Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wonderful world we live in...

It is probably a reflection of our culture that:
- Shahrukh Khan's six-pack is more famous this year than his role in Chak De! India.
- Chak De! India became a hit purely through relentless marketing and parading the girls all over the country for all sorts of events.
- News desks in many major newspapers are filled to overflowing with freshers who have no experience of reporting or editing or indeed, journalism.
- People take professional advice on switching jobs or careers from me. Why is that so strange? Because I am only two years old in the profession.
- One error of judgement, one politically incorrect move with your deskie, and your copies are screwed for no apparent reason.
- People fear committing mistakes more for the impending memos instead of the fact that making mistakes in a newspaper is just plain stupid.
- The words of such characters as Bal Thackeray, Dr Vijay Mallya, the Ambanis and even the Shobhaa Des is the truth.
- Editors either love looking foolish or are so used to it that they've accepted it internally, that they are, well...foolish most of the time.
- You enjoy a sudden break more than the weekly off.
- You look for more sudden breaks in the week.
- The higher-ups, in any organisation, can generally be trusted to scamp work and leave all the important work to you.
- They can also be trusted to suddenly reappear when the praise is being doled out. And then you realise you were not praised at all, the higher-up was.
- Most people in this industry don't have just an Achilles' Heel, they have his entire body. Which is why most people survive purely on the basis of emotional blackmail.
- Working in newspapers makes you sick of newspapers at the end of the day. Ditto for channels, I suppose.
- Every journalist looks for a second career in writing. At least there you have the right to breathe down the editor's neck when you want to without feeling guilty.
- The most knowledge is to be found not from Google or Wikipedia or even your colleagues, but senior journalists who have been around since the time they would typewrite their copies or go on junkets with portable fax machines.
- You can be a competent court reporter by being glued to your press reporter's chair from 11.00 am to 5.00 pm everyday.
- You can also be a reasonably good political, defense, crime and environment correspondent without moving out of your office.
- About 98 per cent reporters crowd press conferences for the food and oh yes, the drink.
- Most people would come up and speak to me when I was still with Mid Day. Now most of them turn up their noses and wait for me to acknowledge them since I come from some LS paper based in Pune. So much for individual reputation.
- A nobody like me gets to cover the Legislative proceedings while others more deserving have to wait their turn 10 years or more. MB is a case in point.
- Your rise to the top is judged not by the work you did through the years but by how much ass you licked. It's almost a KRA requirement.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

What fun comes!

August and September have been good months as far as display, Page 1 coverage and overall news reporting went. Was a very profitable time, if it comes to that.

Today I sent a story on a Mumbai-based bicycle designer who can make a cycle for you based on whatever you want. If you want a double seat, you'll get it. If you want a lazy riding experience that doesn't tax you, you'll get that as well. Or if you're one of those freaks who actually use their cycles more for working out than fun, you'll get that, too.

I was charmed by the high potential this venture has for physically challenged persons. And the fact that Zubair Lodi (25), the owner and designer, actually believes that a vehicle for the physically challenged must make a fashion statement. "Everybody wants a happening end product," he told me this morning. "Why not have a cycle that is trendy, eye-catching and works best only for you?"

Why not indeed? Now if we only had office colleagues and relatives made-to-order.

That's Zubair in the pic, astride one of his designs. The 25-year-old former car designer speaks of cycles the way a film director would speak of his leading lady - he is charmed and seduced, and fully confident in its ability. "Cycles are the only 'green vehicle' for our cities," he says. Probably one factor that would leave customers reluctant to invest in these cycles, though, is the cost. The bike may cost Rs 7,000 or more. But who said custom-made stuff was cheap? Besides, Zubair uses MS tubes and PUC pipes in the design, and the customer has full control over the weight, colour and accessories of the end product. Good idea? You bet. Zubair says he is looking to target the physically challenged sector big time.
So while the rest of us are choking our city in swanky cars, here's somebody who's thinking Green, and so what if he's doing it as a business?