"Arnabed", in the fictitious Dictionary of India's Television Watchers, is defined as "a verb which typifies the act of being bowled over, of being pulverized, of being repulsed, of having a strong love for, of having a strong aversion to, of having a strong reaction to".
Have you been "Arnabed by Goswami"? Share your experience in the Equitymaster Club!
And so, indeed, I was "Arnabed" by Goswami.
In my pocket I carry a Reminder Card on which I jot down the things I need to do -and the Honest Truths I need to write.
Watching the News Hour show a few nights ago in the company of my father and - experiencing all the feelings used in the fictitious Dictionary of Indian Television Watchers - I jotted down the theme for a future Honest Truth: "Arnabed by Goswami".
But not all such jottings get converted to an Honest Truth.
This one did - by some divine intervention.
For those who remember the Quantum Stock Market Yearbook which - for the first time in the history of the Indian capital markets - brought information on listed financial companies in an easy-to-read format into the hands of individual investors, there is now a HelpYourNGO Yearbook.
The HelpYourNGO Yearbook allows individuals to get information on NGOs and helps them decide which NGO they wish to donate some of their money to. (Buy a copy now)
While carrying copies of the Yearbook to a newspaper vendor, I bumped into an acquaintance who was a member of the Rotary Club. On seeing the HelpYourNGO Yearbook, he asked if we had covered the Rotary NGO. My "no, we have not" led to a "come and see the work we do" and that led to me ending up as a guest at the Rotary Club meeting.
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The guest speaker of the meeting I attended was Arnab Goswami.
The noting in the Reminder Card would now make it to an Honest Truth.
No underhand deliveries
The meeting, like all Rotary events, was organized and structured.
I observed that Arnab Goswami, sitting in the chair reserved for guests, was a few feet away from a microphone. But he was silent.
For 15 painful minutes, the microphone must have been yearning to hear his voice - as much as Arnab Goswami must have been yearning to cure it of its lonely silence.
And then the onslaught began.
The role of media, he boomed, is to act as an agent of social change.
Not to have drinks and discuss private deals with their subjects and then to instruct their junior staff to bowl underhand deliveries.
At The News Hour office in Lower Parel, issues that need to get highlighted are discussed and researched. Fearlessly.
No one has sued them - the information and the news they carry is based on facts.
Imagine, urged Arnab, a world without The News Hour: Suresh Kalmadi would be heading the Indian Olympic Committee and India's bid for the Olympics - and still standing for elections on a Congress ticket. Ashok Chauhan would still be Chief Minister of Maharashtra - sadly he did get a ticket.
The BJP's willingness to take in this character, Pramod Muthalik - whose only claim to fame was that he beat up young girls in a bar with 40 hoodlums - was relentlessly pursued by the media till the BJP relented. The interview with Sabir Ali, a rich man wooed by all political parties - and his matter-of-fact statement that all politicians are opportunistic.
The interview with the three young girls from Jharkhand after their triumphant return from a soccer match in Europe.
The interview with Rahul Gandhi - no, there was no one in the room with cue cards (my thoughts: maybe there should have been!); the invitation to Narendra Modi for a similar interview.
The observation that Amethi - regardless of the outcome - is a great election to watch as it shows the battle for the future of India. All young candidates; representing the dynastic rule, the other mainstream political party, the newly formed AAP; the known and the unknown.
The role of The News Hour is to fight for issues - not to back a political party.
And media must support issues, not report them.
This is the new-style age of aggressive - and assertive - journalism.
And, yes, there cannot be a mute button on the show to drown out the frequent yelling and cross-talking - that would be politically incorrect.
And, yes, there has to be this constant butting in and cutting off of the speaker. "Have you ever heard a politician stop talking?" asked Arnab. (Politicians are probably saying the same thing: Have you ever heard Arnab stop talking?"☺)
The microphone roared.
The audience was spellbound.
The politicians and other gangsters who make it to The News Hour Show for all the wrong reasons have an unorthodox bowler to face.
"We do not bowl underhand deliveries" said Arnab, "I bowl bouncers and googlies".
And, in true Arnab style, the match went into overtime: there was more microphone and too few minutes!
The Chair of the Rotary function told the audience that we will extend the event by "another 15 to 20 minutes". The audience, including me, could have stayed on for hours.
The men must have been wondering (maybe shuddering?) if the people they know - and probably work with - will, one day, get a phone call: "Hi, this is Arnab. Please can I invite you to appear on my show?"
And at the end of the show, the women went up to be photographed in another bout of "selfies" that will flood the social media networks.
Like all of us there: they were "Arnabed" by Goswami.
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