NewsCracked! :)

newscracked

Ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to the BNN ICN 9 o’ clock news! Today’s breaking stories:

1. Big Sobb Season 2 ends in dramatic fanfare!

2. Akshay Kumar wears pants inside-out!

3. Madhuri Dixit misses a gray hair while combing!

4. IT company employee sneezes!

5. Aviation minister is high. Literally.

… and other important, earth-shattering, life-changing news stories! Only on BNN ICN. Stay tuned!

For God’s sake, give me a break! Some punk winning a reality TV show is prime time news? To be aired again and again? To be repeated in nauseating detail? To call up that punk’s uncle over the phone and talk to him on National TV?

I thought these news channels were a bit sane. Apparently not. Absurdly enough, this piece of ridiculous ‘news’ was aired right after a brilliant coverage of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit. Talk about losing the plot. 😀

I should start my own news channel, and air only news that I think is important or worth airing. I wonder how long that channel will take to become famous. I’d call it ‘NewsCracked’… 😀

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Heads Up: The True Story Of Why I Quit Journalism

Finally, I am strong enough to reveal the truth. This incident took place in the offices of a leading newspaper in the city. None of what follows in fiction. Unfortunately, and gruesomely, every word of it is true. This is definitely not for the faint of heart.

I am a little apprehensive about sharing this incident with you all, but then, it’s about time I set the record straight and confess to everyone why I left journalism.

I’ll try to report exactly what happened, objectively and without any emotional bias. Oh, who am I fooling? I’m going to tell you exactly what happened. Trust me, this is scary…

It was 2 in the morning, and the office was deserted. I was on the night shift, and had just finished a satisfying smoke and was walking up the old staircase to my workplace. There wasn’t a soul anywhere in the huge office. The only sounds I could hear were those of the air conditioner clanking up a notch and the occasional roar of a speed devil out on the road. There was a chill in the night air, and I hugged myself for warmth and entered the office. If I stood still and strained my ear, I could hear the footfalls of the people walking on the pavement outside. I glanced at my watch and decided it was high time I packed up and went home for the day. Being on the Internet/technology desk of a newspaper isn’t a comfort. More than anything, it’s a hindrance. Unfortunately for me, this newspaper was widely read, and so I had to stay back till two in the morning to give those insomniac readers the latest update of who killed whom in the world.

I returned to my desk and started to close all my open windows in the computer, switching off the AC and the muted television, where the cricket match of the day was being shown again. As I heard the satiating jingle of windows being turned off, I switched the monitor off and picked up my bag, and stopped…

My bag seemed exceptionally heavy. I didn’t remember bringing any books to work and I distinctly remember the bag being very light. Now, I noticed that there was a slight bulge in the bag’s midsection also. My bag is one of those horizontal zipper bags that require to be slung across the shoulder. These kinds of bags are great for carrying books, but are woefully inadequate for anything slightly bulky like water bottles and tiffin boxes. They stand out like a pregnant belly. There was a similar bulge in my bag. I was confused.

I looked down at the bag again and placed it back on the desk. Frowning, I opened the zipper and looked inside. I almost screamed out…

There, lying in a pool of dirty papers was the most hideous looking head I’ve ever seen. And the fact that there was a HEAD in my bag almost made me faint. It looked up at me with this horrendous expression fixed on it. I couldn’t speak, my mouth was dry. I wiped the sweat off my head and looked around to see if there was anyone who was watching me. There wasn’t a soul…

Now, I’m a pretty rational guy, and my mind quickly switched on the rationale. I started thinking of how this head could’ve gotten in my bag. Obviously, someone must’ve placed it there when I wasn’t at my desk. Now, there were only two instances when I was out of my desk – once for dinner and once for my habitual two a.m. smoke. I could rule out dinner, because the office was packed more tightly than a circus at eight.

So, obviously, someone had put the head in my bag at two, when I was out smoking. This made me feel a bit frightened, as I was sure that there wasn’t anyone in the office!

Or was there…?

I felt goose bumps rising on my arms all over. A streak ran down my spine. “Relax,” I told myself. “There’s no such thing as ghosts!”

“Yeah,” replied my brain. “But there’re serial killers and murderer and psychos!”

Now, I felt really scared. I am a well-built guy, and I could hold my own against anyone looking for a fight, but the thought of defending myself against a crazed lunatic who’d just dumped a frikking head in my bag?
Well, I frankly preferred the quiet life…

The phone rang on my desk, suddenly and shrilly, making me jump put of my skin. The sound of the phone seemed unnaturally loud in the quiet office, and scarier with a head in my bag! I approached it gingerly and picked it up. I could hear my heart beating against my chest.

“H-hello…?” I said.

“Nikhil?” came a gruff voice that I couldn’t recognize.

“Yeah, who’s this?” I demanded, slightly strung out, hoping that the person, whoever it was, wouldn’t notice the tension in it.

“Are you alone?” the voice asked.

“What?” I asked, now scared. “Who is this?”

“Do you have the head?” the voice said.

I was terrified, and a bit angry. “Who the hell is this? And what’s the meaning of this sick joke? Whose head is this?”

“Joke? Mr. Nikhil, I assure you this is no joke. Didn’t you find my note?”

“What note? Who the fuck are you?

“You don’t recognize me, do you?” he asked.

“Obviously not, asshole!”

“Check the note next to your computer. That head is mine,” he said, and the line got cut.

I held the dead receiver next to my ear for a long time with sweat running down my face, and finally put it down. I looked next to my computer and found a yellow post-it stuck on the side of the monitor. Why hadn’t I noticed it earlier? Curiously, I pulled it out and read what was written on it. And I almost fell down…

I looked at the head in my bag and back to the note I was holding in my hand, and vowed never to do night shifts again. I couldn’t take it anymore.

“Nikhil,” the note began, “please find the head of cabbage in your bag. Keep it in a fridge and bring it tomorrow. I don’t have a fridge at home. How was dinner? Thanks. Ranjit.”

That asshole colleague of mine didn’t even tell me! Imagine finding a head of cabbage in your bag when you least expect it! I am freaked out…

I resigned the next day. I prefer the quiet life. Without heads.

The PR Lingo! :)

Being a public relations man has exposed me to a lot of interesting words and phrases, things that I’d never heard before, and things that caused me considerable distress (being a language purist) when I first heard them. Some of these are:

1. “Sit on this” – This is used while referring to an issue that has to be discussed or a crisis that has to be handled or a presentation that has to be finished or a document that has to be written and just about anything that has to be done. “Don’t worry, I’ll sit on this and finish it!”sounds more like a chicken-murderer plotting his move rather than a serious professional, but I’ll have to adapt! 😀

2. “Revert back” – A grammatically incorrect connotation of the more popular “Reply back,” this phrase generally refers to the process of replying to emails, text messages and phone calls that have to be returned. When I first heard the sentence, “Nikhil, the client has sent us a time for the meeting. Please revert back to him,” I had a sly smile all day long! 😀

3. “Collateral” – Completely and absurdly contrary to all the accepted definitions of the word, “Collateral” in PR lingo refers to any and all documents that the PR firm gives to its clients, including the clients’ profile and companies’ background. This is quite a strange term to use, because every time I hear, “Nikhil, have you seen the collateral?” my mind thinks of the movie! 😀

4. “Dip Stick” – Ahem! :mrgreen:
All perversions aside, the phrase “Dip Stick” refers to a survey conducted among journalists, to gauge their understanding of current affairs (Yeah, right!). This happens whenever a brand new company is formed and we call up journalists and ask them, “There’s this new company called so-and-so. Have you heard of it?” More often than not, the journalists hang up the phone! 😀

5. “Boiler Plate” – I first heard this phrase a few days back, when someone asked me, “Nikhil, where’s the boiler plate on this press release??” I looked back blankly and said, “Uh, what the fuck are you talking about?” Apparently, this refers to a brief note about the client to be included on all press releases! Weird, indeed! Something of a pot-boiler to spice up a bland release? 😀

So, there it is. There’re a few other weird instances where the English language has been massacred, but I think I’ve sinned enough for one day! 😀

Image Courtesy: Cartoonstock.com

The Day I Almost Died…

Well, not exactly. But I came dangerously close to losing my life. 😀

I live a dangerous life. My job takes me all the remote corners of the city and more often that not, I end up rubbing the wrong people the wrong way. No, I don’t give back rubs for a living, but something close. Whenever I fail to make my clients look like God’s gifts to mankind, and end up looking bad in public, they scream bloody murder and run behind me with guns, knifes and swords, baying for my blood. A few days ago, I almost regretted being in this business. 😀

Everyone would probably agree that the word “jobs” does not mean “people”, literally speaking. This schism between the two words is enhanced if they are used in a sentence like this: “We’re offering jobs…” and “We’re offering people…” 😀

Journalism is losing its charm in this country and when this happens, the quality of people entering the field drastically comes down. Exceptions aside, all the new kids in journalism are very green, with loads to learn, starting with the difference in meaning between the two sentences above! When a multinational company’s CEO is quoted as saying, “We’re offering people…” I tend to get a bit nervous and fear for my life. The moment I read this quote in the paper that morning, I gulped and crouched under the table, and sure enough, ten minutes later, the hits started pouring in. 😀

“Whom do we offer PEOPLE to??”
“We offer PEOPLE??”
“What sort of a joke is this??”
“Where do you stay??”

and so on…

The CEO wanted me killed. The mafia had a gleam in their eye, wondering about who it was that encroached on their human trafficking business. The MD of the company wanted me killed. My friend, whom I was doing a favor by promising him a quote by the CEO of the company (it was technically his client) wanted me killed, fired and then shot. The bloody journalist was “not reachable” on his phone. 😀

This is the last time, I thought to myself, that I help out people outside my clientèle. I’ll stick to my own circle and face the music on my own, with the number of people baying for my blood reduced by half, well under the panic limit. 😀

Blog Talk, Again! :)

Deja vu, all over again…

Bangalore Mirror picked up my blog again and featured it on Blog Talk – A Geeky Peek Into Bangalore! 😀

I got to thank Balu for this honor. He called my post a ‘kidilan’ one. I didn’t know what this meant. He said it’s a Malayalam word. I took the help of a few Mallus in office to find out what it meant. It meant “awesome” it seems. I am so humbled. 😀

I am getting so far behind in my memes. Poonam had tagged me for an expansionist meme, which is still in my drafts, waiting to be published. I shall do it soon, hopefully.

Something interesting happened yesterday, which is probably worth mentioning here. I was dropping off a couple of journalists in the cab, back to their office and we were stuck in heavy traffic. We were near the old airport and there’s a small circular slab of stone which passes off as a podium for a traffic cop to control the burgeoning traffic. There, in the middle of the day, in front of all, lay sprawled a drunkard, passed out on the slab of stone, his legs and hands dangling below him in a grotesque symbol of the city’s low life. But what was more interesting than this scene from Dante’s Inferno was the cute little puppy that was napping peacefully beside him! 😀

Objectum Sexuality!

I was browsing through the morning papers today, when Manju “Mango” Panicker pointed out something interesting to me. Please tell me why we live in such a fucked up world! Have a look at this! 😀

The first thing that went through my head when I read this was, “Ok, this is a joke, right?” Then, as I re-read it, I realized that it’s not a joke!  The woman is actually married to the goddamn Berlin Wall!!! 😀

So, when Regan brought down the wall, he killed her husband! Her husband divided a country! Her kids are probably going to be cute, little bricks! I wonder how they consummate their relationship every night! I started thinking if I ever had this sort of disease. I once found a pair of sneakers “sexy” and bought them. I once found a sexy shirt. Thats about it! But I have not married anyone or anything to date! This woman finds “slim things with horizontal lines” very sexy apparently! I have a striped shirt, maybe she’ll be interested!! 😀

Either that woman was too drunk to realize that she was marrying a frikking wall, or she really really needs a hard hit on the head! God save the world!! How come idiots like these get publicity, when decent, hard-working people like me (ahem!) don’t even get mentioned in the papers? Why is the world so twisted!? 😀

The newspaper that carried this article was Mid Day, a stupid tabloid that is hailed as the “future of reporting”! Yeah, right! Objectum Sexuality, it seems! Oh God! And I thought I was mad! 😀

Beers, Laughs and WordPress Themes!

Thursday night was a blur – it was May 1st, Labor Day, and I was working hard in office till almost 8 pm. If that wasn’t ironic enough, then try this: I had to attend a press conference the next day and I was supposed to go in complete formal wear and be on my best behavior – so, I got drunk that night, celebrating Labor Day and went to the press conference in an unpressed shirt and carrying a mega-hangover! I know a lot of people will read this and judge me and call me an irresponsible jerk who doesn’t deserve to be employed, but in my defense, I didn’t plan on getting drunk and I don’t have formal wear! I wonder if this argument will hold up in court or if I’ll be thrown in a mental asylum to be evaluated. Hmm… 😀

Anyway, that night, I met Rags and Panday – two of my closest friends – and we went to this place called Tavern. The place was quite empty when we reached at 8.30 pm and by the time we ordered the second pitcher of cold draught, the place was overflowing and the music drowned our voices. We laughed and laughed and remembered all the strange things that have happened to each one of us, and wished time could stand still…

By the end of the night, this is how we looked:

Rags looked quite sane because all she drank was two mugs, constantly being paranoid about her health cehck-up as part of the Australian Visa thingy! And Panday is a regular fish-tank when it comes to booze, and we both gulped down most of it. I felt so buzzed that I decided to change my wordpress theme!!!

Ok, here’s where logic is thrown out of the window. I was high on alcohol and in that dazed state of mind, I realized that my wordpress theme looked gay-ish. 😀

I’d better change it!! So, here’s the effect! A new theme that’s here to stay, hopefully as long as my old, faithful Light did.

Akhil and Chucks, if you both are reading this, then we missed you both big time!

Cheers!!! 😀