June 5, 2008

The Big Rule!

If you are working in an Indian Television company; particularly Hindi channels, this write-up will not be surprising for you at all. It’s all about breaking news. – Yeah I know I have earlier too posted a similar article but... When I look back at my days in the Hindi channel bracket and my being a silent spectator yet a participant to this raging stupidity – it not only makes me sad but I also experience disgust, which leaves behind a feeling of despair. And it hurts, knowing that the people who allow such nonsense are well reputed and distinguished journalists.

Let me tell you; the quality and importance of ‘Breaking News’ on Hindi channels is based on – A BIG RULE – i.e. - There Is No Rule. From untimely to timely rainfall, from the cat spilling the beans to some biggie sneezing his heart out – All these and more can be sold as breaking news, the only criteria being the ‘incident’ needs to have occurred in big cities – to be precise the all important TRP centers.

I don’t want to go on harping about the lameness of the ‘Breaking News’ concept, which is adopted in India – primarily coz I was also a part of it and I seem to be still an important part of it.

Some video grabs sent to me by a television journalist and a good friend – speaks volumes about the standard of broadcast journalism and the ‘Breaking News’ phenomenon in India and mind you these are just a handful of the examples and not the entire picture. My only prayer - Good sense should prevail and hopefully soon. Amen!

June 1, 2008

History's Mystery

What's Stonehenge all about! Stonehenge - the mysterious circle of giant stones standing in the south west of England – have always fascinated me. Not because of their scenic beauty but because of the strange arrangement of the stones in a circle.

My trip to these mysterious rocks was quite a journey in itself. Even after hours of trying to analyse and dig out the unsolved and deeply buried legacy of this beautiful yet eerie destination.... I could not lay my hands, heart or head to what was it that brought so many people to this fascinating place; a monument in its own right? Was it the voices; of those who lay silent underground or was it that sense of solace that one feels once you step onto these greenlands. What is it that calls out to you?

There have been many theories put forth; about the pattern of these stones but, the biggest mystery was the fact that who brought these stones and placed them in this isolated place, and most importantly Why? ....where the clouds and the acres of green have a tête-à-tête of a kind – A sight to behold!

My happiness found a new degree when I read a report - claiming that scientists had finally concluded what Stonehenge stood for. They had always been tombstones. But, this latest news has picked up loads of coverage since its announcement by Mike Parker Pearson and National Geographic.

It was thought that the 5,000 year old stones had only served as a burial place for a brief spell between 2600 and 2700 BC. But Parker Pearson has new radiocarbon dating information for three sets of remains, and pinpoints three specific times when the bodies were cremated, spanning a period from 2930 to 2340 BC.These dead people were probably some sort of royalty - a fact that has been picked by some UK publications such as The Times, although perhaps predictably the royal angle seems to have garnered more interest in the United States (see, for example, the LA Times and the Star Tribune).

Still people debate the significance of those big stones in southwestern England (apparently dragged all the way over the mountains from the far reaches of Wales) and why they are arranged there in a circle of distinctive arches. One comment posted at the bottom of this New Scientist story claims that they are just left over bits of stone from people looking for coal. I'm slightly skeptical about that one, originating as I do from a coal-mining area of England and never having noticed huge stone circles there.

In case you still aren't convinced by the latest discoveries New Scientists also have a nice rundown of the most popular theories for the existence of the stones, including the best of all – Stonehenge being an UFO landing site. Please, please, please, for once let science be wrong. Let Stonehenge be a gateway for visiting aliens. It's what all of us want. Don’t We?