He is facing an existential crisis: should he stop watching news television forthwith or continue watching at his own peril! He is not able to decide the best course of action. Some of his friends, why his own wife too on many occasions, have been advising him to strictly not watch news channels. Because, they opine, it’s been very negative with everything, and, essentially, why should one go on being a mute witness to the reports of how many millions had been infected with the virus and how many thousands had succumbed to it. It affects you in the wrong way, makes you despondent and depressed, they add most emphatically. But, how can he just give up on news? He has to keep up with the local, national and the world scenario for his information, understanding and possibly analysis, particularly in this pandemic situation. And what are the alternatives? He does not still get his newspapers, and he quickly gets tired of reading e-papers. His mind goes into a spin.
Some friends even have put up social media posts, proudly informing others that they have stopped watching news channels. He gets disturbed. He reasons: all of the channels are not that loud and that bad, and for a change, they do show some extremely important content; he is intellectually smart enough to decipher the news from the views inherent in it; and like in a buffet party he can choose and pick the items he needs. Yes, he had already discarded the channels with the towering lunatics with their even more demonic companions. He has been sticking to this new normal, with a self-conscious pride of sorts, till those tales surfaced with their telltale signs, and left him flabbergasted, gasping for a breath of clarity or solace.
He is perplexed, veritably, genuinely. Why have the news channels suddenly switched on to the tales of two lovely ladies, at a time when the virus has been surging and spiking record highs of infections and deaths all across his miserable country? Perhaps, he reasons, they too wanted a change from the depressing scenario, and perhaps, wanted to earn a few bucks more, by arranging delicious on-sale dishes on the buffet. He is still perplexed as well as angry: all the lessons, tips and insights he has learnt from the channels have almost gone waste, because the same preaching channels have shown how desperate they are for the two lovely ladies, negating themselves in the observance of all norms of social distancing in their mad rush to take in those ladies, in full glory and in exhaustively breaking details. He, an honest person basically, is disgusted with the near media-riots that kept on being created day after day as the tales and telltales of the lovely ladies unfolded.
His depth of perplexity increases further, trying to make his personal stands clear as to the intricate stories of the two actors. He respects and adores them both: the first one as the caring girlfriend of the dead actor, a rising star, whom he loved too on the big screen; the second one he always loved to watch on the big screens, particularly for her portrayals in her off-beat movies. Now, in their real-life acts, he cannot decide, whom to support or oppose or hate.
The first case confounds him. He fails to understand why at all the dead actor’s family in his source state decided to complain against the girlfriend after nearly a month of his tragic but apparent suicide in the target state. However, what follows interests him more. The ruling dispensation of the source state has thrown itself overwhelmingly in support of the family, making it, arguably, the most powerful on earth, apart from perhaps the dynastic ones. The news channels, discarded by him, also came in with servile cacophonous support, and the accuser-in-chief and the towering lunatic of a particular channel started his investigations, and convicted the poor girl before anybody, with his derisive followers clapping in hyena-like ecstasy. After a series of confrontation, cross accusations and court verdicts three main investigating agencies started their operations, displaying an unprecedented hurry. Her final arrest was hailed as vindication by all in support and condemned as vindictive by all opposed. Problem for him is that he respects the investigating agencies too, from his experience of all his years of existence in his miserable country, and he is unable to decide who is guilty, actually.
Before the news channels got a breather from the first case, the second lady burst into the scene, without much foreplay. She wilfully accused the people and government of the target state, where she herself lives and earns, of unspeakable things, even comparing it to an eternal enemy-nation. The abominable things she uttered should have, ideally, hurt the feelings of both the ruling dispensation of the target state and the other stakeholders across his miserable country; however, while the ruling dispensation of the target state reacted vehemently, coming out, as expected by the main stakeholders, with its knee-jerk ‘punishment’ measures, the main stakeholders decided to provide maximum possible security for an actor. The sheer violation of norms that followed at the airport where both supporters and opposers and of course, the media-persons assembled in huge numbers for the arrival of the actor, made him boiling angry. The news channels, discarded by him, made the din worse by announcing the loudest of supports for the lovely lady, and crying for the blood of the authorities of the target state.
Two ladies: one continuously hounded and finally jailed, for her guilt yet to be proved conclusively; and the other lady who said disgustingly unparliamentary things was made a hero. Of course, he is not so naïve and gullible. As for the ‘hounding’ case he sees clearly that the ruling dispensation of the source state has indisputable electoral gains to make from its ‘son of soil’ dead actor and the main stakeholder has a revenge angle on the target state where it had suffered a great betrayal by its traditional partner. As for the ‘hailing’ case he can see that the main stakeholder stands to make a strong headway into exacting a revenge in the target state. In any case, the two lovely ladies continue to haunt him.
However, his basic existential crisis is yet to be solved: to continue or stop watching news television. Well, there is no hurry, at least in his own case. In the meantime, he can continue with his new normal adaptation, except for the occasional sneak-ins in the discarded channels just for curiosity, as he normally indulges in. But he is sure about one thing: the news channels, along with their governments, must put the focus back on the real raging crisis. And his final decision would rest squarely on this.