Tweets this afternoon have gone on a creative overdrive. Sample these:
• sunayana Great. Now searching for #bandh gives both #hyderabad and #bangalore bandh updates. How convenient
• aksh_effect: I hope #Bangalore stops honoring the ancient Egyptian custom of burying prominent actors with some of their admirers.
• anand_bala #wtf #Bangalore The art of rumour mongering TimesNow style: "which reportedly could have lead to death of few"
• impiyush #vishnuvardhan died, office off, m confused m happy or sad :( as i cant utilize the time outside...
We are sitting in the office, focussing less on Windows7 and more on the windows that over look the street. So far the road seems peaceful, traffic seems normal, buses and autos are plying... but the sense of dread builds up every time one peeks at the TV news playing in the lobby. Those who could leave have gone, the others are packing for a long night at work. Or maybe a comfortable ride home at 6PM. We don't know yet.
All this fear and anxiety because an actor died a natural death. No bombs, no assassination, no conspiracy.
If you watch TV, you'd think Bangalore is already up in flames. Unheard of channels like the local TV9 are leading with sensational headlines, hoping this is to them what Gulf War meant to CNN. Established channels like Times Now are reporting deaths in police firing, without even a hint of proof. In the most irresponsible manner, they are fuelling rumor instead of quelling it.
In the absence of any genuine terror attacks, creepy serial killers or bomb blasts, the TV News people are clutching at every straw to exceed last-minute targets for 2009. So every rumor is announced as fact, only to be retracted later; every fly-swat is the next big crisis to hit humanity. The death of Vishnuvardhan, a popular actor in Bangalore, brings back memories of the riots that followed Dr.Rajkumar's death. Both were natural deaths, so naturally, people expected their fans to react by turning the city into a funeral pyre.
Some are even calling for all New Year celebrations to be called off. Already all shows of '3 Idiots' have been cancelled across the city (along with couple of screens that bothered showing any other film).
But the situation is hardly cataclysmic yet. At least not until we grant the 24X7 News guys their New Year wish.
Nowadays, seems like there is no difference whether it is Al-Qaeda or the local actor's Fan Club. Either one of them can come between you and your family, without the least bit of provocation.
On a related note, it hurts to see how Hyderabad, a most beautiful and bubbly city, is being raped by the ones who profess to love it the most. I pray they leave her in peace soon.