Monthly Archives: September 2014

That’s Unfair. That’s Life.

Have you ever been unfairly judged or unjustly accused? About something that you had nothing to do with?

I’m sure you have. Or else you are not human. Or you have relationships that are not with humans. 🙂 It happens some time or the other to every one of us. And at times, you are likely doing the judging.

We’ve all seen some extreme cases of this occurence. Someone is sent to prison and years later is found to be innocent. Tragic really because that person’s precious years and life have vanished. And then you see someone like Mandela (no, not Morgan Freeman!) and what he accomplished while in prison and it’s like, wow!

But most people don’t deal with such extremes or excesses.

Frequently these “unfair things” are insignificant and don’t occupy a lot of space in your brain. But then something might have happened to you ages ago.   It’s not even that consequential. But you still remember  it clear as day today.  Why?

Picture this.

young girl in KG

There’s a young child in kindergarten. Each evening when this 5 year old goes home, she and her other 5 year old friends meet with a tutor, someone who ensures that their homework is getting done.  

Something strange is afoot though. Every once in a while, very mysteriously, this girl’s school books disappear right on time…that is, when it’s time to do her homework.  The kid claims that she doesn’t have a clue where her books are.  But the tutor is convinced that she is hiding them herself because she doesn’t want to have anything to do with homework that day. So she berates, reprimands, shouts at the kid. To no avail.  The child cries but the teacher is convinced that it’s all an act and those are simply crocodile tears. The child says she has no idea where her books are. But the teacher doesn’t believe her. Especially when the books appear just as mysteriously when it’s time for school the next day.

Then one day.

Lo and behold, the child “finds” one of her hidden books. She is thrilled. She comes running to the teacher, smiling and can’t wait to let her know about this wonderful find! She shows the book to her and tells her where she found it.

What does the teacher say?

Of course, you found it. You are the one who hid it there!  

And it gets worse. Just for finding the book and bringing it to her, she is sent off to stand in the corner facing the wall as punishment. With her friends as witnesses. The ultimate humiliation. 

Fast forward to many years later, the kids in question are all in their late teens, they’ve reunited with the tutor and are sitting around chatting about the good old days. Somehow, the topic of the hidden books in kindergarten comes up – remember when…? One of  the friends pipes up and says, you know, I’m the one who hid your books.  Everyone is having a good laugh. Meanwhile, I’m thinking – 

WHAT?

To this day, that hurts. Not so much that a friend hid my books – she probably had a good reason to do so. Maybe I did something to anger or annoy her, and she wanted to retaliate. Or she was having a string of bad days. It could have been anything. Kids will be kids.

What hurts is that the tutor did not believe me. She had made up her mind and nothing I said or did convinced her.

It’s funny what you remember when you grow up, isn’t it?

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Oops!

I am a big fan of satire…especially of the Borowitz kind, although The Onion will do in a pinch.

So I should be forgiven that when I read a particular “news bit”, I automatically assumed that what I was reading was a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun.

It was when I realized that it was a true story, that my chuckles wouldn’t stop.  See, I’m chuckling now, just thinking about it. 🙂

Some background and context first:

The President of the Republic of China Xi Jinping (the anglicized pronunciation is “Shee Chin-Ping”) had a state visit to India a week ago.  When you think of it, considering that we are talking about the massive nations of China and India (sometimes friends, most times foes) this was really quite remarkable and rare. No surprise then that this significant event resulted in  considerable media coverage.  

According to the Economist, Jinping is the most powerful and popular leader in China in several decades.  To quote –

He has become the most powerful Chinese ruler certainly since Deng, and possibly since Mao. Whether this is good or bad for China depends on how Mr Xi uses his power. Mao pushed China to the brink of social and economic collapse, and Deng steered it on the right economic path but squandered a chance to reform it politically. If Mr Xi used his power to reform the way power works in China, he could do his country great good. So far, the signs are mixed.

Documents_being_signed_during_the_State_Visit_of_Chinese_President_Xi_Jinping_to_India

President Xi Jinping (second from left) during his recent State Visit to India

More context –

Doordharshan (DD) is the government run television channel in India, like PBS but nowhere near as good. When it was the only channel available, it was quite the star but today with the explosion of hundreds of commercial channels in India, this one has gone off into the background, neither able to attract an audience or high quality talent.

Doordharshan

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Who knew that putting these two together would result in such a colossal faux pas?

The news story in question was really very short; in fact, the headline said it all:

“DD anchor sacked for calling Chinese President Xi JinPing ‘Eleven‘ “

Turns out that this was no joke!

Instead, when covering the state visit (which I have not been able to find on youtube – great job obfuscating it, DD!), the unnamed DD news anchor* referred to the Chinese President as Eleven JinPing, mistaking his name for a Roman numeral. 

It really happened!  Here’s one of many links to the story.

Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. And LOL-funny, to boot. 🙂

 

 

 

* As funny as this incident is, it is not so funny that the news reader was sacked. The saving grace for both DD and her is that she was not a permanent staff member but a substitute news reader (who will likely learn a lot because of this blooper).  Plus DD has done a great job of keeping her name out of the media spotlight. Perhaps she will look back on this several years from now and have a laugh too. Let’s hope.

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Photo Credit: By Narendra Modi [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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