Ranjona Banerji: Giving with a twist

26 Oct,2011

Maybe Diwali is shining bright this year and maybe, well, there are a few dull spots here and there. Ads in newspapers over the past month certainly show that real estate and white goods are back in demand and jewellery it seems never goes out of fashion.

But as journalists, you don’t have to count Diwali in terms of what you get (so how many media houses actually bother to give their employees anything for Diwali any more?) in material terms but what you get as, well, material.

The top giver this year has to be Team Anna. Every day, all the members, former and current, work so hard to gift the media something substantial so that juicy stories and screaming debates can be organised. Tax evasions, slipper-chucking, chamber-bashing, endless fasts – which forced television to find every synonym for abstinence from food it could come up with across several Indian languages – dramatic exits, allegations, self-righteous sanctimony… sometimes you’re lucky as a journalist to get such a cornucopia of riches maybe once a year. Team Anna has been giving generously since April.

The next most generous has to be the film industry (and I don’t mean press conference gifts or the air kisses some film star blows a young, impressionable film reporter who now thinks they’re BFF). Every other week a movie releases with such an enormous publicity blast that you need at least six months to recover. It is another matter that the film bombs before anyone sees it and is as same old same old as the last one. The publicity blitz is far more important than the film itself and generates so many stories. So what if most of them are fake? This season, it has been Shahrukh Khan who has been most kind. Now, anyone going to see the movie, errr, what’s it called?

In most years, cricket would top the list but what started out as a great cricket year what with the World Cup and the IPL and then the England tour oops… um, what happened after that? My mind has gone a bit blank. There should have been stories galore but then I don’t know, whatever, cricket, yeah.

The Sensex is usually good for some drama but this year, well, it’s behaved very badly, in a damp squib kind of way. Instead, rising higher and higher has been the inflation rate, so you know, you lose some and you lose some. Not quite a breezy Diwali story.

Big thanks could go to our politicians who are usually ready with some fun stuff. Of course they never fail so there’s nothing new or unexpected here. We’re used to it. Sometimes, it’s like Diwali gifts every day.

Now that Diwali is done and dusted, let’s see what kind of parties we get thrown for New Year.

Have a good one.

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