These are days when war dominates the news and the news channels are full of ‘breaking news’ on the war, even if the said news is already several days old and has been beamed by international channels several times over a few days earlier. The only time the war took a back seat on our channels was when the election results were being declared and that became a different war of sorts. People whom you have never heard of or those whom you associate with some other profession entirely suddenly morph into psephologists and hold forth knowledgeably on swings, caste factor, anti-incumbency, etc. If there is one thing social media can truly claim to have achieved, it is that of having made a social commentator and reformer of the armchair variety of everyone. The vernacular has an apt expression for such people – splitters of hair.
The Man from Madras Musings has thus far resisted this temptation – MMM uses the qualifier ‘thus far’ as in this time and age there is no saying when someone like MMM will succumb to the blandishments of media and make an ass of himself. But thus far, as he says, he has remained aloof. And long may he have the sense to do so. But that has not prevented TV channels from making eyes at him. The latest was last week following the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict. The conversation went thus –
Caller – “Sir, we would like you to participate in a discussion on our channel about the war.”
MMM – “Unfortunately, I know nothing about these things.”
C – “Sir, that does not matter. What we want is the Tamil perspective.”
MMM – “What?”
C – “Yes sir, we would like to know of the relationship Tamilagam has had with Ukraine in the Sangam times and also the Chola period. After all the Romans and the Greeks were trading with us and so why not the Ukrainians?”
MMM – “Why not indeed. But I am sorry, I have no such information.”
C – “Sir, can you recommend someone who will have this info?”
MMM hung up at this point. But late that evening, from a social media forward, he realised that several such experts were found, and they held forth, and how! They also threw in some current words such as patriarchy and privilege for added effect and it all sounded good. Everyone from Marx and Engels down to local equivalents were quoted, chapter and verse. Sadly, MMM is no good at that kind of thing.
There was a lot of noise and plenty of gas. But thankfully, no casualties.
My book on Chennai is out and can be bought from all leading book stores, Amazon and from this site on this link