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Whenever I hear discussions (or should I say shouting matches?), on television, I feel people are not asking the right counter questions – to either the so called moderator cum newsreader cum judge supremo or God, referred to in ordinary parlance as news anchor, or those panelists who have condescended to come on national television and be cut-to-size, ignored or unduly praised, depending on their political leanings, by the anchor God.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have answers to anything. In fact I don’t even know what the questions are. But I know what shouldn’t be the answer or the counter question. I mean, if someone asks you, pointing to a bowl with oranges and apples that’s on a table in your dining hall, ‘Are those cherries and raspberries you have there?’ the answer is not ‘Neil Armstrong landed on the moon in the year 1969 and hence those have to be coconuts and jack-fruits on the tray.’

Apparently, it is the right way to answer when you are on a discussion panel in any of the news channels. And if someone has the sense to call a spade a spade, and oranges and apples, as well, oranges and apples, all the rest including the anchor, especially the anchor, pounce on him and shame him. Shame on you Mr. So-and-so! Shame! How dare you look at a tray of coconuts and jack-fruits and call it a bowlful of oranges and apples?!! The least, the very least you could have done was to admit these are raspberries and cherries! The sensible voice again tries to interrupt and manages to ask, ‘But why Neil Armstrong and moon landing? Where does it come into the picture at all?’ On hearing this, the news anchor goes berserk (it is supposedly a prerequisite of the job) and pointing to the panelist as if he were something a rival channel had deposited in his studio without his knowledge, screams, ‘He is a traitor! A traitor my dear viewers. He dares question ME, judge, jury, and God. Off with his head!

Sigh. I take back what I said earlier.  A mere armchair critic, as the social media is wont to label people like me – though who in their right minds can loll back on armchairs when they hear such drivel I cannot say – does not have the right questions, or counter-questions such anchors or panelists. Even if I did, who would give answers? You can wake up a man who is sleeping, but you cannot wake up one who is pretending to be asleep. It’s not as if they don’t know of the nonsense they are spewing at these ‘shows’, they are doing it on purpose, to confuse the issue, and also everyone around. Under the circumstances, all I can do when the ‘fun’ starts is to close my ears, or clutch my head, and run for dear life and hope, very soon they go out without their umbrellas and it rains coconuts and jack-fruits on their unprotected heads.

©Shail Mohan 2018