Monday, January 19, 2015

Monkey Business



Once upon a time there were two big cats. Sworn enemies, they fought over the domination of different areas of the jungle. With his discerning eye and a nuanced pen, the monkey revealed the real character of the cats. Going by the script, he talked about the unobserved cruelties and exploitation of the animals by voicing their concern. In the days that passed, the animals looked up to the monkey for channeling their angst. As a result, several endemic monkey species flourished and multiplied.

Realizing the simian power, some cats began to nurture personal monkeys. Feeding morsels and purring secretly, the cats began to monkey around. Soon, the monkeys began to bell the cats. There were no established rules of owning a monkey. Amid all the back scratching and surrogate monkey ownership, the aging print monkey was losing out to the more invasive and aggressive electronic monkey. To be fair, the pen wielding monkey used to tell stories of injustice but not with the same sense panache as the electronic monkey. The electronic breed was able to sell any issue that had the potential to sell - sleaze, murder, corruption. As a result, the electronic cousins created an atmosphere where the demand for discontent ensured that the simians thrived, even if the cats were bruised occasionally.


Every evening around dinner time, an emboldened electronic monkey would sit on a tree branch and make a monkey out of the cats. He would pick one stray comment coming from the cat brigade, usually the most controversial to raise the adrenalin level of the jungle. Every second tree had one mischievous monkey telling a sensational story 24/7. If the cats from the neighboring jungle threatened, the monkey troops would raise shrill decibels, creating a war like situation. Around midnight, the entire jungle was abuzz with ‘Who Said What’ instead of ‘Who Did What’.
 Initially, the animals were complicit, for sensationalism is a shared pleasure. But when the monkeys refused to look in the mirror, the jungle began to see through the charade. Some mischievous ones would invite kooky characters, perch them on high branches and allow them to polarize the jungle by talking about competitive copulation. Not the ones to apologize for their mistakes, some electronic monkey’s fell in love with their own voice. “Look at me," they would screech."I’m the best.”

Meanwhile, a new breed of digital monkeys arrived from the jungles in the far west. While some chirped like birds, others provided free information with their impromptu antics. Feeling the heat, the aging print troops tried to use the digital creatures to their advantage.Some smart cats also tamed the digital brigade to consolidate their following. Given that the Primate Council was dominated by the simians and big cats, a largely unsupervised monkey troops were now interpreting situations in such a manner where the symbolic trumped the substantial.  

So who controlled the simians? Well, no one. Except that the impetuous digital brigade kept the erring troops on their toes. In an attempt to preserve the simian freedom and yet hold a mirror, the  digital apes acted as watch-monkeys. 

What happened to the cats you ask? Well, the cats have nine lives goes the feline dictum. They don’t come to an end unless the end comes to them. The cat fights continued. The latest round was to be fought over the central jungle area between a powerful cat and a new anarchist cat. And the monkeys were busy monkeying around.

35 comments:

  1. I've got to say - the comparison and the parallels drawn between electronic and print media - very creatively done. And quite apt characterisations too. After all media is pretty much 'monkey business', these days. As for the cat fight - things are just heating up, I suppose. Interesting post, Alka. Something quite different to your usual ones.

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    1. Thank you Sid. Not many appreciate political spoofs.

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  2. It now seems that all that monkeying around was more of a training ground for aspiring cats. And one particular cat can't stop raving about the beauty of the head cat.

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    1. Ha ha....that comment about the beautiful face was hilarious.

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  3. What a drama,the whole lot of parallels .
    And the aging print monkey,i think i recognize him.

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  4. ok let me say the first time round it was me the favourite monkey saying "WHAT WAS THAT"... so had to re read the post all over again .. well well you know me I can be a duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh sometimes..

    Although I still have no clue , I need to get in touch with the indian news :) and make sure i know what is going on now out there .. don't want to sound a complete illiterate ..

    Bikram's

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    1. Bikram, this is about the state of Indian media.
      It is not easy to appreciate the nuances if you are away from Television news in India.
      Thank you for reading.

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  5. I had to read this twice to understand it well (I hope I did), I wonder how you were able to correlate so well throughout the post!

    I could relate to it when you said about digital monkeys making an issue of anything because they work based on the demand. Very true.

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    1. Thank you Ashwini, truly appreciate spending time on this one.

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  6. Very creatively done. A highly entertaining post and at the same time painting a disturbingly accurate picture of the politicized and media-infested times we live in.

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    1. Thank you for reading Beloo. I wanted readers like yourself to go through this one.

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  7. I think news doesn't matter anymore. What matters, and what people want, is the sensationalism and the decibels!

    Destination Infinity

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    1. The audience is complicit. Sensationalism is a shared pleasure.

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  8. Wonderful comparison and the real jungle pales in comparison. The electronic media is like a stampede of a herd of animals.

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    1. Thank you Janaki.
      It's like a jungle reality show!

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  9. My comment did not go through the first time. :/ A very well-written post, Alka. I loved the metaphors. Today the news is all about noise, sound bytes and jazz. The real stories really get drowned in all the hullabuloo as you have brought out beautifully.

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    1. The fact that you read it, means a lot. I so wanted you to read this one. Not many appreciate spoofs on media or politics.
      Thanks Rachna.

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  10. Well said, it surely looks like a jungle out there.

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  11. Very creative post Alka ! Interesting parallels.

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    1. I wrote :
      The monkey was probably tempted by cat. The monkey kept the temptation and began writing.

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    2. Back scratching is the name of the game.

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  13. I am glad my self-induced hibernaculum keeps me away from most of the fello-simian business. But I can feel what you have put so vividly through your metaphorical piece. Wasn't I at the hub of a miniature melodrama not too many moons ago, cats, monkeys and all? A pathetic state of affairs, I must say.

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    1. Oh yes, Umashankar. Reminds me of your piece par excellence. Loved your latest one too.

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  14. Hahaha! But then, Alka, 'the jungle wants to know'!!! :)

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  15. I think the rest of the jungle is not only complicit in this Jungle Book, they are the ones who are instigating it. For nothing survives in the jungle if it of no value to the other animals.
    Well done with the critique on our society today. As they rightly say, Man is a social and media animal.

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  16. And how well you described it all. Monkey business indeed I must say!!!
    Anything for some TRP.

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  17. Aha!! Love this one in the name of news, putting the latest stuffs that the money wanna its breed to read. Superb:)

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