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Life Down The Cyber HighwayBy D.R. Chitra(http://groups.yahoo.com/group/journalismonline/post?postID=MF1hozEJNsHxDlS5MJGeQEto3DiqoiS8AYxVQa5hIngKnDA3KgGg9QMzjvFjzln4prdL5Kkiw1cGWF-7jQ)

11.30 in the night. The MP3 collections were getting downloaded at snail’s pace. Deadline for the karoke was tommorow night 9.00. Rohit yawned and kept playing a desultory game of minesweeper, occasionally checking the download process. Just a lot of junk mail and a few ads popped up, which he quickly deleted.

The ad for Shaadi.com with a picture of awell-groomed couple and two sets of idiotically grinning parents alone refused to go. He felt frustrated and started clicking on End Task. When suddenly he was seized with the impulse “Why not?”. No harm in checking out the site with a false ID, after all he wasn’t going to end up married. He knew it would be a punishable offense, but curiosity woudn’t kill this cat, and what the heckIndia wasn’t America.

It was this very same impulsiveness that had made MTV select him as a roadie for its Madras-Manipur trip, made Wilson College refuse to have anything to do with him even before he had completed his first semester, and had also made him DJ at the Meridien with his precious little know-how on music. He had four Ids 1-work, 2-friends, (not too sharp a line of demarcationbetween the first two), 3-family, 4-for all the X things he was interested in ranging from sex to salvation. He had made a lot of queer friends and the experience, as he consoled his troubled conscience, was highly educative.

He decided against all four especially the fourth, as he had only recently done some online chatting in an adults only website. He started filling out the form for a new Id, when it struck him, since itwould be a false email Id, why not go the whole hog and become a totallydifferent person. So he made out his name to be Reshma Agnihotri, got his Id and went back to shaadi.com. He started filling out the particulars, including the column for parents. He was feeling slightly revolted by the questions asked which were downright racist, sexist and casteist. The final application made him or rather her out to be 25, single, software engineer, salary-25,000 (at least that part was true).

For the rest of the story you can read http://groups.yahoo.com/group/journalismonline/message/59

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If you’re a working journalist, whose ambit is Chennai, the first mission of your life should be getting a placement in the Times of India. The TOI, which has been promising to come for many years, has finally got bored with the hype of arriving and decided to get the irksome job of getting to Chennai done and over with.
So landed TOI HR personnel, machines, baggage and all…..And no they did’nt advertise. Advertised recruitment drives are for measly papers with a circulation of less than 1 lakh (by the way this should not be construed as any hit at the New Indian Express, Chennai). For the TOI, advertising is more elite – only word of mouth. Or maybe the word of mouth stuff is a discrete cost cutting measure.
Anyway, the average TOI Chennai aspirant had to try his luck at the great, grand TOI. And applying for a company in the conservative circles of Chennai is not as easy as you think. First thing one has to get leave for the interview. And for that one has to be good at inventing stuff. “My grandmother is sick. She’s on her deathbed.” “Im suffering from writer’s block, tennis elbow, hepatitis, or even better mental depression…” are just a few excuses to give to the boss.
But for all you know when the boss is scolding you for taking too much leave, he/she might actually be thinking; “Will I get the job in TOI? What If I don’t? I’ll have to explain why a whole lot of people stampeded out of my office. And what if I meet this guy in the TOI office during the interview? Or even worse this loser gets the job and I don’t?”
So the boss decided to leave you in the lurch and not give you leave in the greater interests of his own career in TOI. Then you’ll have to squeeze in the interview between the hours you were supposed to have been in office.
The TOI guys are going to be here for three days. But its going to be three days of hell for the average TOI aspirant.
TOI aspirant to another reporter in the same beat: “Machan, I have some urgent work. I heard you’re attending the same press conference. Can you tell me what happened later?”
Another reporter: “Machan. I wanted to ask the same thing. My wife is not feeling well. So can you tell what happened there…”
(Deep silence. Mutual suspicion)
Both TOI aspirants hang up.
End result: All dignitaries will have to face empty chairs for the next three days in press conferences, business lunches and all the other events for which people want journalists to grace the attention.
And those who don’t want to be part of the TOI herd are dismissed as people who have to a) take up permanent residenship in Kilpauk IMH b) neurotic c) have enough money – damn the filthy rich and the cover-taking journalists or d) people who want to apply to TOI later after they get their annual hikes and increments in their current office.
(I suddenly realised I’ve used more than 14 TOIs in the post. Just shows the overall TOI fixation doesn’t it?)
Rachel Chitra

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