Untimely demise of four staffers has officials adhering to vastu to ward off evil

It is almost palpable. In fact, it is so strong that you can lean against it. The moment you enter the Doordarshan kendra here, you can feel the undercurrent of fear and anxiety. On Monday, staffers as also visitors were surprised to find the main entrance locked. An arrow mark indicated the shifting of the main entrance to the other gate.

What's happening? “It's vastu problem sir,” said the security guard in a hushed tone. When pressed further, he added in a confidential manner “authorities are upset by the recent deaths”. Yes, the untimely demise of four staffers in less than two months has left everyone shell-shocked in the Doordarshan office here.

Fear bug

The fear bug has bitten the employees and some senior officers have let it get the better of them. Hence, the decision to close down the main entrance. Of course, this move has not gone down well with the saner elements. Some of them are openly questioning the wisdom in succumbing to superstition. “There is no reason or evidence for such belief,” said a news reader.

Tragedy has been striking the Doordarshan kendra with an unflinching regularity. First, it was the death of Uma Rani, a production assistant that shocked everyone. Then it was followed by the sudden demise of Gyatri, a Hindi Officer and Gopal Krishna, another production assistant. On Saturday, Imtiaz Ali Taj, Assistant Director, passed away all of a sudden. This was the proverbial last straw.

The authorities felt enough was enough and decided to change the entry gate to ward off the evil.

This was not the first, but third time that the main entrance was closed on the basis of mere superstition.

Interestingly, Doordarshan has been given elaborate guidelines to present programmes against superstitious beliefs.

But that seems to be only for public consumption. When it comes to practice, the mandarins here are as irrational as anyone else.