By shouting out as if the whole hemisphere had been set on fire, the anchor soon caused an upheaval in our drawing room

After four years, I decided to watch prime-time news on English channels for an entire hour without any break, thanks to the interesting news bit that appeared on the small screen with the tag, ‘BREAKING NEWS’. I watched the same story on two news channels for the first 10 minutes. Both channels were interviewing an activist and conducting a debate on the same issue (it was a sensational scam story and the debate was not ‘live’). The anchors shouted out their questions and sometimes, even before the activist could answer, another question was shot at him. Sometimes, they would stop him in mid-sentence and complete his answer in sarcasm.

After awhile, I zeroed in on the channel whose news anchor was breathing down the neck of the panellists’ without any ‘break’ in the news saga. By shouting out and pretending as if the whole hemisphere had been set on fire, the anchor soon caused an upheaval in our drawing room. My disgruntled husband and son staged a walkout in protest against the ‘foolish’ viewer. My father complained of headache and without paying much attention to it, concluded that the presenter might end up losing his vocal chords.

The second half of the news show turned out to be overbearing. The news anchor continued to bully a panellist in a high-pitched tone, while serious faces shook or nodded their heads depending on which side they were on. My husband and son re-entered the TV room. They looked hungry and serious. My three-year-old son began to wail, demanding that the idiot box be turned off. Most panellists were raising their voices simultaneously, while my husband picked up our son in his arms and shouted at me.

The effect of prime-time news was showing as I yelled back at him. ‘Thirty seconds to go, Mr …,’ the news anchor announced but did not allow the panellist he was addressing to speak for more than 10 seconds. The verdict came from the self-styled judge himself. The news anchor was announcing another media trial with extra zeal in his voice.

This was akin to watching a saas-bahu soap! I switched off the TV set, while my son wiped his tears and gave me a sullen look.

With a sense of guilt, I tried to woo my son, who refused to come near me. Forcefully, I pulled him to me and took him on my lap. The next instant, I felt his underwear was wet. I screamed at the little boy and was about to seek an answer for his act, when the dog in the neighbourhood began to bark. Who knows, there might have been a ‘cat fight’ outside or maybe, my aggression passed on to the poor creature!

(The writer‘s email ID is shakuntalags@gmail.com)