A few of them will regale you with stories for a fee and give you what you desire to see, hear or read. Others just want to accompany you on sensual trips of exploration all over the world. They have the power to reduce every upheaval or turmoil to exclamations, sighs and groans. "Read between the lines," they say and you do that with pleasure. Your relationship with them is non-committal and without the baggage of heart-wrenching emotions. Give and take are the only two fundamentals in the relationship that I speak of. Which reminds me... do you even know who or what I am talking about?
"Prostitutes?" you venture and I have no alternative but to silence you with a mere glance. Still don't understand?
"I'm not talking of prostitutes. I'm talking of the press."
I've been writing for years now, just as I've been consuming my daily dose of newspapers even before I could actually read. Even from my early childhood I looked with disbelief at the papers and magazines, many of which were primed to evoke shock and surprise. For instance, Khushwant Singh's Illustrated Weekly was always so buoyant and open about sensuality. It was alien to me -- small towns do not have socialites in low-cut blouses and girls don't walk around with cigarettes dangling from their lips. The things that were shocking then are mundane now, but the media is still working hard to keep sensations running high.
"I think both the general and the press have managed to build a molehill on a mountain top and will soon be talking about the fantastic view from up there..."
I am not surprised at the negative reaction of a certain TV Channel to General V K Singh's remark in Djibouti: "Actually speaking, the operation (evacuation) in Yemen is less exciting than going to the Pakistani embassy." When faced with media criticism after this statement, the miffed General pouted, "Friends what do you expect from presstitutes?"
It's a simple enough conclusion of a former army man who now is a poltitute... Oops! I mean a politician, of course. The incident made me wonder if it was really a case of boredom -- a general blabbering about saving people and the media yawning until the word 'presstitutes' was uttered, upon which all hell broke loose. I mean, is the press working overtime trying to invoke the gods of disbelief and shock? Or is it simply the case of a general rushing towards imagined windmills as Don Quixote did?
Let me tell you a story here. Well, the often circulated story has the usual King and Queen... but because we are a nation where a minister's lost buffaloes have the entire police force out on a combing mission, imagine the excitement when a general's ass is a cause for concern. The general in my story sent his ass to Yemen to take part in a race. The ass won and the headline was: "The general's ass won!" This upsets the general so much that he took his ass out to a press meet and introduced him there. The next day's headline was: "The general exposes his ass in public." The general is rightfully shocked and immediately goes to a nearby forest and leaves the animal there. Well, the next headline was: "The general announces that his ass is free and wild."
I think both the general and the press have managed to build a molehill on a mountain top and will soon be talking about the fantastic view from up there... and it is the aam aadmi of the nation who will be like the raindrops of a Jarod Kintz quote, where they "gathered on the windshield like prostitutes at a political convention," and the press voted like they always vote -- with their windshield wiper.
It is my belief that both poltitutes and presstitute are forever, in the words of Sebastian Horsley, "inventing characters and conversations which do not exist" without being bothered if this was really the way for a grown person to behave.
*Every post by Arvind Passey reflects The Real Fiction of our lives.