In any press conference, the first person to greet you is a PR lady. What better use, you can put a woman to? She gives you a welcoming smile and introduces herself. No matter how obscure a journalist you are, she would’ve read your articles. Needless to say, she must’ve liked them too!
You enter the hall, which is the venue of press conference. The hall with its high roof and chandeliers is reminiscent of British Raj days. We, Indians, still seem to be obsessed with our maharajas. Perhaps, it is due to reinforcements by our elders and never forgetting media. Everything about the setting of the press conference is hell bent upon making you feel important in overall scheme of things. It is ironical that often journalists, who are guests at such conferences, do not even afford a 2-bedroom hall flat. What a contrast! You wake up every morning and while you are yawning, you have to be careful else your hand will reach the fan and you will be behanded (what atrocious use of language, but I think it gets the message straight). You go to a conference rubbing shoulders with who and who’s of industry. Journalists surely live in illusion. A delusion that they matter, a delusion that without them the society cant stand on itself. Well, I dint intend to write for journalistic illusions, but this matter is too important to be left untouched.
Right in front of you stands a man wearing a black coat and a pensive look. Many men, who are also in black coat, surround him. They nod on every word he utters, and every expression he gives. They seem to be discussing something important. There are few deputies of CEO, who behave in most sophisticated manner and make sure that they are within his gaze. What else can be the motivation behind such an inspirational acting. They act like a club of elites with their handshakes, pleasantries, mannerisms and dressings. And, they are careful of the impression their acting has on journalists, who are looking at them with a kind of awe a subject look up to his master. There is another breed of journalist too. They act like police with their piercing eyes and sharp questions. The only difference is that this time, the police is much weaker and the criminal more powerful. (A disclaimer is required. I did not intend to say the corporates are criminals. In fact, you should blame those headstrong journos, who ask offensive questions without getting their basics right and often forget the difference between a conference and a lock-up).
Now coming to the point. At every step of this press conference, I realized that the media and corporate world is nothing but a big show-off. Everyone is an actor. The girl, who greeted me, must have been bored of smiling tirelessly at people. She knows that most of the journalists, she is giving the press release to, are not going to read it. So, why doesn’t she show a middle finger to them? The elderly CEO of PR company told me that I dint need to introduce myself. Ha ha ha. He thought that I am a fool, who would believe him. I, a common man, who stays in a small flat, does not need to introduce myself to those, who have spent their life in corporate world. It might be true, but I pity them. I would not have been comfortable to acknowledge that, if I were in their place. But their job requires that.
The CEO and his men don’t need to be so formal. They can be normal. They don’t need to discuss in mild tone. They can crack jokes and laugh. But they don’t. They are afraid that they will not be taken seriously. Seriously by whom? By someone, who has nothing but a faint idea of his business.
I think we don’t think seriously about such things. We are programmed like the watchman who bows endlessly all his life. May be, few of us get richer doing it, but at what cost? At the cost of our freedom, at the cost of giving up the choice of being what we want to be. If this is true, we are all in a Matrix, where we spend most of our lives in doing what we are expected to do and not what we want to do. There is hardly any difference between robot and us. In fact, robot is better as he does not pretend he is human.