Category Archives: talent

Looks, adustment & NO skills -the need of the hour

These are times for thinking why is it that when ur a true professional- who do their work efficiently, competitively & doesn’t play politics pose a problem to the individual?

I’m NOT exaggerating. If we assess the journalism field in India there was a time that ONLY writing skills, tenacity of an individual to survive & network of contacts for stories qualified for being competitive in this field.

One’s articles reflected whether the reporter has done resaerch, got credible talking heads that corroborate & confirm the news. We took everything in our stride –nasty seniors, NO by-line for months on…tough stories, little cooperation from colleagues & seniors. But there was true worth of one’s reporting skills & intelligence.

More so, there was NO emphasis on dressing down. It was considered inappropriate to expose or clothes that showed one’s skin. Especially for interviews of top CEOs, politicians & police officers, it was unwise to wear any of the above listed.

I was always too chilled & rather dressed like an extension of my college days. Thanks to my baba’s (father’s) pressure that i shouldn’t spend much time looking in the mirror-which I loved in my teen days. In college I rebelled, Kept short hair, lived in jeans & t-shirts, shirts which were mainly checks. I extended this attire in a more sophisticated manner to work.

Times have changed they say. Few years ago in a tv channel I was told pants-shirts or good tops and short hair made look boyish & put off many seniors coz they wanted to see me as a ‘lady!’ The complaint that wasn’t voiced was, I deprived the men of visual pleasure.

Today, media has undergone a change. The emphasis is only on visual pleasure. The less u dress the more one appeals to one’s bosses, which entials more success will come one’s way. Today journalists are hired for their looks-this is NOT the criteria for tv journos only, even for print. Going by few HR heads, who need total image makeover, grooming consultancy themselves-told few women candidates they need to appear more ‘attractive. ‘

This is ludicrious. If a lady accomodates this much, she can go all the way, which i am sure the bosses will like, but isn’t it true an environment is being created to push the woman. The fact that a woman plays herself to the hilt is more than enough. Simply the news organisations want least talented, smart but NOT intelligent & definitely not those who have a spine to say NO. Least on priority is their qualification or journalistic skills.

Sadly, the young ones do nto realise they are being used as pawns. Organisations do NOT want to pay, its cheaper to hire youngsters. The qualifications, skills & experience of older journos is more than required today. However today’s culture is very corporate in news organisations. Sit in ur place, look busy, dial-a-quote & collate everything. Table top stories. No writing skills are needed. There is no need to belong to a particular city even if they have little or NO information of that city, the requirement is to put together stories. The dependence on google, is like its a bible of the gen x. The emphasis on contacts, people, is soon disappearing.

The seniors have demands- I can talk for myself – I want space & creative freedom. I will NOT do something for the sake of doing, especially if it goes agianst my ethics & values. I will also stand up & speak against a story/idea if I feel its NOT worth doing. Now this is NOT politically correct. But I am from a gen that NEVER believed in being politically correct-they were the minorities of our time-today political correctness & accomodating attitude is a given thing. Organisations will obviously opt for those who are of least trouble with giving lesser amounts of money & more visual pleasure!

Disappearing talent of Bombay

Come summer time and our childhood days were filled with people who we now realised have stopped frequenting our old areas of Mumbai.

Living in Girgaum has its own advantages besides being centrally located. We would get at our door step services ranging from entertainment, vessels, repairs name it!

Among the utility services, a particular from Gujarat would come with sparkling new steel vessels and porcelain crockery! They’d call to homes “yeh bhaandi (vessels) ye.” The neighbours would call them to their apartments and haggle till the last one rupee. I’d simply gaze into their shiny steel vessels to see my reflection!

The vessels were given in exchange of old clothes. Definitely not torn ones but those which were fairly old and decent. Sometimes I must admit that these sellers would come up with some unique ceramic crockery, which my mother would want to buy and my sister and I would go searching for some clothes which we wanted discarded!

Come Sundays and we all kids would plan our pocket money and play times around the timing of the bhelwalla who would serve us delicious sev puri and bhel. This particular bhaiyaji would call us by our names-how he knew I do not know. But the problem was my father. Invariably we’d have a 15 minute over drawn debate on why I wanted to eat that chat pata stuff. Only because he strongly believed that the bhelwalla perspired a lot and that is why the bhel he served was so tasty! Well this would be a weekly saga. But at the end I don’t know how we children always won. Don’t know when he stopped coming. The same would be reaction to the man who brought corn stuff, chan chor garam.

Among the first communities to disappear were the tribal women who came to repair the grinding stones in our old neighbourhoods. They would shout out “yeh taaki,” They sure were hot and dusky ladies, who wore nine-yard saris without cholis! As a curious kid I was fascinated wanting to strike a conversation with these women whom I thought were bold and sexy. This community specialised in the talent to level the grinding stones which needed to be cut specifically. It has been over two decades that I have stopped hearing their calls.

Summer time also meant time for us kids to share our space for playing with the ladies who dried and pound the papads and masalas. For days they would spread old saris, usually they were old nine-yard saris. We had to evade these drying ingredients, which included the deadly red chillies. We brats of course would throw the ball on the chillies and papads and stealthily flick some drying bits to chew on the raw ingredients. They’d warn us that time for their revenge was just round the corner as they’d pound the chillies and other ingredients threatening to throw it in our faces.

Among the real sharp memory reminders is the knife sharpener who would bring the cycled metal sharpener to the building. The process evokes loud and sharp noises which come close to the tile cutters in modern buildings today.

Among the last but my favourites are the dombari community of acrobats. The whole family would come and entertain the neighbourhood. The children would run through a circle of fire and juggle with a string and stick. The parents of these children would perform tougher tricks like walking on the rope, balancing a torch of fire on their forehead and jumping through a frame of knives. As I kid I craved to perform some of these acrobatic tricks, the rope was my ultimate fascination. The closest I came to was doing cartwheels with ease!

Bombay became Mumbai, but the old world charm has been lost in the name game.