Tuesday, March 24, 2009

We owe you several, Varun

The hate speech notwithstanding, Varun Gandhi sure has given us media guys a full week of stories to do. There's something happening every day, which is good. Much better than running around all over town looking for stories or staring blankly at your computer screen, wondering what to file.

It's hot and as election day approaches, the campaigning and mudslinging will reach fever pitch.Like always, we're going to wonder how to go through it all without fizzling out, then not notice that we worked our asses off and didn't even notice that the craziness was over.

Meanwhile, take a look at this. And this.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Maya Memsaab

However repulsive the idea (and to many, it is), one can't deny that some day, this great country will have a dalit prime minister in Mayawati. That she is unabashed about hoarding her millions while her party workers continue to work penniless but with passion is a story for another day. What needs to be seen, apart from the short hairdo and the gaudy salwar kameez suits that Mayawati sports, is that she has political acumen enough for 10 politicians.

You might argue that she banks on and ruthlessly milks the sizeable dalit vote in her home state and the country and does not hesitate to cut other dalit parties to size if she sees the chance of capturing a brief moment of power. That's a story for another day, too. What does matter, is that since 1991, only Maya behenji has had the balls to lead her party to a majority win anywhere in the country, while the rest of them suckers keep squabbling within their coalitions.

To get the power and to keep it there takes loads of planning and plenty of intelligence, and Maya does both well. That's not to say that her sitting in the PM's chair will benefit the country in any way. But with the Third Front gaining strength slowly, at least to a level where it can influence final decisions once voting is over, Maya is in a position to usurp the chair and like everything else she's done so far, her planning will be bang on target.

This is how she does it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Band, oh bust!

A friend of ours (ours= Meghana and me) who works in radio in Mumbai is forming a band for some kind of instrumental fusion. They're scouting for names, but they've narrowed it down to two choices, of which I liked precisely none. Megs and I had this conversation while he was polling opinions from both of us at the same time:

vrushali: sriram asking me: filter coffee? or limited edition? which one do u like?
do u think i should suggest 'bugs and roaches'?
Meghana: i already told him we suggest bugs and roaches :P
vrushali: hahahahaa
Meghana: :D
vrushali: if they havent adopted it yet, it means they have no sense of humour
in which case, i refuse to associate myself with this band
why not masala chai?
or limited intelligence?
Meghana: lol
hhahahaha the latter is nice
vrushali: i will
Meghana: lol cool
vrushali: he says: yeah right
i thought it was pretty cool myself
Meghana: :P
yeah i know
vrushali: lebbe...when i form a band, that's what i
will call it
Meghana: ok...
who'll be in the band?
vrushali: u will be there, obviously...ur the star member
that's it
Meghana: lol
we'll sing 'oh sawariya'
vrushali: five ppl enough...or the band will break up citing 'irreconciliable differences'
what is oh sawariya?
Meghana: arre...the kishore kumar song idiot...
aake seedhi lagi
vrushali: that song is called 'aake seedhi lagi'...
dont confuse ur lead singer
Meghana: lol
vrushali: yeah, that would actually be a cool opening number for our concerts
at andheri sports complex
Meghana: yeah i know!
and then i'll do the snort laugh from the wings..so that ppl wonder whats happenign
vrushali: ok
whatever u want
just keep the audience entertained
anyway they won't be too bright...fans of limited intelligence
Meghana: lol
i can't stop laughing...limited intelligence
vrushali: :D
Meghana: it's a nice nick name for you actually
vrushali: yeah, sure. and wht's urs?
sriram will have to do with bugs and roaches
as in, as the name of his band
not saying that that species will be his main audience
Meghana: lol
i'm sure they'll run away
the bugs and roaches i mean
vrushali: yeah
hey, they can call themselves the Exterminators
the E.T.s
how cool is zat?
Meghana: yeah, nice
vrushali: lebbe, he wont see the point of this one either
i think radio makes u dumber
Meghana: we should sound it off
thsi is what i'm telling him
name the band bugs and roaches...
They might not be your target audience...they'll run away maybe..and then you'll can call yourselves the Exterminators :D
vrushali: u can't have two band names...
hw abt bandwidth?
band baaja?
band aid?
Meghana: they'll disband to resurrect themselves as the exterminators..
vrushali: chup re
Meghana: and then probably become like the Undertaker
vrushali: even Undertakers is good
Meghana: lol
vrushali: sheh, with so many good names, they pick out the lousiest ones
Meghana: lol
vrushali: he says band baaja is another project...how could they just plagiarise and not credit me?
Meghana: lol
vrushali: after this, they should call themselves Unethical Fusion Crap
Meghana: lol
vrushali: Plagiarists is also good
Meghana: oh shut up
no, this one i don't agree
vrushali: Oh Shut Up is actually good
"Guess who's in town to entertain you guys?"
audience replies, "Oh Shut UP!"
even DisBand is great
also a hint to themselves
Sent at 2:15 PM on Thursday
Meghana: lol
vrushali: :D

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wassup, doc?

There are significant aches and pains associated with working on a politics portal every day. I need some comic relief. That's why I actually stuck around at the earlier job for so long - they let me do what I want after I had done the routine stuff.

In other news, yours truly has now started holding forth on Hindutva and poll strategising and other what-have-yous. I swear my mum is going to laugh if she sees my stories. So will most others who know what a dufus I really am. But till such time that I begin to get some investigative leads in politics, the tittle-tattle on who's doing what and (this is our opinion on) why will have to do.

The initial buzz is positive. Get me some traffic, you.

Check out my take on the Congress campaign strategy here. Tell me what you think.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Everyone's talking...

Right now, every politician, wherever he may be, is ready to talk if you call (on) him.

If they don't, it means they're either really snooty or really important. Don't expect Sonia or Rahul Gandhi to grant you an interview right now, unless you're CNN or BBC or somebody equally firang. Even Mayawati and Modi will not take your calls right now. But the ones below them certainly will, and they do.

I went to the BSP office in Mumbai the other day with Mamta, and the guy manning the office was as thrilled as dammit to see any visitors; naturally he was tickled pink to know that both of us were journos looking for information and that we were actually asking him questions. After holding forth on the party and how it does things, he actually invited Mamta and me to join the BSP. "You work as journalists because you want a career, right"? he smirked. "This is also a career. Just stand for the elections, we'll help you win."

I mean, really. Go looking for a snippet and you get the entire story book plus the offer to become a Member of Parliament.

The other day I met a senior BJP leader who reduced the Shiv Sena to worse than dust once he was done criticising them. "Sharad Pawar has, customary to his style, ditched the party that was willing to help him. But these (Sainiks) don't get it. Uddhav is being advised by all the wrong people. Trusting Sharad Pawar would be the last thing Balasaheb would do, but nobody's listening to him, despite whatever the Sena may say."

And then there was the BJP party worker representing the Matang community, whose various causes Gopinath Munde espouses (at least, he started espousing them about two months ago). I was passing Azad Maidan and heard the usual shouts of "Vijay aso! Hum tumhare saath hain!" Walking in, I almost head-butted a guy who came charging at me from the opposite direction. "Media? Media?" he asked. I nodded. He handed me a bunch of papers, saying "Press release. Press release." After I'd given him my visiting card, he launched into a marketer's spiel about how the community was being harassed and how Munde would show them all. For over 10 minutes.

You meet all the different types during election time. All want to be heard. Most have nothing to say.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


We have gone live, yay! This suddenly feels like it's my own project (which it is), but boss uncle specifically asked me to "own it" so now you guys can watch me go!

In a more sober vein, though, the job ahead is immensely tough because the action hasn't even started yet but we sure are swamped with work. Some little niggles here and there do exist on the site but we are so ready for a formal announcement and launch. But because I can't tell any of you about it yet, I feel like a women who has a pregnancy to announce but can't tell anyone yet because she's been warned to break the news only when the baby goes live.

Anyway, we're getting our stories ready and I'm starting to nag the concerned ones to finish ironing out the problems in the site, for chrissakes. Being in control is scary and weird at the same time; I've never been in charge of a daily product and never at this level or on a permanent basis. At my previous job, I was proxy Chief of Bureau but that was because my senior was a delicate darling with a family of delicate darlings who all fell ill several times a month.

I'm going to make tonnes of mistakes, and the worst part is, I can only blame myself. Sometimes, that's the worst kind of job. But compared to the crap that's happening to so many others in the city, all I can do is be thankful and kiss the ground beneath my feet for sturdily being there even when I was shaky.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

In the jungle...

Since the site is not live yet, my stories are getting dated. And everyone knows that nothing gets your goat more than knowing that your stories are getting dated, through no fault of your own.

I am revising my own stories so that I can salvage some of them. It seems like I've been revising stories since I was a baby. The office is quiet today, which is great. At last count, I have about 15 stories just waiting to be unleashed but the poor things have nowhere to go.

We hopefully go live next week, probably Monday. Let's see how that goes. Hmph.