Window Seat | Mrinal Chatterjee




In simple English ‘hyper’ means – unusually energetic. In common usage it means frantic response to any event or issue. Our media, especially the visual media, television is always hyper. BJP wins in Tripura and the visual media go on overdrive telling the nation how saffron is sweeping the country and probably will win all the states. Weeks later BJP loses Loksabha by poll in UP and Bihar and the same media goes into overdrive in telling the nation how cracks have developed and the party’s prospects in the next general elections look extremely bleak.

This tendency probably agrees with majority of us for as people we Indians are hyper by nature.  Our emotions take a wild swing instantly. We win a cricket match and think we have won the world. We lose one and think we have lost our national pride. We offer bouquet and throw brickbats to the same person at a very short interval. We vote not with reason but with emotion. We have a serious problem with rationality. We have more faith on myth than recorded history. We deify our political, social and religious leaders in no time. We also denigrate them in no time. Nothing else explains the spate of statue defiling and breaking incidents across the country.

Garbage on Television

I do not watch much television beyond sundry news channels. As I was in Kolkata and was idling in my hotel room in the evening I was watching Bengali television channels.

To my surprise, at least seven local channels were airing programmes which were grossly unscientific and based on magic remedies. Black magic, astrology, numerology, use of gems and stones were being promoted. Assorted Babas, Matas, Grahacharyas and Fakirs, attired as per their faith and custom were blatantly trotting their wares and services. So much so that there were some Babas who were offering ‘100% guarantee or complete refund of money’ on their services. Almost all of them were insisting that prospective customers contact their office and book an appointment with them.

This was happening in West Bengal, supposed to be a highly literate and progressive state. I was amazed and pained. This is the state which produced scientists like J.C. Bose and Satyen Bose.

City of Joy

I have told you about the absence of footpaths in Kolkata. In most part of the city, footpaths have been occupied by small shops and shanties with active connivance of the goons of ruling political party and police.  People wriggle between the shops selling hot pakodas on the footpath and speeding vehicles on the bus discussing the state of world affairs.

At the first sight one will love to hate this city. But it is not for nothing that Kolkata is called the city of joy. The city has an amazing sense of wresting joy from within pain, finding aesthetics from within squalor. Amidst the defaced and poster splattered walls, suddenly you find Street Art Festival and some amazing  paintings, which are fit to be preserved in the best of the museums of the world.

Needs of the Aged

The other morning I got a telephone call from an aged person who introduced himself as ‘one of your readers’. It turned out that he is a septuagenarian former bus owner in search of people with whom he can just talk to. His sons and daughters are well settled in life and live in different countries. He lives mostly alone. As he loves to converse, everyday morning he takes down phone numbers of the writers published on that day’s papers and talk to them.

I find many such persons like him – desperately in need of talking to somebody else..
Dr. Pradeep Mahapatra, a writer and former Head of Journalism Department of Berhampur University is writing a news letter in Odia on aged persons and their special needs.
As even nuclear families are disintegrating into atomic and even subatomic family connected only by phone and net – we need to have a close look at them. Many of them have needs beyong food, cloth and shelter. Many of them actually need people to communicate with them. I guess as society is advancing, this need to get connected is becoming more. Without this, man will no longer remain a social animal. He’ll turn either unsocial or supra social.

Tailpiece: Foreign

Groom’s Father: My son is in foreign country

Bride’s Father: Achha, which bank’s loan he defaulted?

English Class

Teacher: What’s the difference between ‘He cleans the plate’ and ‘the plate is cleaned by him’

Student: In the first sentence he is not married. But in the second sentence he is married.

(Courtesy: Social Media)


The author is a journalist turned media academician. He lives in Central Odisha town Dhenkanal. He also writes fiction.  English translation of his Odia novel Yamraj Number 5003 has just been published by Rupa). [email protected]