I do not envy journalists working in Kolkata. Not because they are being battered by Trinamool goons, which is of course a worrying trend, but more because they have to deal with the Big Sister’s shrill shrieks and shenanigans every day.
Editor: Which story do we lead with today?
News Editor: Didi’s remarks, of course.
Editor: Of course, but which one?
Chief Reporter: We have three full-baked stories: Didi crying foul at Opposition conspiracies over rising prices of footwear, Didi blaming the Left for increasing incidents of pickpocketing in Kolkata trams, and Didi blaming everyone else, especially the media, for most of everything else.
Business Editor: But didn’t her finance advisers tell her that the market speculation on footwear inflation is due to her foot in mouth disease — each time she opens her mouth, she puts one foot straight in it?
Editor: But which one do we lead the front page with?
Crime reporter: How about criminals taking VRS en masse in Bengal, now that Didi’s bhais have taken over?
News Editor: Brilliant but, err, which one…
This is all cooked up, of course (using the same masala Didi uses while looking for “Opposition cooking” in most incidents). But conversations in news meetings could well be going on along these lines in Kolkata newspapers every evening these days.
As I said, I don’t envy the job of the newspapermen and women there. They are forever spoilt for choice.
So, inspired by the West Bengal government’s ingenious idea to check incidents of rape by closing down bars and nightclubs early, I look at how you, the good old citizen of Pariborton Bangla, err Paschim Banga, could help clamp down on crime and other ills:
- Stop riding trains: zero train ride equals to zero rape, as the government might suggest in light of the Katwa rape (“alleged”, to quote the chief minister) incident.
- Stop lodging police complaints to ensure the cops are not seen as this set of complete losers and in effect damage the state government’s image.
- Discontinue newspapers and stay off news channels: Whatever you read or see might be cooked up anyway, so you will steer clear of indigestion. Also, as fellow Howzziter Shakti Kaushik quoted the Karnataka government, you could also stay in perfect moral health by switching off chances of unsavoury and unparliamentary details even before the virus hits Bengal’s shores.
- Do not go to hospitals: you may die of fires. Please refer to the AMRI case, and the state government’s morally upright and principled view for further details.
- Slap the cop who pulls you up for traffic indiscretion only if a relative is at the helm of power. Be warned: you will be beaten into pulp otherwise.
- Elaborating on this theory, if you are a cop follow the Mahatma and lend the other cheek in case Didi’s kin decide to whack you around a bit. Also, don’t be upright and smart or whatever; do not solve rape/murder cases. And even if you do, please be ready to be pulled up by Didi and address the media and give an explanation which no one has sought.
- Do not expect such complicated things as autopsy reports to come in before a fortnight in case you happen to be murdered, allegedly, by Didi’s disciples. Condemn the victim and empathise with the suspects in such cases, and please also appreciate the fact that winds of Paribartan is still stuck in 34-year traditions, as the state’s honourable lawyers told the honourable Calcutta High Court recently in the Pradip Ta and Kamal Gayen murder cases.
- Do not give birth to babies. Otherwise you become part of Didi’s conspiracy theory — you are doing to spoil the state’s image that Shah Rukh is so busy ramping up. In effect, no newborns, no crib deaths.
- Do not take part in strikes, agitations and bandhs till further notice, or till Didi is at the helm, or whichever comes earlier.
- Finally, to my journalist friends, don’t expose sorry details. Just give them exposure. Remember: image is everything. Otherwise why bring in St Shah Rukh?