Tinku had taken a lot of hand-written notes along with him containing some logical arguments that he thought justified the shift to grading system. But he could not use them as the discussion never centered around the supposed topic of the panel discussion. Furthermore, to his horror, Sakar took one of his notes and made an ugly cartoon of a naked girl during the commercial breaks.
Tinku has now lost all respect for television personalities, although he agreed that he did meet a few people who talked sense in the ABS News office, but they seemed to be too preoccupied with work and didn’t seem to have any authority over the channel’s proceedings. Tinku had a nice chat with a couple of such persons in the conference room of the channel before Sakar came to see him off.
“He at least had the courtesy to see me off and I was happy for that. But my happiness was short-lived as he slapped on my bums and told – exam mein top kariyo launde (get the maximum marks in exams dude) – I almost wanted to hit him back. I would never watch his shows again. He sucks!” Tinku fumed.