After a hectic meeting on deciding what the Nation ought to know and who were to be on the panel so that they could be shushed by the host, it was time for some relaxation. The Editor let his hair down, just to let people know he did have hair to let down (Unlike me? Yes. So?)
Eager-beaver 1: Sir, there is something amusing on social media. Everyone is talking of some Chennai which is supposedly getting rained on. They claim it is in India.
Editor: Social media! Don't get me started on it. Those people will believe anything. Just because it is raining somewhere in the world, we cannot be using up prime time on it.
Eager-beaver 2: Sir, everyone in media must be seeing that. What if someone telecasts it tomorrow and, by some strange coincidence, Chennai happens to be in India? We might just check it out.
Editor: Hmm! You guys might as well waste your time doing that as on something else.
EB1, EB2 and the hitherto silent EB3 rush out to waste their time. After some time is duly wasted...
EB1: Just as I told you, Sir! No other major channel seems to be carrying the news. Proof positive that Chennai cannot be in India.
EB3: Sir, no state ruled by either the BJP or the Congress has any place called Chennai in it. I am sure it cannot be in India.
Editor: Just as I thought...
EB2 comes in with a young chap.
EB2: Sir. This boy says Chennai is in India.
Boy (stutters, overwhelmed to be in the august presence) : Yes, Sir! You may have heard of Sir C.V. Raman, C. Rajagopalachari...
EB2 (in an aside): Idiot! You will never make a news-person. What is the use of mentioning ancient history in a news channel?
Boy (stuttering even more): Sundar Pichai...
EB2 (whispering fiercely): Idiot! Haven't you learned anything about what is news and what is not? Don't you know anything good is just not newsworthy enough? Surely there must be some lynching, some scam....
Boy (excitedly): Sir! The 2G scam...
Editor (brightly): NOW you are talking. You mean Chennai is there...that Raja came from there?
Boy: Yes, Sir!
Editor: Where is this boy from? Does he really know what he is talking about?
EB2: He is a Madrasi, Sir!
Boy (just a shade underwhelmed now): Yes Sir! THAT word, Madrasi, which you use so tolerantly...that is based on Madras, which was the original name of Chennai.
Editor: These South Indian people and their penchant for changing names. How is one supposed to remember that this...Chennai...is in India, if they keep changing names?
Boy (totally underwhelmed and, probably, having decided to take up something more useful like plumbing instead): Everyone out there seems to manage to keep track, as witness the Social Media. They find it no more difficult than remembering Mumbai for Bombay and Varanasi for Benaras, I suppose.
Editor: Enough of that, young man! I do not even allow guests on my talk-show to speak and you dare speak back to me?
EB2: Sir, forget the idiot. I suppose we shall need to cover this, then?
Editor: Yes...we cannot let the other guys steal a march on us.
EB1: By the fifth day we can claim that it is our coverage that made the government take action to help the population.
Editor: Good idea! Make a note to put that on my teleprompter. No need to wait till the fifth day. Weather is so unpredictable and we cannot take a chance on the rains stopping before we say that.
* * *
WHAT?? It did not happen this way? The news media knew all along that Chennai IS in India? Are you sure? Oh! You mean that the news of the devastation in Chennai, unlike the Uttaranchal disaster and all, just got flooded out by more important things like Aamir Khan's supposed imminent departure from India. How was I to know that? I always did lack a sense of priorities.