Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Star is Born

Even if it would further empower the common man - and of course, woman - to exercise her/his right to information by opening up the system and making it more transparent as has been attempted by several generations of his noble family, I couldn't possibly say anything that hasn't already been said about RaGa's now-legendary interview by ArGo.

The reactions to the interview do not really surprise me. To me, it was a foregone conclusion; a predictable outcome; I hadn't even bothered to watch the interview. Notwithstanding the fact that I can't - couldn't - stand the interviewer anyway. Of course, I was tracking the steady stream of sentiments being expressed on social media.

What I had not anticipated though, was the overwhelming intensity of the reaction and the barrage of humour. It were these two factors that drew me to the interview.

To my surprise, I was surprised.

In my eyes, a potential star was indeed born in yesterday's interview.

Not RaGa, but ArGo.

The ArGo I have seen - on the miserable occasions that fate has plonked me at 9PM in front of a TV tuned to TimesNow and whose remote-control I had no authority over - is an ArGo that I shun. That is the ArGo who believes he alone is the nation's conscience keeper. The ArGo who believes the nation has appointed him its spokesperson through a overwhelmingly unanimous referendum. The ArGo that believes that a "debate" is a monologue-in-disguise where the moderator sequentially shouts out the same question to as many people as can be fitted on a TV screen (but by waiting till one speaker starts speaking before posing the same question to the next person, thereby cutting off the speaker). The ArGo that believes an entire nation is patiently waiting for him to beat an answer out of the (usually) vile interviewee and hand it over so the nation can use that answer to save itself from apocalypse and redefine its own fate.

Heck. ArGo was the single largest reason I couldn't stand ArGo.

Imagine my surprise therefore, when I saw a transformed ArGo interviewing RaGa.

The answers that RaGa gave are not to be held against him nor are to be used to judge or crucify him. Rather, they are a measure of ArGo coming of age. How many other interviewees on his show have been allowed to complete what they wanted to say? Let alone give irrelevant answers.

The apparent digression that RaGa seemed to be lapsing into mustn't distract us from the gem it revealed. It was a test for ArGo. A test that he passed - in my view - with flying colours. ArGo kept returning - with respect (what?! what?!) - to specifics, to elicit a response.

The repeated stress by RaGa on the same set of concepts shouldn't cause us to defocus from the larger point. For the first time in my life, I was reaching for the remote when ArGo was speaking, to INCREASE the volume. Not to decrease it. Nor even to change the channel.

For a change, there was no melodrama. And any drama if at all, was definitely mellow.

Above all, ArGo used the word "nation" only 3 times. And that too, only when he uttered the words "assassination", "nomination" and "destination".

I am not joking and I am not being sarcastic when I say I was pleasantly surprised by ArGo. It appears that he has indeed had an education. It appears that he can indeed be effective by being civil. It appears that he can in fact do his job - and how - at sub-100-decibel levels and devoid of hot air.

For the copious amount of homework you do ArGo, you owe it to yourself to emerge as a professional journalist not prone to molly-coddling rather than a supercilious anchor who wants his career to be defined by cacophony and melodrama.

Do you have it in you, ArGo? Have you really come of age?

The Nation wants to know, ArGo; the Nation wants to know.