I was watching the news today morning, while having breakfast in the office cafeteria. There was news about the cabinet re-shuffle, the new IMF Chief's take on the Indian economy and "Roshan, reunited with dad", a scroll which never left the bottom of the screen. I did catch up the news on the train derailment in UP couple of days back and I have laboriously kept myself away from hearing about the personal stories of tragedy, which miraculously appears on news channels within close to couple of hours of every accident. It was enough to know about the accident, the death toll and the reasons that led to it, but I didn't want no part of the many "Krishnas and Thomas and Karims" who died in the accident. So, the scroll didn't make sense to me initially, then, I figured out, it was about a little girl, who lost her mother in the accident and finally is re-united with her father. The personal loss of the family, irreplaceable; life might actually get re-defined from this incident for the girl Roshan and the other members in her family. But everything said, I know that it is not going to make a difference in my life or of the millions who would be watching it.
Man flocks to human tragedy, like fireflies to the fire. The more personal the tragedy sounds, the more obsessed we behave. During the Mumbai terrorist attacks, whole of India, got glued to the screen and the news channels had a rating that they never ever had before. Not forgetting the 100's who died there, Kasab and his friends, gifted the NDTV and the CNN and the Times now and every other single news channel, an audience. The channels went gold digging and we had live commentaries of the operations carried out to flush Kasab and Co, with live visuals to make it entertaining. The MARCOS from the Mumbai Naval Base replaced the NSG Commandos, oh my the whole world knew, thanks to Burkha Dutt and her friends. The handlers in Pakistan would have thanked all of them personally if ever given a chance. And I can't help but think about how Uncle Sam handled 'Geronimo'.
Everyone including me, had our personal piece of the incident, thanks to our so very truthful fourth estate. Then you always had the movie star, social activist, writer and everyone else, claiming a piece of the tragedy and making sure their personal ratings on the screen or print keeps climbing. I remember finally switching the TV off when I had to listen to Shobha De, shout on to the camera, asking the politicians to leave Mumbai alone. A writer I admire for some of her books, but then instead of the calm nerves, all she displayed was more hostility, as though we didn't have enough and a bigger audience for her new book. I am not a supporter of the Government, but then for me personally she blew of the lid and made things more tragic and ensured a bigger chaos.
When the bomb blast in C.P, the heart of New Delhi happened, people ran towards the blast site and not away from it. It was not that everyone was trying to be Bruce Willis in Die Hard series, but to have a glimpse of the tragedy smeared on the road and the wall. To take in the picture of human tissue and blood plastered all over, go home and enlighten a hundred other what they actually saw. Nothing I feel, nothing ever attract human interest like witnessing the tragedy happening to the fellow beings. If it was to make right, the wrong, that would have been so very different. But all the interest just to absorb the blood and the stint of gut from the places, watch it like a blockbuster movie and go home and talk about it.
Thanks to the Fourth Estate, we will never face shortage of tragedy BLOCKBUSTERS.