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Friday, December 03, 2021

Lok Sabha or charm school?

Parliament shocks us with its perfect decorum,and words can’t convey the Twenty20 excitement

Written by Shailaja Bajpai |
June 9, 2009 12:36:29 am

My,my. So courteous and dignified. In the last five years watching Parliament telecasts meant just one thing: unparliamentary behaviour — sometimes especially for TV. But last week,everyone was like boy scouts and girl guides. Beaming smiles at each other like headlights of oncoming vehicles; greeting each other like birthday cards. Why,it came to a point when they were even thumping the table for each other (well,maybe it didn’t come to that). Yes,our representatives behaved with a grace and graciousness — not a cross word between them – that we have come not to expect when we tune into the Lok Sabha. Will it last? Unlikely,but for now the breaking news is that Parliament was not rocked by clashes but that Parliament was rocking.

Clearly,Alan Wilkins is not conversant with the latest in popular cant. On Saturday evening as Chris Gayle swept away the Australian team at the Twenty20 something called the World Cup,Wilkins exclaimed: “This is an Australian ship which is rocking”. Shipwrecked is more like it. As Ian Chappell rightly observed,cricket commentary wordplay must change in order to do Twenty20 justice. This,after he caught himself remarking that Gayle had “just played himself in after scoring 53 off 26 balls”! Later,on Aaj Tak Sunny Gavaskar experienced a language malfunction. Asked about Bangladesh’s chances against India,the maestro,speaking in Hindi,said India were favorites but the “minnows’ had a chance. Minnows? Even those who speak English would be at looking up the meaning of the word; for Aaj Tak’s audience it was lost in pronunciation.

Star News found people equally unable to express themselves adequately. Having no news to report,it visited a lounge bar in Delhi just before India’s match and asked the guests,“How will you do cheers?” They looked at the reporter as though he was mentally in his cups but replied sportingly (it was cricket,after all!),“We’ll do cheers,what else?” Seems Twenty20 is leading to a communication gap.

And sleep deprivation. India’s matches are scheduled for 10.30 pm. The second innings starts at around midnight and continues past 1 am. Not fair. Obviously,this schedule was drawn up for local ground receipts and not to suit the watching habits of Indian viewers.

If you are awake and alert,notice the cheerleaders. Now,cheerleaders,almost by definition,perform best with (or without) as many clothes as possible. Scantily clad,they dance rhythmically and energetically to the beat of the music. But due to the whimsical nature of the English weather it was a cold June day,so there they were,in ski like suits doing what looked like warm-up exercises. Snore.

Two welcome differences from IPL. There is no seven-minute break after 10 overs which is just as well because we might have fallen asleep. And,there is none of that chatty chatting up the beer-swilling public by former cricketers who haven’t been selected — for the commentary box.

We were not at all amused by Times Now and NDTV 24 x7 on Wednesday. In their news bulletins they ran footage of a woman who tried to commit suicide by laying herself down on the railway tracks. Then we saw the train,travelling at full speed,pass over her. A few seconds later,she gets up and walks away. This is the sort of believe-it-or-not item we expect to from India TV. Perhaps,the news channels are beginning to resemble each other?

That is one thing Conan O’Brien does not need to worry about. The new host of The Tonight Show (Zee Café) neither looks nor behaves like his predecessor,Jay Leno. Where Leno was all cheek (literally and otherwise),O’Brien is all sharp angularity (literally and otherwise). On his first day out last week,O’Brien was ill at ease,hanging loose as though he was wearing one of Leno’s baggy suits. Will someone send him a pair of Relaxo chappals?

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