Sunday, June 10, 2018

In the Vales of Himachal

Lord Dalhousie has gone down in the annals of Indian history as the man who led to the 1857 Uprising- it was only after his pronouncement of the Doctrine of Lapse that most Indian rulers including some of the major Indian social reformers and revolutionaries began to oppose the policy and also many other British government ways of administration; this infact led to the Indians coming under one umbrella to lead the First War of India's Independence in 1857 after which the Queen was forced to take the administration of the country under her control from the British East Indian Company which was popularly termed the 'Queen's Proclamation of 1858'. History notwithstanding Dalhousie as a hillstation is a beautiful valley and a pristine one at that.

Down the winding roadway from Pathankot in the state of Punjab, Dalhousie is perched up on a hill about eighty kilometres from this important military base town. It is to the western side of Dhauladhar mountain range and is about 1, 970 metres above sea level. On the first day there was enough time to eat breakfast, shower and take a lengthy tour of the city and The Mall. The driver was a good guide for the local city and headed towards Panchpula which had a wonderful scenic beauty, good eateries and a spate of adventure sports' packages. After a few good photographs, selfies and earrings to shop, it was time to head out for lunch at Cafe Dalhousie in Gandhi Chowk. Gandhi Chowk was the main city centre with a church in one corner (St. John's Church) and a lovely library next to it. Having just arrived in the city, it was time to head out for a walk around several cottages on a little trail. The 5-kilometre trail was good to whet some appetite for dinner. A peaceful day that ended with camaraderie and great family time.

The second day was the real time to venture out into the city and enjoy the cool environs of this mountaineous terrain- Khajjiar Nag Temple stood tall reminiscent of the ancient tale of the Pandavas in the midst of several hotels and local restaurants. This area almost stretched far and wide like a golf court. Father did paragliding while the rest of the family sipped tea and munched on some snacks. Next was a trek up to Dain Kund Temple from where an Air Force Base was visible. While the ladies waited for the men to trek up and back, it was again time for some photography. The final destination for the day was Kalatop Sunset Point which was a picturesque forest reserve. This had some of the world's best Bhajjis (Pakoras) and Masala Chai of the hills. Finally it was time to go to Beeji's Park with T-55 Russian tank and other military equipments on display. Some good photographs and fountain against the backdrop of Dalhousie Public School mess.

This day was time to check out and head to Dharamsala. Since it was a long drive, there was enough time to just go and watch the McLeodganj Main Temple of Tibetan Buddhists- the abode of HH Dalai Lama. Staying close to the Sahaj Yoga Meditation Centre, the seat of HH Nirmala Devi, was a wonderful experience as efforts were made to raise the Kundalini. A fresh day here began with the visit to Bhagsu Falls, a cool trek through the rocky stretch, drinking fresh spring water and clicking photographs on the way. After an interesting read of the story of Bhagsu Nag, the drive to the Tibet Museum was a smooth sail with little traffic but loads of tourists. A tiring day which gave enough time to soak up the Tibetan aura and culture with Nick Cafe's cosmopolitanism and Om Mane Padme Hum chantings. The final day before the Pathankot train was the icing on the cake with the vist to Kangra Arts Museum, Dharamsala international cricket stadium, Norbulingka Institute and the Kangra Fort with good audio guide. Revving up the city no doubt was the cricket stadium and another athletics stadium with its modern architecture and contemporary style which attracted the tourists.

This time was a trip to the hills with a difference- even Delhi and NCR felt like a tourist spot. Brother was kind to take everybody to the well-known cultural centre 'Kingdom of Dreams' in Gurgaon. Another place like Dilli Haat this air-conditioned centre harboured makeshift structures of various states with their cuisines and music and dance forms. Slurping up the Gatta curry with Dal-Baati-Choorma and Bikaneri Parantha, Rajasthani palette was devoured with much delight and contentment. This trip ended the weeklong journey of the family in the hot summer of 2018 where temperatures were almost reaching upto 45 degrees in the plains of Uttar Pradesh. A fun visit with lots to learn about the northern states and cities!!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

TV Programme Production Lectures

Difference between News and Current Affairs programmes

TV production and programming is concerned with different types and formats of programmes related to news, entertainment, lifestyle, sports and other forms of storytelling and narratives. The technique that goes into producing any show of any genre is related to television production studies. Even in the realm of news, there are various types of news. Hence let us discuss the main differences between a news show and a current affairs show:

1. Timing: News, it is said, is an acronym derived from N (North), E (East), W (West), S (South). Hence any event or happening that is discussed immediately, within seconds of its occurrence, is termed as news. Hence the concept of 'Breaking News' in television. In print, the news maybe a little delayed due to its publication once within 24 hours. Current affairs, on the other hand, implies events or happenings that have happened a few days or weeks ago but still continue to be in news due to its follow-up events or updates in the incident. For example, a man has died is news; what happens after his death and its repercussions is current affairs as the matter will be discussed for a number of days after.

2. Content: News generally entails bare minimum details about who, what, when, where, why and how. It contains the factual details about various happenings. However, current affairs relates to a detailed discussion on the topic taking everything into account- history, causes, impact and significance. Hence news bulletins are simple narration of events as and when they happened. While current affairs shows are debates and discussions on a happening.

3. Proximity: News events usually relate to events and occurrences that happen closer home. They relate to events and happenings close to your city, town, district, state or country. However, current affairs shows can be general discussions on any topic around the world. News events are enlisted for a news bulletin. But current affairs shows relate to a theme or topic of larger interest.

4. Themes: News bulletins usually relate to immediate occurrences with regular updates on them. Their themes range from sports, politics, entertainment, business to weather, environment and science. Current affairs discussions are more about the influence and effects of happenings on society and several socio-economic issues of general interest. Since news is more like a rapid fire around it entails larger variety of topics while a single current affairs show will relate to a single theme.

5. Duration of shows: Since news bulletins are half-hour or of one hour duration, these carry short news snippets related to various events. Hence each news item is short and crisp to inform the viewer. Current affairs shows are a detailed discussion on a single news or one or two news items. For example, Twenty-Twenty, Fast 100 and Rapid Fire are some examples of news bulletins while The World This Week, Hard Talk, Aap ki Adaalat are examples of some current affairs shows.

6. Panelists and guests: A major difference between a news bulletin and a current affairs show is that a news bulletin may have one guest and a discussion in one segment along with news stories but a current affairs show is all about discussions, debates, panelists where the guest speakers may be anywhere between 4-7. Guests are experts in their own fields who are willing to share their knowledge on a particular topic and discuss that with the anchor or the show host.

7. News stories: In news bulletins, news stories are usually of short duration, anywhere between one minute to two-three minutes. However, in current affairs shows, the same story maybe edited for a longer duration- five minutes to seven minutes. Bulletins have simply stated facts while treatment of stories for current affairs shows are more like features or even documentaries.

Hence we see that there is a major difference between a news bulletin and a current affairs show. Furthermore there are news magazines like Newstrack, which have not been discussed here.

Theme of programmes 

Broadly, television programmes maybe divided into four main types: news and current affairs, talk shows, reality shows and fiction and issue-based shows.

Most news bulletins are categorized under news and current affairs. Apart from news bulletins which are thirty minutes long and upto even an hour, there are chat shows and talk shows.

Talk shows are programmes where there is one main anchor and panel of guests or even one main guest. There maybe an audience for a brief chat on the topic which provides more energy to the programme. There are many examples of talk shows and chat shows. Some of the main ones are 'Koffee With Karan', 'We The People', 'Rendezvous with Simi Grewal', etc.

Then among non-news programmes there are reality shows. Reality shows are generally quiz programmes or programmes where people from among the audience are invited to be a part and engage in the show as part-time actors or talents. Some good examples of reality shows are Khatron ke Khiladi, Kaun Banega Crorepati, Big Boss among others like Bournvita Quiz Contest, etc.

Fiction-based shows are said to be a few crime shows where stories maybe fabricated and played in the form of theatrics and dramatized to showcase an incident. Issue-based television shows are the ones like 'India Matters' on NDTV which deal with an issue of development like poverty, hunger, disease and gender. These are more like magazines or documentaries lasting from 30 minutes to one hour.

Programme timings: 

Programmes can also be divided into categories based on the timing at which these are going to be aired. There are broadly five main categories- early morning, afternoon, evening, prime time and late night.

Early morning shows are usually light and based around cookery, lifestyle, features, and lighter themes related to soft news rather than hard news. Just like radio broadcast in the morning resounding spiritual chants, even television broadcasts programmes related to astrology, including a quick recap of the main news of the day. Breaking News usually starts coming in by 11 a.m.

Afternoon bulletins are hard news shows as details related to follow-ups are updated at this time. Live OBs and Breaking News go on to be played in this time slot. Sometimes, catering to a target audience of housewives and sit-at-home mothers, programmes related to various soaps and serials are also showcased like 'Saas, Bahu aur Saazish', and 'Saas, Bahu aur Betiyaan' among others.

Around 3 p.m. news bulletins again relate to hard news. Between 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. news are usually a recap of the day's happenings with fresh updates on afternoon bulletins. The stories in the evening are usually longer and lengthier with updated soundbites. Markets close at 3:45 p.m. hence business news is usually shown at 4 p.m. and sports bulletins are also played at around 5 p.m. before the main news bulletin at 6 or 7.

Prime time usually begins at 7 p.m. and goes on till 10 p.m. These are hourly news bulletins with special names like DNA, Master Stroke, Aaj ki Baat, Aap Ki Adalat, etc. These contain hard news bulletins interspersed with discussions and graphics on some key issues of discussion and debate. Some time a few prime time shows maybe in the form of chat shows or talk shows as well.

Late night shows begin at around 11 p.m. and are usually a recap of the main news bulletins. These bulletins are not very long but usually last for thirty minutes. Some times programmes related to entertainment and Page 3-type reports and shows are aired at around 11:30 p.m. Some example of these are 'Raat Baaki' and 'Night Out' on NDTV. After 12 midnight programmes related to telemarketing are aired overnight till 5 a.m. or unless there is Breaking News.

Programme Types:

Programmes can further be divided into types based on target audience- local news channels, regional news channels, national news channels and global or international news channels. Programming can thus vary from one type to another based on the basic news values- proximity, timeliness, etc.

Local news is that which caters to an audience around the city, district or Tehsil. Some examples of these news channels are ABC News, K-News, DD Bihar, Mahua News channel, etc. Here events and happenings around the city- accidents, product launches, promotional events, city festivals are reported in detail. News related to how the city residents are going to be affected are discussed in such channels.

Regional news channels relate to an audience in one region- northern, eastern, western or southern. JAIN TV or Vijay TV down south are good examples. Here news relates to a single district, state or even more than one state is covered. News usually is about more than one city definitely.

National news channels cater to a larger audience as it is broadcast far and wide in the entire country. Here a single news bulletin will first showcase news which matters to the entire nation, not just a single region, state or district. Hence a bulletin will first give priority to news of national importance, then one or more states, and lastly the bulletin will contain and 'en finale' story from the world of entertainment. Here a bulletin is divided such that it includes news from all genres- first politics or general interest, then business or sports and finally entertainment. 

Globally, a news channel caters to an international audience. Here programmes are shown based on what their local audience prefers and likes to watch, yet priority is given to a news item of global concern. For example, on an international news channel, Trump-Kim Jong Un meet will be headline first and PM-Jinping meet outcome will be next in line. Even in sports, FIFA World Cup will be aired first and a local cricket match result later. 

Next we will discuss various beats and what is the content of various specialized news beats on news channels.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

उत्तम प्रदेश

उत्तर प्रदेश की आबो - हवा अब शायद मुझे लगने लगी है।  यहाँ पर छह साल रहने के बाद अब एहसास हो रहा है कि शायद मैं उत्तर प्रदेशी की ही थी हमेशा से। बचपन में कभी जाना नहीं , कॉलेज में कभी समझा नहीं , ऑफिस में कभी पहचाना नहीं - अपने आपको !! चलते रहे कुछ यूं ही जब तक ज़ोर की ठोकर न खायी थी - जिसके बाद से मैं स्वयं को ही नहीं, अपने आसपास रहने वालों की फितरत को भी समझने लगी।  जिन अपनों को मैंने आधुनिकता की होड़ में गँवा दिया था , शायद अब उनके पास आने लगी थी।  अब मैं खुद से थोड़ी दूर थी लेकिन दूसरों के कुछ और ज़्यादा क़रीब। रिश्तों में चड़मड़ाहट अभी भी थी लेकिन शरीर में एक नयी ऊर्जा जैसे माँ की कोख में नौ महीने बच्चा सिर्फ एक रूप ले रहा होता है , रिश्ते तो ज़मीन पर आने के बाद बनते हैं।

उत्तर प्रदेश से एक अजीब सा रिश्ता था।  यहाँ जंगलों की सी जंगलियत, मासूमों की सी मासूमियत, दलालों की सी सौदेबाज़ी और बुद्धिजीवियों की सी सौम्यता - सभी कुछ मौजूद था एक ही जगह। कहीं पर अंग्रेज़ियत इतनी कि अंग्रेज़ भी शर्मा जाएँ, कहीं पर हिंदी इतनी भी नहीं कि बुंदेली हिंदी का शब्द भी समझ पाएं।  तभी लगा कि क्यों मायावतीजी कभी-कभी इसके विभाजन की बात करती हैं।

उत्तर प्रदेशियों के साथ बिताते हुए पल लेती हूँ अलविदा।  

Monday, September 14, 2015

Is it going to be the saffron flag all the way?

Bihar elections may just be yet another clean sweep for NDA

Amit Shah announced the seat-sharing plan for NDA in the upcoming Bihar polls (BJP: 160; Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party: 40; Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party: 23; and Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular):  20) but will the tide be in their favour?

This election seems like a win-win for BJP-led NDA despite the Janata coalition having made a good start earlier this year. While the grand alliance of six parties was made to keep the BJP from winning Bihar their vision now seems jittery especially as Owaisi’s MIM pitches in brandishing the Muslim card. While Owaisi may not do much for his own party his appearance at these elections may well fall in favour of the BJP dividing the Janata coalition vote-bank on communal lines.

Moreover Narendra Modi’s announcement of the Bihar package and Amit Shah’s do-or-die spirit for the Bihar polls may turn the tide in their favour. This will also be a litmus test for Congress’ young scion Rahul Gandhi whose refueled energy will be seen at these elections. Amidst such forces it seems unlikely that the Janata alliance will survive given the indomitable temperament of two of its potent leaders- Nitish Kumar (JD-U) and Lalu Yadav (RJD).

Bihar has for long had an anti-establishment image with the state often being projected as having indiscipline and anarchy. This is a strong ‘media image’ in the minds of the people of the country. In this context Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had written in response to a letter from Union finance minister Arun Jaitley when he made a statement that It was a matter of great concern for a backward state like Bihar that on the basis of the formula used by the 14th FC for devolution of funds among the states, the share of funds for Bihar had witnessed a reduction from 10.9% to 9.665%.

It is for this reason that there was much brouhaha about Bihar being a Bimaru state where Modi addressed his rally earlier on saying he will ensure Bihar is out of this category if BJP is voted to power in the state. Bimaru was an acronym coined by the demographer Ashish Bose for Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh (UP), states considered to be ‘backward’ in India’s journey for growth and development.

As BJP continues to clamour for power in the state by trying to win the minority vote and staying ahead in the caste-driven politics, its ally Lok Janashakti Party seems to be a popular face among the Paswan community. But the main question is whether caste will be a factor or not. As we saw in the last national election that even in Uttar Pradesh caste which was considered to be an important factor in elections took a back seat. The main issue that remained dominant through the elections was development.

This time around as different parties have their stakes, NCP, Left and Samajwadi Party going all the way alone for 243 seats of the assembly the main tussle seems to be between the Lalu-Nitish merger and the BJP-led NDA. We have to wait and watch the post-poll alliances now that pre-poll alliances have fallen into place.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

हिंदी दिवस

हिंदी मेरी मातृभाषा
और मेरी शान है
हिंदी मेरी जागती आशा
और मेरी पहचान है

हिंदी है संस्कृति
और मेरा मान है
यही मेरी प्रकृति
और मेरा अभिमान है

हिंदी है अभिलाषा
और मेरी जी - जान है
यही मेरी लज्जा - लिहाज़
और मेरा प्रतिमान है

आओ हिंदी बोलें आओ
प्रेम की अलख जगाओ
एक दूजे से वैर हटाओ
जाओ जाओ अंग्रेज़ों जाओ !!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Romancing Facebook

Happy faces
Sad faces
Inquisitive faces
Crazy faces

Faceless Facebook!

Talking to 'friends'
Friends who are strangers
Sharing photographs
Images and graphs

Faceless Facebook!

Stories shared
Quotes passed
Philosophies made
Poets are made

Faceless Facebook!

'Likes' and 'Unlikes'
'Shares' and 'tags'
All and sundry
Come and go by

Faceless Facebook!

Sunday, November 30, 2014


अर्धांगिनी बनी हूँ जीवन की
संगिनी एक पल किस्मत ही की
पंथी मिले बहुतेरे रास्ते में
जीवन जैसा न कोय

अर्धांगिनी बनी हूँ जीवन की

जब रुलाये जब हंसाए
जब दौड़वाये जब सुलवाये
सब कर्त्तव्य संग-संग निभाये
राही नहीं है याद कोय

अर्धांगिनी बनी हूँ जीवन की

पंथ कौन या रीत है कौन
जो मिले अपनाये सबको
समय बीते न पता चले
किससे लागे जिया मोये

अर्धांगिनी बनी हूँ जीवन की

समर्पण है पूरा जिससे वो
जीवन साथ देता है अथाह
सब निकट हैं दूर भी सब
एक जीवन नहीं खोता मोये

अर्धांगिनी बनी हूँ जीवन की