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     Volume 7 Issue 28 | July 11, 2008 |

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Mirror, mirror on the wall


Choosing, being chosen and watching the whole game show while chooshing on some delicatessen has become a part and parcel of anyone who chooses to switch on the telly.

For the past couple and a bit more years 'dear viewers' have been inundated with programmes where there are three judges, sat on an assumedly high pedestal as they are, who go through performances ranging from singing to cooking, dancing to making a fool of themselves and the dear viewers. Very rarely programmes are compelled to have two judges, that is, when they cannot find a third suitable adjudicator to match the stature of the other two, say for instance Sabina and Runa.

Difficulties also arise when any one particular judge may not agree to sit with another on the pretext of being embarrassed. Our ergonometric researcher has found out that there is no reason for such shyness, as the judges are never face-to-face with one another. But the cause for wanting to avoid even this side-by-side meeting is widely variable: an old affair, unpaid borrowed money, professional jealousy, same saree in last gala, etc. But this discomforting discussion is not the topic of the day and may at best be considered a grizzly-whizzly-nail-scratching break from our current programme which is 'choosing'.

Despite the monotony of three filled chairs and a stage (oh! some of them are so pretty and yes some are really ugly), there is no instance of any dear viewer actually switching off the TV set because there is the anticipation of what may happen next, and because most of us (especially the men) are trigger-happy with the remote control. (Women are getting into the surfing habit too.)

Far more importantly, dear viewers want to be able to choose and see if the chosen judges agree with their choice. It's like flaunting your groom or bride as the case may be, and trying to figure out their approval rating among your friends and family and even people who you will never meet again. By 'you' I do not mean you, but someone who will not be offended by what has just been said. See, even Yours Truly is defensive about being judged.

Talking of the chairs for the judges, has any one really seen one on television? Either they make really small chairs (budgeting) or our judges should watch their diet. One channel is trying to solve this particular problem by emulating the apparently don't-be-lazy trend in news programmes where the newscaster is made to stand up. I will never understand why. Arrey bhai, if you can't afford proper furniture then why launch a channel?

Jokes aside, the oft criticised (beauty sans brains) Miss World (or Miss Universe or Miss Asia Pacific or Miss Beautiful Smile cor blimey) structure of pitting competitors and the competition out in the open has taken the world (read dear viewers who can afford a television set) by storm. And Bangladesh, as you all are quite aware, is prone to storms. We have been hit, and badly.

There is however some good news from the weather-people (whether you believe them or not is a different matter), who besides claiming that dear viewers will not be affected by any large-scale flooding this season in spite of the rains are certain that people will actually be getting used to the idea of judging and being judged so much so that we shall be putting it into practice in our daily life. At this point someone living in a local slum quipped, 'we do not have a life, so the question of daily is not born (poyda hoy na)'. That again is a different issue, important no doubt.

We could ask our ministers to consider the country a stage, the world a background. They would perform their bit and the compere would ask the three thin undernourished, under-gassed and under-electrified judges representing the people for their opinion. Judge X would ask some of them to work harder. Judge Y would demand more concentration. Judge Z would say to one of them most poetically: “If tomorrow morning there is a flower that blooms in the corner of your garden… (At which point a child in an apartment building asked its mom 'what is a garden?' and momma said 'shhh!' and the baby did what it is supposed to do). Judge Z continued, “…and if you walk by that particular flower, I pray it is red, in your bare feet, please listen carefully and you will hear it say, 'Sir, I want to be a leader like you'.

But it may be quite a while before we can convince ministers to agree to come to such a people's court. It may even be longer before we actually get ministers.

Where I would like to join many of you to see the immediate application of such a game show is an area where there has been no application of batting, bowling or fielding. Let our cricketers face the media to say something other than “if we do well in all the three departments then we have a good chance to win”. Do they have a choice then? Some of you may want to give the captain the boot (although this is not football) and dump him in Scaryland for such silly remarks that appear to be pre-recorded. We might as well have a parrot leading our eleven.

Anyway, there will be three qualified judges (elected by the people) giving the national cricketers the rating and anyone getting less than 'five' for two consecutive months will get the chop. At this point a gluttonous child said, 'Mommy, I want a chop too'. The understanding of our national cricketers is no better.


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