Explaining Arnab to my kid brother

Taking direct questions from a young viewer


Danish Raza | January 3, 2011

“We will be back tomorrow with more direct questions,” the man signed off in his characteristic combative tone.

“Bhai, how come we always see this man on this channel?” my 11-year-old cousin Soofiyan asked, “Are they short of people on their staff?”

I responded by reminding him to recite the new rhyme that he had just learnt. But I could not suppress a smile. He persisted, “No, first you answer my question.”

So I told him.

I told him that the gentleman “the nation is watching” was Arnab Goswami, head and the lead anchor of Times Now, and that he was quite wrong in concluding that the news channel was short-staffed.

“Hmm…and why is he angry with everybody?” my 11-year-old cousin continued with his questions.

“He is not angry,” I explained in a condescending tone, “You see, there is so much corruption, violence and crime in our society. Like all of us, he is also frustrated with all this, and this frustration just comes through when he interviews people.”  

“Interviews people?” my cousin asked, clearly unimpressed by my air of superiority, “You mean, he is not the one being interviewed? You actually mean all the other faces listening to him are there to be interviewed? But I see only him talking and the others listening.”

I retreated with a feeble protest. “No, no, it is not always like that. He often gives them a chance to speak.”

“Them meaning those faces in the boxes?” he enquired.

“Yes,” I said, relieved at an easy question for a change.

You see, Soofiyan is too young to understand the charisma of the man he was referring to.

How do I make him appreciate the fact that the gentleman setting the agenda for the nation every single day does listen to all the people he invites to discussions? It is just that he seeks the one voice that agrees with him. Until he finds that voice on his prime time show, he is forced to reject all the others. It is a fair deal.

But before I can heave a sigh of relief, comes another question, “But why does that girl sit with him through the programme? Is that a backup plan, like having two pilots in an aeroplane?”

“Yes, sort of, she's his co-anchor,” I said with a straight face, hoping to evade the next question.

“You mean she isn’t one of the guests? If she is a co-anchor, why doesn’t she get to ask any questions? She just looks at the screen strangely and nods her head vigorously every time he says something.”

Before I could gather my wits, I was saved by the next question. “And, why does he keep saying ‘Tonight I will be direct, tonight I will be direct’? Tomorrow night will he be indirect?”

“No, he just wants to show how bold and blunt he is,” I said simply because I had to say something.

 "OK, one last thing. How does he know that everybody watches him every night?” Soofiyan asked.

“Who told you so?" I countered a tad irritated by now.

 “He did. He does so all the time. He always says the nation demands to know....the whole nation is watching tonight...How does he know?"

Tonight it was my time to be direct. "I have no freaking idea how he knows that," I hollored, "Now go back to your freaking poem."

The whole neighbourhood heard it. I still don't know about the whole nation, though!



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