Tuesday, October 29, 2013

She has arrears in journalism, but bags a Pulitzer prize

A student of Asian College of Journalism  has won a Pulitzer prize even before completing her graduation. 
Vasudha Venugopal (name not changed on request), a first and final-year journalism student at Asian College of Journalism has been awarded a Pulitzer  by the Columbia University, eight months before she graduates, for her outstanding article in The Hindu. 
Notes from the editor: While our correspondent at Dubakar Daily was writing this article, we received information that Ms. Vasudha has actually graduated and is currently working at The Hindu. We chose to ignore this fact and go ahead with the awe-inspiring headline that you read now.
Vasudha worked on the award winning article for only 15 minutes and carried out most of her work in her home in Chennai or at the beautiful premises of Asian College of journalism. While we are not sure of the exact location, we are certain that our facts about the facts mentioned in the above sentences are certainly uncertain. 
“I never liked to do journalism. I had always wanted to be a story letter  like J.K. Rowling, but my father said only a degree in journalism would ensure a good career. There is a thin line between fact and fiction and most of the words are lost in translation," she said, bemusing the reporters of Dubakur Daily who are not aware of many clich├ęd sentences or metaphors for that matter. 
When she failed in two subjects in journalism, Vasudha went back to story telling. “Since ACJ did not have facilities for high-quality research, I approached other institutions. I spent hours reading about advancements in story telling and the work of wonderful authors such as Stephenie Meyer of the Twilight fame,” she said.
“I cleared the arrears but failed in more subjects in subsequent years. Clearing journalism exams needed preparation with frequently-asked questions. I never had the time or inclination to do that because of my interest and involvement in story telling,” she said.
Notes from the editor: While we may or may not have established that ACJ offers a 1 year program, we thought of questioning the veracity of the quote from the Pulitzer winner. But she is a Pulitzer winner and one cannot simply question people who have achieved so much in such a bizarre manner
Encouraged by her professors at the University, Vasudha started writing articles for The Hindu. “My greatest worry was losing out on attendance in college. Every morning, I would sit and calculate the number of days of attendance I needed to get the mandatory 75 per cent attendance,” she said. Vasudha published her first article in The Hindu in 2012 [citation needed], and her subsequent eight articles were also published by The Hindu.
After reading her article about the reincarnation of Neils Bohr, Dr. Rohit Gunturi, Columbia University immediately honored her with the Pulitzer prize.
“Last month, I got a call requesting me to accept the Pulitzer. I was like totally like so excited and didn't know what to do. I am still like totally excited about this," she said, putting on a fake American accent.  
“I have a job offer from Hindu. But making up stories is my first love. I cannot imagine doing anything else.”
Ms. Vasudha was not available for comment. 
Notes from the editor: This news articles leaves you with so many thought provoking questions. Was Vasudha an employee of The Hindu or was she a student? If Vasudha wasn't available for comment, whose quotes are present in the article? We will never know. For the sheer quality of the article, I choose to publish this without any apprehensions. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Indian English is our English

Dear Readers,

Recently, the leading newspaper in this side of the Cooum river, Dubakur Daily, conducted a competition to promote the prominence of Indian English through mainstream media. The competition was to reproduce cult movie quotes in Indian English and the top 10 altered quotes were to be published in the paper. One would expect such competitions to be a hit among the masses but it was not to be so. This was because of the increasing number of elitists in the society who ridicule the common people who speak Indian English. These are the people who spell 'centre' as 'center' in the phrase 'centre of attraction'. These are the people who cringe when someone makes an innocent grammatical mistake. What is wrong in saying 'cannot able to'? The meaning of the sentence is remotely affected due to such trivial mistakes, yet these elitists mock the patriotic Indian citizens who want to use our own form of English. Why can't we carve an identity for ourselves with our own form of English? Take a look at the top 8 entries for the competition mentioned above and decide for yourself. These cult movie dialogues have just become so much better with our own Indian English.

8. Usual Suspects

Original dialogue: The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. And like that..he's gone!
Indian edition:

7. Appolo 13

Original dialogue: Houston, we have a problem. 
Indian edition:

6. A Few Good Men

6*. Godfather

4. Terminator

Original Dialogue: I'll be back.
Better version: 

3. Any James Bond movie.

2. Taxi Driver

Original dialogue: You talkin' to me?
Best ever version:

1. Scarface

Original dialogue: Say hello to my little friend.
Better version:

Didn't I tell you these cult dialogues sound even better in Indian English? You are the best judge. I hope you can able to understand and I hope you won't mock these people like anything. Indian English is here to stay and prosper..with or without your help. 

Thanks and Regards,

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chepauk - Resurrecting Test Cricket

Chennai's Chepauk stadium has invented a brilliant way to keep Test Cricket from being engulfed by the IPL. In fact, this invention will resurrect Test Cricket and make it more interesting than any T20 league in the world. Most of you who visited Chepauk might be familiar with this blue screen surrounded by Zuari Cement in the picture. It is called the 'message board' or the 'interactive board', which asks you to send your messages to 56006666 so that the knowledgeable Chennai crowd can see your wonderful thoughts on the screen and think about agreeing to disagree with your comments. And here is the highlight: all the thrill and exciting experience at a meager cost of Rs.3 per message.
Apologies for the quality of the photo. It doesn't reflect upon the quality of messages on the board.

Do not underestimate the power of this blue screen. It plays Jedi mind tricks on everyone, including the players. During the second day's third session, when Sachin Tendulkar was at his best, a message in big bold white letters from a relatively unknown person called Shiva [name changed on request] flashed on the screen. "Who wants to see Sachin bat tomorrow, pls raise ur hands," it read. Australian captain Michael Clarke, who desperately wanted Sachin out, momentarily lost control of his own actions and raised his hand, thus receiving a huge round of applause from the crowd. While few knowledgeable uncles argued that Clarke raised his hands to itch his armpit, most of them were convinced that Michael Clarke was more than pleased with Sachin batting continuously for the rest of the match. The chain of actions and alleged assumptions were triggered by a simple combination of ASCII characters with absolute disregard for spelling or punctuation on the blue screen of infinite power, which will, believe it or not, revolutionize Test Cricket.

You might argue that this conclusion might be far-fetched but here is another incident that might change your stance, unless you are Ravindra Jadeja. A 44 year old uncle from the convoluted streets of Mylapore had accompanied his son to watch the match. He made his son walk several times from the top of the D-Upper Tier stand to get him snacks and cool drinks. This is however irrelevant to the point I am trying to convey. He was reading out every message from the blue board aloud to his son and often clarified what the message was demanding us to do. He obliged to the infinite number of pointless Mexican waves, whistled when the message asked us to whistle for Dhoni and shouted when it read, "Dhoni in Viswaroopam idhu from Kamal fanzz." In fact he was so engrossed with what an occult group called 'Powerstar fan club' said to us that he missed Ravindra Jadeja posing for the cameras after magnanimously leaving the ball to hit the stumps. Like all Chennai people, he made a generic comment about how Jadeja's shot selection was poor and he went back to reading messages from 'Ilayathalapathy rocksss.' The blue screen had worked its way through the psyche of an intelligent Indian cricket supporter from Chennai, which is not easy by any means. 

During Ravichandran Ashwin's brief innings, he was asked to raise his bat for the whistles. Of course he obliged. There was a message war of sorts during the lunch break, in which fans of various Kollywood actors were pitted against each other by the 'message board'. Ilayathalapathy fans were countered by Thala fans while Rajni fans got unanimous cheers, thus inspiring Kamal fans to raise to the occasion. The stadium was loud and enthusiastic despite having no men in white clothes playing with a red ball in the middle. And there were so many other countless incidents where the 'message board' was the center of attention. This was not about Test Cricket any more. 

The blue board is here to stay for a long time. If Test Cricket wants to stay alive, it has no choice but play along with the blue board. The voice of a single individual holds the entire stadium in a trance, briefly. By the time you search for the individual responsible for this heinous act, another individual with an even more complicated agenda voices out his opinion. It is an army of individuals working separately but united by the most accomplished tool in the world - The Blue Board. I will paraphrase a line from George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four to fathom the effect The Blue Board has on everyone:

"Always the white words watching you and the imaginary voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, working or eating, shouting or whistling, in the bathroom or in the chairs -- no escape. Nothing is your own except the few cubic centimeters inside your skull." 

The Blue Board is the future of cricket, at least in this part of the world. 

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