I write this post with great excitement. In my opinion, we, the citizens of India, are at the helm of a great period of economic growth, crazy experimentation and lots of entrepreneurship. I have been trying to rationalize my decision to become an entrepreneur and I have seen dozens of entrepreneurs doing the same over the last 5 years. I notice something radically different.
I recently saw a video of a graduating batch of a suburban, middle class school kids who went on to narrate where they saw themselves 10 years after graduating. Exactly 13 years ago, I graduated from a similar school in Bangalore. Even though we didn’t have a video of ourselves narrating our career aspirations, I know it was drastically different from the kids now. Everything was different. These kids didn’t see themselves as engineers or doctors. They saw themselves in professions that I wouldn’t dare utter in front of my family. A bunch of them wanted to study music, some of them fine arts, some wanted to be DJs and others wanted to start their own restaurant or fine arts institute. There were also kids who wanted to be wildlife photographers or rally drivers. Most of these occupations were unheard of when I graduated.
Then it dawned on me. These were kids from the post deprivation India. I think the kids of the 90′s broke the stereotype of public sector jobs and our generation is slowly trying to do different things. But these kids were fearless. Their confidence was impressive. Their focus and determination was admirable to say the least. There were also collaborations; a group of kids wanted to start a dance institute together.
Our generation was what I called the first of the privileged generations in India. We were the first ones to get cable television, American media and fast food outlets as kids. We were also the first to reap the fruits of economic liberalization of India. We took that mixture ideals and values and crafted a life around it. Not a single person took up a public sector job in my gradtuating class. But I also remember the days where there was only DoorDarshan(DD). Most, if not all, shows on the national television was around poverty or poor families. Where living in India was not considered a great thing. Most of my relatives would urge me to seek a job abroad. Our generation is what I term the privileged post deprivation era Indians.
The people born in the late 80′s or early 90′s didn’t know the era of DD. These kids are now graduating and are trying to shape their future in meaningful ways. A lot of them are choosing entrepreneurship and that means great things for the country and the economy. I don’t know too much about post depression America but I can only assume it was similar. I forsee (I don’t like the word) great things happening in India in the next two decades. I see steady economic growth and a big indigenous market. There are tons of problems that need solutions and poverty is the big challenge but there are also thousands of Social Entrepenuers mushorooming trying to tackle these challenges. I see a great nation taking shape. And before you comment about it, NO, I am not a patriot.
Keeping up with the national news has become a drag lately. The source of fresh information and ground breaking stories aka news channels and papers, seem like they are playing the old vinyl in repeat mode. Take the grandmaster of all news in India, the Times group, who with their brilliant and articulate reporting has the country hooked onto their constant stream of infogasms. Never has there been a paper, which has exemplified neutrality, just in time journalism and masterful critic of all things news. Or as a visiting professor from UK told me once, in England its called Sarcasm.
Anyway. After carefully examining the quality and content of most newspaper, I propose a set of new sections to be added to the newspapers. The logic is that most of these incidents aren’t really stray and its better to dedicate a specific section in the newspaper so that people looking for their scoop needn’t struggle hard. The best part about TOI is their ability to generalize information just at the right instant of time and make an entire section of it. How else can you explain sections like crime-beat(reporting cases everyday faithfully), numerology, Masseurs, citizen journalism, Dubyaman, Bizzare, Education Classifieds (yes, Education) and God in Gucci. As information overload occurs, its time we help organize these commonly occuring patterns into daily sections to help the general public locate this information. I am just playing the Google of the print media. My new sections include:
- Ministers involved in fraud or ousted from the assembly for being convicted section.
- Foreign National Molested Yesterday section
- Politico – religious tension today section
- Company layoffs today section
- Daily Economic Indigestion section
- Prasad Bidapa and Family Sightings section ( this can go along with the Other unknown people I dont care about on page 3 section )
- Daily Actress Tantrum section
- What Celebrity did wrong yesterday ( or rather what he/she shouldn’t be wearing section)
- How to break up with your partner today section ( and yes, the relationship advice on papers suck !!)
- John Abhram and Bipasha Basu Drool Corner
- Cricketer’s Love Interest section
- Boy who fell in the borewell yesterday section (this is cruel, but has happened too many times to remain non generalized )
- Church, Mosque and Temple’s damaged yesterday section
- Celebrity Arrested yesterday section ( this can also be called the Times Shows Solidarity To … section )
- Saas Bahu’s and Reality TV daily ( this is a contender for a seperate newsdaily right now. If rumours are to believed, the Times group, after their launch of the widely popular Mirror, are contemplating starting this paper. I hope it does, cause I cant stand the sight of the supplement being bigger than the actual newspaper, on saturday’s especially .)
- Ridiculous Poll/Survey of the day section ( where three villagers are questioned about ridiculous things that nobody really cares about – for example the day Kumble decided to retire, Times Asks – Should Kumble have retired ? Answers to which should have been a. why do you care, its his life, let him lead it the way he wants to b. Arent you running a newspaper? I get the impression its a gossip tabaloid and c. Where’s the money you promised me for wasting my time answering this stupid question ? )
Well thats as much as I can think of an empty stomach. Please do add comments and let people know of any more generalizations that you have spotted. What say ?
Yes, most Indians are, or rather were, cricket crazy. Cricket in India is a religion and was probably the only thread holding all the citizens together. A sport watched by grandmas and grandpas, uncle’s and aunty’s, kids and teenagers alike. But that interest in cricket seems to be fading. There are many reasons for the same that I shall try and summarize in this post.
For starters there is the influence of television and globalization. People are discovering new sources of entertainment. The more number of channels that a television has, the more variety the user has to choose and watch the programme of his/her choice. This trend is evident amongst the youth who, thanks to umpteen number of sports channels, have discovered other sporting entities like Soccer, NBA, International Rugby, Formula 1 racing etc. Its almost a fad not to like or watch cricket, which is reason enough for many to resent cricket. Back in the old days, radio and Doordarshan mandated cricket and left users hardly any choice. In a surprising twist of fate, Doordarshan, due to its inability to secure rights to show cricket, are showing sports like curling and eqeustrian - Howazzat !!. Even the regulatory mandate to show cricket on National Television ends up airing ten minutes late. With Mobile scores and ecstatic neighbors, thats like watching a Karan Johar movie (Predictable is what I was trying to say, didnt turn up right).
Another important factor is the birth of the Twenty20 aka 20-20 aka IPL aka ICL aka Cheer Leaders aka @@ With life at least in urban and semi-urban settlements in India becoming really fast paced, the fact that a regular game of cricket takes either 5 days or an entire day to complete. Nobody can spare that kind of time for a sport anymore. 20-20 is a really clever way to actually keep the sport alive and keep some of the fanatics happy. Forget the fact that the entire concept sort reminds me of EPL. Even the CCI’s(read title) follow tests like how they follow the weather, find out what the score line is and whether we can win. Nobody watches test matches anymore. The current Ind-Aus test is supposed to have had the poorest response from users.
If someone were to ask me what was the national television of India, I would say Star Plus and the soaps the news. Kyuki a popular soap, airing daily from before I was born, has more viewership then any of the 20 odd news channels India has. And what better way to entice the CCI than bring in cricketers. Cricketers have been featuring regularly in soap opera’s. Cricketers are also part of the big reality tv buzz. A new programme called “Ek Khiladi Ek Hasina” – literally meaning Beauty and the Beast, features a cricketer with a model. Now why would somebody want to watch Harbhajan Singh bowl (like he always does, on every ball) , when you can watch him groove with India’s very own Ugly Betty.
The controversies regarding our very own dada, match fixing, dope allegations take its toll on people. When people lose faith in a sport, they lose interest. Add to these woes, poor commentators on local sports channels with their ball-going-up-airhostess-catching-bird-falling-plane-crashing anecdotes. I still respect WWE for this feat; part of the reason people watch WWE is because of the commentary.
People are growing up and becoming wiser. The post IT-BPO Indian is not fooled easily ( except by Big Bazaar) by the glitz and glamour of cricket. Unless BCCI – does something radical, like SMS style alternate endings to the cricket matches or cheer leaders playing instead of men, cricket will fall, and fall hard. It will be nice to see what cricket will be ten years from now. Our’s is the only country in the world that is keeping this game alive. A phenomenon like cricket is hard to kill but not impossible.
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