Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Journey of my life (Part I)

When I look back and play those old dusty reels in my mind, I cannot help but recline in my study chair, look up and release a muffled smile. My journey into life thus far has been a potpourri of sweet and sour memories. I shall embrace and will play on those good old pleasant tapes but will hurl the bad recurrent ones into a bottomless pit of oblivion. The present, most often than not, compels us to look back at the path we have plodded as we travel this tentative journey of life. And it is always with a profound sense of nostalgia that I look behind and beyond my shoulder.

I came into being on a warm May Day in a mammoth three storey house on a serene peak bordered by giant pines and majestic oaks. One fine day, few months into my tender age of six, my dad lifted me like a ball of wool on his well-worked shoulders and headed to Chumey Primary School, three kilometers away for my admission. I was summoned by the headmaster, who made me hook my right arm across the summit of my head and touch my ear on the other side. Little training earlier with my father came in handy and I was in. Little scared, yet I managed to answer a couple of questions that ensued. That frosty March day marked the beginning of my eleven years at the school. (The school was later upgraded to Junior and then Middle Secondary).

Primary days were fun and carefree. No exam fever and no last-minute rush to cover the pages. In fact, it was the proverbial happy-go-lucky days. I was a regular in the school play ground pandemonium. Like every other little kid, school days were fun. I did not care what went inside my mouth along with that mixture of boyo and hastily fried chana; sometimes I chew my eraser, other times grind sand and dust firmly held inside the ‘world’s biggest pocket’. Occasionally bouts of belly-tearing ache would follow rigorous intakes of unhygienic concoction from the ‘biggest pocket’. I relive the memories of marble and hopscotch (‘am I right) that etch the canvas of my mind from the days of yore, when eating anything edible and looking untidy used to be the order of the day.

Time rolled by slowly and steadily and we were already two years into the new millennium. Elsewhere many things unfolded. The famed WTO twin towers in NYC came down a year before and 9/11 made its entry into English dictionary. Afghanistan metamorphosed into a modern day battlefield. Extremist Taliban dynamited world’s largest Buddha statue in Bamiyan. World heavy weight champion Lennox Lewis knocked out Iron Mike in boxing’s greatest showdown, and 17th FIFA World Cup came to Asia for the first time. I was but all eyes and ears.

As years passed on puberty peaked, testosterone rocketed, and I became a habitué of a discreet, comfortable cluster of dwarf bamboos few yards outside a snaking wall. Passion rose, but marks plummeted. All things-good or bad-should end, so did the covert romance when we bade farewell. My schooling at Chumey Higher Secondary School would go down in the annals of life as the most memorable.

To be continued........ 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Television, newspapers, magazines, and other media pay too much attention to the personal lives of famous people such as public figures and celebrities. Use specific reasons and details to explain your opinion (Do not exceed 350 words)

This essay is my first assignment in RIM

The mass media, needless to say, is the main source of information for the general public. Newspapers, television, magazines and other media serve as watchdogs for the public, but more often than not they compromise on facts and quality and focus more on getting stories that sell like hot cakes. They intrude and infringe on people’s privacy. They pay too much attention on celebrities and important public figures sometimes at the cost not only of these figures but also that of the ordinary people.

To inform the masses is the main objective of the media, but it is quite another to grab readership and make quick money through sneak-peek stories. Intruding into the privacy of celebrities and public figures is a pet project of all media personnel. They have no qualms about crossing the forbidden threshold and grabbing stories which will set readers alive. Readers enjoy reading the gossip column as much as writers love writing it. And all of us, being gossipmongers in our own right, further aid and abet it.

Media personnel are hunters, celebrities and public figures the hunted. They hunt the celebrities and public figures during the latter’s weddings, honeymoons, vacations and during some of the most intimate moments. They space and air but the paparazzi give them little. Some people enjoy living in the media glare but most do not. It becomes hard for them and their families. Most cannot stand the pressure and succumbs to persistent attention and scrutiny. Princess Diana would have been alive had it not been for a bunch of paparazzi who chased her to death. The immutable force of the media also drove the Tiger out of the Woods and ruined his marriage. It also sidelined him from golfing for over a year. Currently, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is in the news more than he would like to be because of a sex scandal.

Here in Bhutan, we do not have tabloid newspapers. What a relief it is for our celebrities and other vulnerable people!

Media is a great force. It can make or break a person’s life; or worst end up misinforming the mass. I feel that television, newspapers and magazines should not bother and just do their job professionally. They can play a very positive role for the society in many other ways. Let celebrities and other popular figures live in peace.