Wednesday, March 24, 2010

“…journalism is an estate of the realm, a power above all powers in the land; and its mission is mighty, even so are its responsibilities great.” –The Michigan University Magazine Volume II

Journalism and media earned its popularity through mass consciousness and the irony of seeing them toy with the emotions of the masses and making a massacre of the ‘humane aspects of journalism’ estranges them from the common people. While the glaring incapacity and disarray of the state of West Bengal emerges from under the veneer of communist idealism, the fake promises and dry tears of political leaders aggravated by the ludicrous decorum of wearing a gleeful smile when you are relaying a disastrous and heart wrenching news, comes across as a reflection of retrograde culture. To illuminate what exactly I’m driving at is the news anchor of Star Anando whose almost happy disposition was not pleasing to the eyes. There was no self restraint or somber demeanour that would assay that even though not personally affected it did unnerve her like it did the rest of the masses. Contrasted to her very strange body language was the daring act of people like Pervez whose humanity and humility gave life to so many.
Media were competing in this hour to be the first to communicate the news and not the first to help the people out from the worst nightmare. They watched people desperately jump to their deaths and began penning headlines. They reached there as spectators and not messiahs. But you cannot blame them for futuristic journalism like the rest of the futuristic stuff that is developing is emotionless, mechanical, monetized and at it a farce. Journalists are interviewing distraught family members, insensible mob smiling at the camera and waving at the viewers, reporters daring to ask how do you feel, are you anxious, did you’ll know, when did you’ll get to know- insensitive and blatantly insensitive. Neither sense nor sensibility is part of journalism now.
I was an audience in front of the idiot box waiting to catch a glimpse of the action. Though unaware of what actually happened I have frequented the spot often and from my understanding of the geography of the place a few trucks, lorries could have been brought in. There is a furnishing shop just opposite to the Music World from where drapes and curtain could be accumulated so that the people could jump on a soft cushion. But even when Rome was burning there were some saving their own businesses. Or is it that common sense is really uncommon in today’s world. Panic struck and capturing the fall to death on your mobile cameras may fetch you a penny for a day but rob you of peaceful sleep, when you toss on your bed with guilt. A friend of mine whose own bereavement in the past has taught her the philosophy of life rightly said, that it is the ‘helplessness’ we feel when faced with the cruel fact of mortality that creates a void and an unbearable pain.
I know that it will be dawn again and life will return to normal and reporters and journalists will begin sniffing for a new trail of sensational news. Whatever is breaking news for them is breaking indeed! For a commoner like me media melodrama is as intolerable as politics. We are in a poor state literally so, if each of us doesn’t rise to the occasion, if our conscience is enjoying their prolonged slumber then you can simply walk back with a cup of stimulant and watch the IPL or the hip gyrating obscene Bollywood songs.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

All Izz Well??

Its not. But well think about it this way: Nothing in life is actually all right. But you have to swallow your pride and eat your own words and get back on the same horse from which you were thrown.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Shhh! Success

“Success” is derived from the Latin word “succedere” which means ‘happy outcome’. Sometime in the late 13th century it was used in the sense of ‘after’ or ‘something that comes afterwards’. Later in the 1580’s the term acquired its popular meaning and became synonymous with triumph. Contemporary usage of ‘success’ in the sense of ‘victory’ is prevalent in every sphere of our daily lives. The term ‘success’ has no singular meaning in the modern world; rather it envisages the idea of achieving a desired result in whatever we undertake. Generally speaking, the way we live life and the realization of our ambitions is success.
In this era of competition, success is an indispensable ideology. It is not merely a word in the dictionary but a mantra that drives us towards greater goals in all aspects of life. Let us consider a game or a tournament, where the dizzying determination to emerge victorious at the end of the game play provides the match with nerve-rending excitement. It would not be completely wrong if success were compared to the biological adrenaline rush that induces in us a frenzy to be the first one to reach the finish line in a race.
The term success no longer remains confined to just the ‘happy outcome’, it implies a positive attitude towards life. Even in life, material gains and the envying bank balance alone does not epitomize success. Emotional and spiritual revelation and calm of mind, is the sign of ‘success’. Whatever earns you praise and happiness is therefore ‘success’. So, for a poor beggar who earns not a morsel, a day’s meal is a success; so too for a wealthy man whose house oozes with wealth but the mind remains turbulent, a peaceful night’s sleep and rest are success. It is how you perceive ‘success’.
For a student aspiring to make it big in life, success in examination is important. But at all times one should remember that success is the fruit of hard work. It is not a fancy, where you waste your time daydreaming and success comes knocking at your door! Unless you are sincere, determined, resolute and ready to toil, it is impossible to scale the heights and celebrate success. The celebrities you read about in newspapers and eminent personalities who seem to bask in their hay day, have not achieved their magnanimous status in a fortnight. They have sweated it out day in and day out to be who they are. Benjamin Franklin has aptly said, “There are no gains without pains”.

Yo! Competition

Competition arises from the need to achieve a single end for which there is more than one aspirant. If you leaf through the pages of the Oxford Concise Dictionary, competition will be described as, “the activity or condition of competing against others; an event or contests in which people compete”. The word competition is originally English and was derived from compete which means striving to gain or win something by defeating someone. Its root is a Latin word competere (com = together + petere = aim at or seek).
In today’s world the terms ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ competition are recurrent. Since competition entails a literal fighting for a coveted goal, it can sometimes be destructive and sometimes constructive. When greed and ambition get the better of our thinking faculty then we tend to tread the path of immorality and evil. Groups, individuals, organizations, etc. can be completely eliminated, jeopardized or harassed until the object of the contest is won by the evil inflictor. Common objects of contention are basic necessities like food, water, resources; fame or prestige; an honour or award; wealth and luxury; etc.
Conversely, competition can also serve as an incentive for self improvement or betterment. When competition ceases to be the cause of rivalry it can be considered as an impetus to take all failures as a challenge and improve one’s abilities. Competition can also be read as a byword for innovation and creativity.  In the absence of competition, improved and user friendly electronic goods, convenient packaged food, air-conditioned supermarkets, better educational institutes, quality and updated books, new avenues for sports like 20-20 cricket, etc. would not have come into being.
Sometimes competition ensues between individuals, between groups, among individuals and groups and so on and so forth. It is a word that is used at length in all facets of our daily life. Students will be familiar with competition in education. Competition also pervades the sphere of sports, law, business, industry, media, etc. Nowadays tournaments, events and talent hunts are also referred to as competition.
Colloquially we refer to competition as ‘rat race’ and with time the need to excel has exceeded by leaps and bounds. Unfortunately, this insane run for success has ruined the childhood that children should have ideally cherished. Forced to comply with the go of the day, pupils are pressurized to be party to the competition, mostly against their wishes. This has not only created psychological unrest but unable to cope with the competition, students commit suicide, murder and theft.
Tom Landry gives the best advice to all aspiring to be part of a competition: “When you want to win a game, you have to teach. When you lose a game, you have to learn.”

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mind your tongue

People in Bengal have a tendency to mispronounce English words. Especially now that my job entails translating from Bengali to English and vice versa I find it impossible not raise an eyebrow when I hear a fellow colleague or read a phonetic inscription meticulously penned by our very own indigenous authors.  When Nutso Marmosets commenced I decided it will be a good forum to discuss such issues. It is true that each region has a specific twist of the tongue which is what renders the accent. So trying too hard to accentuate is a malady that few realize. Nonetheless it does not harm to work towards correct pronunciation rather than 'accent'. So when writing in the Bengali script we should pay heed to minute details as in ‘pronunciation’ as ‘fËe¢¾pHpe’ or ‘guardian’ as ‘N¡l¢Xue’so too for ‘test’ (­VØV) and ‘taste’(­VHØV).
  Obviously this list is not exhaustive. In fact if your intent is correct pronunciation then over-dependence on the Bengali script has to be done away with. You'll have to adopt an alternative. One such alternative that I can suggest is trying to pronounce words with the help of other words in the same language. For instance say 'double' can be read as "dub+ul" and not mispronounced as ‘X­h¡m, sometimes the latter have become phonetically similar to the Hindi ओल.
Again there are some subtle nuances that have to be considered, like in the list we have 'test' and 'taste', the pronunciation of both of which are close- indeed very close; but they are different. Some other such words are listed below


No language can be learnt in earnest unless we read and write it without relying on an aiding script. The more mistakes you make the better you'll learn. In this article I have made a small list of homonyms(similar sounding words) too for easy reference. 
Please note that these examples have been taken from the website 
For more information on words and their pronunciation you can consult the following websites: