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:: Tuesday, August 28, 2007 ::

The Salman Gate!

Warning: Really long post, worthy of Salman Khan! If you don't have enough time, I have marked the juicy stuff in bold, just for you!

Entire media was talking about it all the time and they tracked it much much better than Hyderabda story. I might as well follow the trend. Actually, let me admit the truth, I never switched on any news channels after the bombs blasted.

Infact it was many months since I had seen any news channels at all. I haven't managed to master the art of staring at the tube yet, and of late it had mostly remained switched off for many months. By fate's design or accident, I turned on the tube on that fine Saturday morning. I know Salman Khan would say Saturday morning was not fine, but anyway..! Fate's devious schemes lead me to tune to Times Now and they were doing a great job in enlightening the nation with every detail about the front gates of Salman's apartment. I got curious; how can I not? Afterall, all news channels have been working so hard to stimulate the nation's curiosity, and it is our duty to respond to it. The news that the channels knew - Salman is taking 11:30 Jet Airways flight from Mumbai with his family and lawyers to Jodhpur and is going to surrender at the Jodhpur court.

So here is the minute by minute update on what happened on Times Now.

Saturday morning 9:55AM: Unlike the usual me who wakes up early on weekends, I got up only around 9, and have been slowly starting my day. I had heard Indians had made a big score yesterday for a change and wanted to figure if they had won. I switch on the tv and search for some news channels; I stumble upon Times Now.

10:00AM. News begins with headlines. The first headlines is about their dear Salman, followed by some political nonsense and lastly India's win.

10:01AM The Salman's Gate coverage is live now. Yes, they are showing the gates of his house live! And how pretty it is!

They have posted a reporter with a camera there to see what's going on. To their bad luck, all tv channels also have done the same thing! So we get to see the gate once in a while in a big crowd of media persons. And don't forget - it is a very pretty gate!

One of the clever guys in some tv company plays smart - he get's a ladder - the kind of aluminium ladder you see in hardware shops and has installed it in front of the gate, so he can have a top view of the gate! To his bad luck, folks from other tv channels accompany him to the top. Whoever said it is lonely at the top was not correct!

The lady in the newsroom hammers the reporters at the gate with questions. They talk a lot between them, but for the convenience of the reader, I summarize the converstion. It goes like this:

Lady at the Newsroom(LN): What is going on there?[Note: Let's call this Question One]
Reporter at the pretty gate(RPG): umm.. not much really, we are all confused. I wish I knew what is going on.
LN: Is Salman inside his house?
RPG: Seems like that. There are lot of cars inside. I think Salman is inside.

A few cars come in/out of the gate. There is some traffic on the road in front of the gate - buses, rickshaws, etc.. The channel makes sure that nothing is left uncovered.

LN: So tell us, what is going on there?
RPG: umm.. I will ask the cameraman to show it all to you.

She tells the cameraman who was focussing on her face - "show the gate", and the cameraman is delighted to focus again on the pretty gate.

LN: What do you think is Salman's mood out there?
RPG: Umm.. I am not sure, but let's have a look at the gate.

Once in a while, they show a small 10 second clipping of a video with Salman, which they claim is previous day's. They keep repeating it again and again but never for long because they wanted to focus more on the pretty gate.

Question One is repeated continuously and now I am admiring the girl reporting from the gate. She has the consistency of a lawyer with her answers and never once made a different statement. She also manages to answer patiently even though LN keeps disturbing her from peacefully admiring the pretty gate.

10:16AM. Suddenly there is a change. Times Now guys move on to airport where they have stationed another girl to await Salman. We get to see the approach to airport live! How lucky we are! Occasionally, we are also shown live another reporter who is waiting at Jodhpur for Salman. But there are no pretty gates at airport or in Jodhpur, so we return to the good old gate which we love so much.

Meanwhile, yours truly is impressed. I did not expect the gate to be covered in such a detail, and did not know how much more is yet to come. But now I am no longer gawking at the gate now, since I am yet to learn the art of gawking at the tube properly. Instead, I go make myself a coffee, get hold of the newspaper and settle down comfily while everyone else was staring at the pretty gate.

10:36AM. Coverage of the gate continues non-stop. I am all excited to be able to see the gate for so long. Who cares about silly things like the nuclear deals when we have such lovely gate to stare at? I feel blessed. Suddenly there is some commotion beyond the gate! We spot Salman Khan walking towards the gate. Apparently he loves that gate too. But since it is the gate that we were covering, we could not see him properly while he speaks to the media! After a few minutes, the folks at Times Now somehow manage to get a footage of his speach, probably from a neighbouring reporter.

We also notice that Salman is wearing a shirt, which was unexpected. On his lawyer's advice, I presume.

Salman Speaks: As a responsible citizen of India I am going to Jodhpur to surrender, though I don't have the court order with me.

Now, this is why I love Salman. Anyone else would have said, "I am going to Jodhpur to surrender". Who would have thought of prepending that with so much responsibility? Afterall, Salman takes his responsibility seriously. Do you remember once he took responsibility for India's growing population and mowed down a few sleepy folks at the footpath?

His lawyer added in legalese longo: As a reposnsible person... And with the rights that can be exercised by any citizen of the country, we will file an appeal with the higher court...

And then they drove for airport. Suddenly the gate did not look as pretty as it did. So the live coverage switched in rapid successions between airport, pretty gate and Jodhpur. In the meanwhile, Times Now spoke with some one who they told us is Salman's Lawyer, and the lawyer repeated his words a few more times before pretending loss of contact.

While the airport premise was being covered live, I left the tv on and went for a bath. I made sure it is a long bath with full faith in our tv channel to continue the coverage when I am back. And they did not disappoint me. Salman had arrived at the airport and had gone inside, and the tv crew continued to cover the airport premise while he was inside. It was 10:55 by then.

I was completely impressed by the magnanimity of the coverage that Times Now managed and was keen to continue watching till Salman would reach Jodhpur, and then surrender at the court, and then being lead to the Jail. After that, I am sure we could have got to see the Jail Gate in plenty. But I was missing the pretty gate that we started with, and was not too keen about seeing anything else. So I decided to switch off and move on, thanking Times Now for all their hard work to show the us the pretty gate.


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