Thursday, August 11, 2005

The absence of time-bondage

I'm allowing myself some 'venting' today, even at the risk of being impudent.

Can somebody explain to me - this concept of 'timeless' stories, in journalism?

What kind of story is worth writing, but not worth publishing... yet?
Not because it is not relevant; but because it is eternally relevant. Not because it fails to tackle an issue of significant social import, but because it will remain significant in the given spectrum of social concern.

What kind of stories are these that are not bound by 'time'?

These are, invariably, stories of oppression. Stories of caste-driven violence... sustained violence of the economic kind. Stories of hunger. Stories of displacement.

What we call 'bleeding-heart' stories.
That a lot of people are slowly broken, body and spirit, until they lose the strength to protest, is... a timeless fact.

Timelessly noted, recorded, written about and stored in the 'kept' folder. The 'held-over' folder... the timeless 'can-be-used-anytime' folder.

Sure, they need telling, these stories. Sure, they need writing.
But not yet. Not now. Next time... ok?

Now, there's this controversy raging about the leader of the opposition having said nice things about a man dead for more than five decades.
Now is the time when we need to discuss how lovely Europe is, in the summer.
Now is the right time to talk about what Laloo will do, if he loses the impending election.
Now, there's this slew of rapes in the capital.
Now, monkeys are photographed, water-skiing.


These are 'timely' stories...

That a 14-year-old tribal boy was killed in custody is timeless.
That the police opened fire on a group of demonstrators is timeless.
That women are disappearing, even from the womb, is timeless.

Sure, they happened, these stories. They happened now, here, sure... but they've happened before. They're timeless. They are not 'bound' by time.

I understand the compulsions of production, in media. I understand space constraints/air-time/relevance/burning controversy-of-the-moment... I understand.

I have one little problem, though: What face do I show to those people, for whom time is running out?

What shall I say to Bhado Devi? What shall I say to Uma? What shall I say to Dhoda Meena? That their lives are timeless? Next time... ok?

I go to them, telling them I can become their voice. What shall I tell them now? That they need to find a way of handcuffing themselves to this bhaagta bhoot called 'time'? That they had better do something that will make headlines quiver will timely excitement?

And if I do tell them this, what do you think the desperate and the angry poor will do, to create headlines?

2 comments:

samar said...

sundar komal sapno ki barat gujar gayi jana
dhup ankho tak aa panhuchi hai ab rat gujar gayi jana
thus spake parvin shakir long long ago in pakistan and nothing changed. all the stories u referred are timeless annie but think about meerut, bhiwandi, tirlokpuri, and LOGAIN a village in bihar where 116 people(moslems)were killed nad buried in a mustard field and no one knew(......though everyone knew). thats what make me think that timeless stories demand action ..timeless...spaceless.. and most of the all... fearless. lets build barricades so that these timeless stories dont scar our collesctive faces, so that these stories dont haunt us throughout our lives.

chamique said...

Came here through Sanjaya.
I completely agree with you. Mainstream media seems to be pimping to promote the sleaziest showgirls. (Metaphorically speaking, but literally as well I suppose.)

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