Welcome to News Hour. This is Arnoub Goswami, live from Mumbai, from my studio, blue as tobacco smoke and you are watching the most watched TV show in India. We are debating the current unfolding events in Kashmir tonight.
[The camera zooms into Arnoub’s strangely smug face, highlighting his greasy hairdo. Soon there is a close-up of his face and the image stays for nearly an hour. Arnoub has recently watched the archival footage of famous TV anchors in history and tries in vain to imitate them. There are fake pauses. There are intellectual pretences. End of it he looks totally daft]
Arnoub: With me tonight in the blue studio is only one man: Arnoub. We broadcast live from Mumbai and since no one politically significant lives here, I am joined by guests from Delhi, Srinagar and elsewhere. Remember it does not get bigger, bluer and better than this. So stay glued. We’ll be back in a moment to ask tough questions and call them all on carpet, especially the ones from the land of carpet-sellers. Watch out.
Arnoub [in a CU (close-up) shot, taking the whole frame]: We have tonight with us Mirwaiz Umar and Sajad Lone from Kashmir. Dr Chandan Mitra and Rajeev Rudi join me from Delhi and here in our blue studio in Mumbai I lord over them. We begin Round-1.
Arnoub to Mirwaiz Farooq: Mirwaiz, do you pay these agitational kids who throw stones? My channel has access to your landline logs and it appears that your domestic-help actually helps you transport stones from his ancestral village in South Kashmir, an anti-national place, since stones are in short supply in Srinagar.
Mirwaiz: This is non-sense. I don’t know what you are talking about. I….[at this point Arnoub, the judge, jury and the executioner rolled into one, cuts Omar short].
Arnoub: I want to bring in Chandan here. Chandan, What do you make of the stone ferrying?
Chandan Mitra [Chewing on something sheepishly]: I think there is a lot of juice in the transcripts’ that your channel has so painstakingly accessed. That is not only a clear indictment of the mobsters who target our brave Jawans in Kashmir but it also goes on to prove, Arnoub, your own dexterity and ability. I salute you tonight. Like I saluted you last night. My God. How incredibly ingenious!
Arnoub: Thank you, Dr Mitra. At Times Now we try to be popular, never populist. Let Sajad answer my next salvo.
Arnoub [grinning] to Sajad: Is it true that the kids who get shot provoke the cops? Also is it true that paid stone pelters push little boys to the frontline on purpose so that even as our troopers, exercising extreme caution, fire below the belt, the boys invariably get shot in the chest due to height variation. Answer me Sajad. The nation deserves an honest answer.
Sajad: As long as you stop looking at it as a simple law-and-order problem, you can't picture it right. Height variation. Extreme caution. You must be kid…[at which point Arnoub decides to interrupt Sajad].
Arnoub: Nobody is a kid here. We are all adults and we are talking adult business here. We are talking real guns here, not toy guns. [The anchor looks straight into the camera and as if on cue the cameraperson does an XCU (extreme close up), exposing the gleaming side-arms of Arnoub’s glasses. Arnoub has a glitter in the eye that says: Good boy, Arnoub, point scored].
Arnoub to camera: We have heard the view from Kashmir, which is both fragmented and frustrated. When we come back after the break we will hear again from Dr Mitra [who will finish his mushroom soup by then]. Rajeev Rudy will also enlighten us with his views on Kashmir.
The prank resumes. The prankster repeats the cycle.
The conscience aches. One wishes to weep into the crook of arm. At the banality of it all! Will the silly anchors ever fathom that the fury is many decades, many centuries deep?
PS: All situations in the blog are fictitious. Artists invent lies, at times, just to tell the truth.