What price laptops?

Tarun Gogoi’s poll-eve gift divides national and local reporters


Danish Raza | March 28, 2011

National reporter (NR): So, are you going to accept the laptop next week?

Regional reporter (RR): Yes, of course. In fact, I believe chief ministers across the states should learn a lesson from Assam. Tarun Gogoi is the only one who thinks for the welfare of journalists.

NR: Really? Why do you think he is giving laptops to 2, 000 of us just days before elections?

RR: He must not have got time before this.

NR: You know what? It does not look good accepting these things. Tomorrow, if I have a story against him I will think twice before filing it.

RR: Don’t be silly. In fact, by rejecting it, you will be blacklisted and he will not entertain you for any of your stories. You want that?

NR: No. I will accept it because it is a gift from the chief minister, but actually, I don’t need it because my organisation has provided me such things. See, I have this Blackberry phone. Then there are two laptops in my bureau office.

RR: I believe that the chief minister should not have included national reporters like you in this scheme. You people already have fat pay checks, you travel in luxury cars and you use high-end phones. A local reporter like me needs such things, and thanks to the CM I am finally getting it.

NR: Don’t get me started. You know that you cannot afford the new house you have bought from the salary you get. You guys earn much more than us by not writing anything against the CM.

RR: What rubbish. I took a loan for that.

NR: Yes. I know of all these loans. In fact, I am going to ask the chief minister that there should be a scrutiny of bank balances of all the local reporters like you. You get peanuts; then, how do you afford such houses, these expensive shirts and all?

RR: This is hard-earned money. We are the first one on the spot every time there is breaking news. You people come hours later, much like the police in Hindi films.

NR: That’s because we take time asking our headquarters if they want the news.

RR: Anyway, I have heard that reporters of two national dailies and one news agency have accepted it. So, you better accept your laptop if you want to be in the good books of the CM.

NR: I will think about it.



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