Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this article are real. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is completely intentional. Real names of real people and real organizations have been suitably modified as occasioned by the demands of the article.
Preface: B Raman loses the plot completely right from the first word. No, make that “right from the first number.” He commits the unpardonable error of mentioning Barkha’s age: 39. Yes. That’s in Years. Therefore the good editors at the Sri Lanka Guardian approached me to rewrite the Barkhanama originally available at the aforementioned link.
The eternally-16-year-young Barkha Dutt, the versatile and veritable diva of Indian television news who is the Group Editor of SPINDTV, a national 24-hour spin-machine has been shortlisted for consideration for selection as the International TV Personality of the Year 2011 by a panel of independent judges.
And with that, let’s take a short commercial break. Barkhanama will be back in just a bit!
You see, the last time we reposed faith in stuff like “independent judges,” the naughty old lads at the Hooker Committee unleashed Arundhati Roy upon 1/6th of the world’s population. This population continues to suffer her verbal terrorism with neither rest nor respite. Thus our fears are well-founded.
Welcome back to Barkhanama! We were talking about the heart-warming news of the diva’s shortlisting before we took the commercial break. Yeah, so it’s really amazing that she’s made it to the Final Five of the coveted International TV Fatality of the Year. Neither will it be a surprise if she wins it given her stellar contribution to Excellence in Spinning on Television. She has indeed honed her excellence for more than a decade since she descended from the towering heights of Kargil all the way down to the depths of Mumbai. She has not only mastered the art of sound-biting on television, she has in a short span, acquired extreme mastery in 140 characters.
But this brief summary of her awe-inspiring accomplishment doesn’t do full justice to deserve the Barkhanama title. For that, we need to do what B.Raman hasn’t done. We need to chart uncharted courses. We need to rush into that place where angels fear to tread.
And so, let’s begin Barkhanama with her absolutely best tour de force till date. Only one exploit qualifies for this: the time when she gave the legendary on-field ass-kicking to Pakistani terrorists on live TV, a courageous act her detractors at Vanity Fair and elsewhere term as “helping the terrorists’ handlers.” This is closely followed by that other glorious feather in her cap when she kept herself busy by keeping a bold watch on perverse political shenanigans like brokering cabinet berths in the UPA central ministry—yet another spunky deed that was yet again (sigh) demonized by the jealous people at the Open Magazine.
Not that such petty disparaging dents her mettle, which is made of the same material that helps a chameleon…er…adjust to rapidly-changing circumstances. But then one can’t just keep ignoring accusation upon unfair accusation. So she embarked upon the same course of action that any honourable man (or woman) does: she took recourse to the rights that the law bestows upon every individual. In the “depths of Mumbai” case, she sent a legal notice to a blogger who had unfairly called her kicking-the-terrorists’-asses-act as “shoddy journalism” – how dare he! In the second instance, she treated the nation to a spectacular display of a Caesar’s wife is above suspicion style of defence when she blasted Manu Joseph of Open Magazine on live TV. Of course it is to the nation’s collective shame that nobody believed her defence. Now that she’s been shortlisted for the top slot of becoming an International Fatality, eat your words! Especially all you Twitter folks!
These stunning acts of the Diva’s Indomitable Spirit of Justice and Courage are actually compelling reasons why she and only she should get that International Television Fatality of the Year award. Yeah, I mean why should we care about stuff like facts and balance when you have passion? Passion explains everything, makes everything right…I mean, what’s the big deal with a few slip ups here and there like on that Dantewada thing?
Perhaps the greatest testimony of her matchless record is the fact that she’s been with SPINDTV since its inception in 1988 and has risen to adorn its Group Spinster post. Also, her She the People talk show—where she talks and the participants listen to her voice—has completed 10 years, a no mean achievement. These accomplishments are quite consistent with a news channel that has a record of courageously showing the middle finger to the greedy income tax guys and corporate law guys of the Indian government. Not to mention its Founder-Spinner—Prannoy Roy—whose hobbies include Oceanography and marine-life preservation. He’s pursued this hobby by buying up and flattening sand dunes on a seaside property measuring some 27,000 square metres.
Look at it whichever way, you see that Barkha Dutt is a pretty strong contender. Even a veteran Sir David Attenborough will find it fatal to compete with her. I mean, he’s done pretty boring work all his life—what the hell is a Life series compared to the Diva’s incessant slanging matches on TV, paper, and Twitter? What’s a mere “Sir” in comparison with getting a Bollywood character modelled after your blood-curdling exploits in Kargil? Think about it. What’s the point in shooting a Ocean World when you could’ve bought a vast beachfront property and pursued your hobby firsthand, you know, like field experience and stuff? Sorry, Sir Attenborough, you’re no match for the Diva. You might just voluntarily withdraw and make way for the new…er…waters. The same goes for the other two gentlemen in the final shortlist.
November 9 will be the Day of the Diva. The International Television Fatality Day (To the shameless Barkha-critics on Twitter: create a hashtag or something to honour her).
Postscript: Oh and B.Raman needs to focus his energies more on topical studies or whatever in Chennai than waste his time and talent penning shameless peans for someone who epitomizes everything wrong with journalism in India. Send me that legal notice already.