New Delhi : In breaking news just in, the office of the Home ministry in North Block in New Delhi has caught fire. Coming close on the heels of the fire at Mantralaya, the seat of the Maharashtra government, this raises disturbing questions about the state of safety in our government offices.
This is how a news meeting at a well-known television station decided to cover the news.
Editor : So everyone is in? OK. This bloody fire also had to happen today. Ruined my Sunday.
Production Assistant : Fire is raging, S. We asked N to go but he said he is at his in-laws home in Trans Yamuna. He suggested we sent D but D says he is yet to recover from last night’s hangover. What do we do?
Editor : Shucks. So what are we putting on air?
News Editor : I called up R and asked her to do a phone-in over pictures. She was watching `Gangs of Wasseypur’ but the background sound at the theatre made it seem as if she is on the spot. I told her about the visuals of the window and the ladder and she managed to paint a picture quite well. The viewer wouldn’t know better.
Editor : Good, that was smart thinking. Ok, now some ideas I thought of while I was driving in. Let us speak to some of the employees in the Home ministry and ask them if Chidambaram switches off the lights and fans before he leaves the office. Let us have a graphic plate that says 65 % of employees say Chidambaram is careful, 35 % say he is careless. Let us also file an RTI asking the same information. Get someone to go out to the market near our office and ask common people if they think HM of India should be more careful and remember to switch off his AC.
News Editor : Why not get some celebrities to talk about it? Will add to TRPs, you know. Can we get Karan Johar, Kareena Kapoor and may be, Virat Kohli on this.
Intern : Sir, I was googling and I found some movie made on fire called Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag. Should I contact this chap?
News Editor : No, no. Only if there is an underworld angle to the fire.
Editor : This celebrity thing is a great idea. Don’t leave out the south. Let us get Chiranjeevi. He has recently become a Rajya Sabha MP. We can ask him if he feels worried about his safety in Delhi.
Production Assistant : I will quickly tell library to take out clips of any film of Chiranjeevi, where he is fighting a fire or some stunt like that. It will look good on a split screen.
News Editor : What about candle march? Why not we get our reporters in every city lighting candles to protest against frequent fires.
Editor : Candle march for fire? Mmmm. Not so sure how it will look. P, do we have a budget for candles?
(High profile anchor walks in)
Anchor : I want to anchor this evening bulletin from outside North Block. Can we get everyone to move and organise this?
Producer : Why not put a row of mashaals in the backdrop to symbolise fire. Will look dramatic. What say?
Anchor : Yes yes. But you need petrol to light them up for an hour. Get the budget for petrol approved please.
Producer : Shall I ask Marketing guys to speak to a fire extinguisher company to sponsor the show?
News Editor : Yes please. (turning to anchor) Who do you want as guests?
Anchor : Guests do not matter. When I talk, the nation listens. And today, I want to ask some pointed questions. Get someone from the BJP. Someone who sounds angry and will talk about how this shows no one in the government works on a Sunday. And Derek from TMC. We can ask him if he will reconsider his stand on Presidential election now that government is under fire from all sides.
News Editor : Who else?
Anchor : Someone from Maharashtra government.
News Editor : Articulate fire victims? Fire officers?
Anchor : Ya ok. And yeah, a band that will perform at the end. Isn’t there some band called Agnee or Fire or something like that? Let us jazz it up.
Intern : I will google.
Editor : Let us also have a SMS question. Is India not serious about fire safety? SMS Yes or No.
News Editor : That was brilliant. I will tweet it also, make this question go viral. It will show our channel as being responsible about issues concerning society.
Editor : So let us get cracking right away.