Monday, March 2, 2015

All about Arnab

I have been suffering from an overdose of Arnab Goswami thanks to a news-addicted friend's visit. The experience has come close to being life-changing, insofar as switching off the TV has left me unnerved with the sudden silence, which seems sepulchral in the aftermath. I must also confess that I have developed a whole new appreciation for Arnab.

When, at the beginning of his show, Arnab addresses his panel of 'experts' with "Do you think that this outrageous, vicious and callous practice should be allowed to continue?", you immediately realize that you have an impartial compere, who is going to expertly guide his panel of experts with due respect to both the pros and cons - as long as they all say, "No". He consistently maintains his unbiased stance when he interrupts and overrides anyone daring to even hint of saying 'Yes', practically before the chap has even cleared his throat. Of course, one can hardly accuse him of allowing the chaps who say "No" to have their say - but, at least, they are allowed to get some three to four words out.

I would really like to know whether his panel is carefully selected for this quality or whether they get on-the-job training in his show. What quality, you ask? If you have ever sat through a program, you would have been delightfully entertained by the sight of some six people, all talking at the top of their voices simultaneously. (With Arnab also in the fray or not, depending on whether or not he is having a drink of water.) They all look like adults; seem like people who know that when you talk, you do it so that someone can listen to you; and seem capable of understanding that, when six people yell simultaneously, one can make more sense of a cat-fight than of this 'discussion'. Yet, they do this incessantly (meaning whenever Arnab allows them to do so) throughout the show, thereby giving the impression that they are there with the sole purpose of ensuring that the viewer gets to hear nobody.

This, indeed, is not the only impressive performance that Arnab expects on his show. He believes that miracles may be rare for Saints but should be produced on demand from people on his show. He really expects that the BJP spokesman to say on TV to 'millions of viewers', "Yes! Nitin Gadkari's act in stopping traffic in Mumbai for his convoy was shameful, and I shall ensure that he is thrown out of the party". He expects that the NCP spokesman will come out with, "How shameful of Praful Patel to have had Air India change the aircraft for the convenience of his daughter's wedding party. We will hound him out." The outrage and angst he displays when those luckless wights fail his expectations is a rarity in these days of cynicism. The day is not far off when we can expect the executive assistants of corporate honchos coming on Arnab's shows and castigating their bosses for poor customer service; journalists coming on the show and sneering at their editors for messing up news stories; why, you could even have Mr. Modi's driver telling Arnab that he shall ensure that Modi will never get elected PM again! Attaboy, Arnab! We all admire you.

That is not the limit of his idealism, though. I was extremely impressed by the fact that he expected politicians to voluntarily surrender the privileges that they receive. The last time I ever heard of ANYONE voluntarily surrendering privileges was just before my mother poured a mug of water on my face, and asked me to wake up and get ready for school. Arnab, though, is not totally naive as I shall prove. When someone on his panel mentioned that journalists too had some privileges, he retorted saying that he did not care if they were taken away. Note the fact, though, that he was wordly-wise enough not to say that there should be any voluntary surrender of privileges in this case. (Ah! No! I am not for VVIP Raj. Thank you very much for even considering that I could be VIP enough to want it to continue).

My heart bled for him, though, when he confessed, almost tearfully, that he did not understand how some politicians considered him lacking on courtesy. How could they be so unjust? Don't they understand that when he yells you down on your third syllable, it is just because he has had a brainwave that cannot wait for expression? When he says, "This is the silliest thing that I have ever heard on my show", he is only being honest. When he comes out with, "You better get out of politics", he is only giving out well-meaning avuncular advice to an upcoming young man about viable career choices. Truly, anyone who accuses him of discourtesy must be unduly thin-skinned.

And what about all those people who act arrogant and proud on his show? He ought to know who is and who isn't, after all. I cannot forget how Harish Salve came on his show being introduced as the pioneer who inspired the 'End VVIP Raj' campaign. At the end of the show, Arnab politely says, "Thank you Mr. Harish Salve for joining MY (emphasis mine) movement.". Harish Salve was looking a bit bewildered at being, thus, suddenly converted from a leading light to someone desperately clinging to Arnab's coat-tails as the latter bustled around the country cleaning up the VVIP Raj. I have a sneaking suspicion that the politicos go home after his show and tell their families, "You know what? ARNAB called me arrogant" with all the quiet pride of a physicist being lauded by Stephen Hawking.

My God! What have I done? I am going to have nightmares tonight of Arnab wagging his finger at me and yelling (or telling me politely, as he would think of it), "You cannot talk of me like that".

Thank God, I am apolitical and unlikely to appear on his show!

40 comments:

  1. Tsk tsk. You just showed disrespect to Lord Arab G. Wait till he reads this...somebody gonna get a hurt real bad....in his ear drums. :p

    ReplyDelete
  2. Arnab and his antics for TRP are fun.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That's 'apolitical' analysis :) Wait till he reads this, Sureshji! Last line is for sure :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He hardly has time to listen to himself - he is so busy talking :)

      Delete
  4. I have read and written so much about this man who is in love with his own voice that when I saw your post, I wasn't particularly excited. But I totally enjoyed this one. Your trenchant wit and subtle sarcasm make it so absorbing. You should write more about media and politics. Your apolitical stance will help.
    About Arnab, I think he has lost it. The fire brimming from his ticker, the quality of his guests and the topics he selects have reduced news hour to a reality show with Rakhee Sawant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is great coming from you Alka!

      Hahaha, yes, it is very like a Rakhi Sawant item number - most times she dances; sometimes all the extras dance together - likewise, most times Arnab speaks and the rest of the time all the others speak together :)

      Delete
  5. The title of this post sums it rather well - it is All about Arnab. Nothing else. No other view, no other voice, not even issues matter :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Beloo - for once, I manage to create the impact that I intend with a title :)

      Was missing you on my previous post on Culture :) THAT was a subject I thought would interest you :)

      Delete
    2. I am goin to that right now, didn't know about it :)

      Delete
    3. I was looking forward to your comments there :) NOW I got them.

      Delete
  6. That was hilarious. Just like Arnab is. I stopped watching him a long time ago. I just can't tolerate people who just keep yelling all the time. I find other news channels soothing in comparison. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never watch anything on TV except old movie songs and some movies. THIS was forced on me by a guest :)

      Delete
  7. haha..Arnab is, well, Arnab! I can't watch him anymore..I try but my ears beg me to switch channels :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As do mine! Only, after I switch, the sudden silence (relative) feels very strange :)

      Delete
  8. There is advantageous edge to whatever Arnab does... he makes my wife insist that we 'at least see who Arnab is hanging tonight' or if any guest from Pakistan is seen squirming uncomfortably... and so we fumble our way back from the insanity of truth to the sanity of seeing and yet not hearing a word. We actually switch on to Arnab's program as we have our after dinner ice-cream and watch him address his agitated guests with a virtually non-stop harangue.
    Loved reading your post.

    Arvind Passey
    www.passey.info

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to have you here, Arvind! Yes - Arnab does make you feel surreal :)

      Delete
  9. Journalism stooping down to gimmickry

    ReplyDelete
  10. When i first began to watch his show i was impressed by his zeal for probity in public life but slowly the cacophony began to get on my nerves.
    Why do people come on his show?He must be paying them huge sums--any idea?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Arnab is a good match for our PM, I think. Both have a Himalayan Ego and both know how to assert themselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Assert, Tomichan? If yelling people down is assertion, I want to live in a different world :)

      Delete
  12. So finally you too on Arnab bandwagon. Real hilarious take.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not exactly on any bandwagon. Just that I got such a overdose that I had to sound off or burst :)

      Delete
  13. That man seriously loves the sound of his own voice...! He must be the only guy who ever wins an argument with his wife...!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha! Unless he is making up for all the arguments he loses at home by trying to outshout everyone on TV :)

      Delete
  14. Unfortunately we have to talk about this Guy......agree with you completely..... Its not only about this guy but about the whole TOI group where he hails from... arrogant, attitude and extremely money minded
    Arnab, Arvind Kejriwal are the deceptive breed which are into misguiding and capitalising on the youth energy which is desperately seeking change from the rot on many areas.
    and media groups like TOI promote them...
    well written suresh and we should find a mechanism to spread this in social media

    ReplyDelete
  15. Well, I must admire that you watching Arnab's shows ! As I normally can't hear much of anything, and the cacophony being rather uncomfortable to my poor ear-drums, I sometimes realize what the topic was, only after the show has ended :) Let me know if you do appear on his show ..now that you have written about him, you might just make it to a panel of humor experts ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do not admire; pity me :) It was not by my choice that I endured it all :) AND what would be the point being on his panel of humor experts. It would strain even a genius to make repeated pleas of "Arnab" sound humorous - on a 'laugh with me' basis and not a 'laugh at me' basis :)

      Delete
  16. Thank God, I have not seen any of his shows. He is damn loud and those discussions/debate hardly end in any positive outcome, so I have read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why not? :) Arnab always decides the outcome before he starts the 'discussion' :)

      Delete
  17. That was funny and, sadly, all true! Now you wait. Arnab will find a way to yell at you even if you don't think you will ever be one of the 24 people to talk simultaneously on the screen on his show!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He will have to wait till my friend comes around again :) Unless he wants to make a trip to Bangalore to do it in person :)

      Delete
  18. The nation is watching...they want an answer!...Arnobomania!!!

    ReplyDelete