Reporting from India?

December 23, 2011

December 23, 2011

By Merlin Flower

Right, so you want to report from India? And, you want to do some great stories. A short stay, Sir? Then you have some very easy pickings to arrive at. Yes, coming to that.

First, don’t go to any village in the country. It’s not worth it, the travel, dust and lack of comfort. Instead, land in any of the cities. Come on, with your better currency, you can stay in any of the five star hotels.

Then what? Do a story on one of the families living in the slums – the miserable living condition, the scramble for water, lack of state benefits, lack of sanitation, and other various difficulties of life. And if you have time, juxtapose it with the rich living in the same city. Perhaps, point to the sprawling billion dollar home of the tycoon. Voila, the story is ready to go. Like this BBC story. Don’t feel bad, Jeremy Vine, you aren’t the only one. But, immensely liked this question of yours to the man in the slum-“Is life tough here?” Aw, classic.

Second: Don’t forget the call centres. One of the reporters, once upon a time, who prophesized a flat world, would arrive in an IT centre in India. A visit to five or six companies, and he would report on how India was on the verge of stealing from all the jobs of the world. From then on, every reporter MUST do a story on the Indian call centre.

Don’t forget the growth story: of how India is poised to be the next big powerhouse in the world; of how a potential world power is waiting. However, once the research is complete, you’ll know that the calculation is very wrong somewhere. So you’ll always conclude that China is better equipped for the title.

Of course, how can you forget the cousin of Hollywood, Bollywood? Jump on. Curiously, you may forget all the regional cinemas in India. You will, invariably, refer to the movie, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and Shah Rukh Khan. You will show some cheesy clipping from a Hindi movie, and say how it’s all a thriving industry.

Even if you detest Indian cuisine, you will have to report on the chicken curry you loved. Or, better: how you searched for and found the best chicken curry in the city. Don’t forget to interview the chef and any of the regular eaters who speaks English.

Also report on the mobile revolution in India. After all, we all know by now that India has more mobile phones than toilets. This story, I tell you, will be lapped up by the editor.

If you are a photographer, you have got it too easy. Take photographs of any huts, or slums, cows on the road, and they may look poetic. The beauty of India. And, if you are into portraits, the sweaty, dirty people on the streets are the easy targets. Give appropriate caption, you know like this one. Exploitative? Not at all. The authorities may notice, the world will notice.

Of course, if you have more time: report on the corruption, the scams, the apparent conservativeness of the society lack of infrastructure, the happiness of people, the vibrancy of culture.

Thanks for the visit. Do come again.

2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Reporting from India?”

  1. Depressing Says:
    December 23rd, 2011 at 06:00

    If only all journalists avoided cliches by writing snide and bitter diatribes like this, we would all be more enlightened.

  2. rocky Says:
    December 23rd, 2011 at 13:27

    Hi Depressing, I don’t think it’s possible to enlighten you. Lighten up.