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Sunday, November 2, 2008

And thou shall not lie under the state of alcohol

Not a blog post about the merits of alcohol. I don't drink much, partly because its not readily available in Dhaka, secondly even if it is, I cannot or don't feel like affording it. The thought of getting on a high with such an exorbitant cost never lets me get on a high in the first place. However, all free things in this city come with much excitement and curiousity from ordinary people like me, alcohol is also no exception. Atleast it proved again that its lets you let loose, it brings down your inhibition, either you are at your 'devilest' best, or at your 'pervertest' best, or at your funniest best. Whatever state of mind you experience fuelled by alcohol, the journalist friend of mine spoke his heart out and expressed his true self that evening when we met for the alumni dinner at the posh Gulshan hotel. For quite some time, I had been chasing this acquaintance of mine, who happens to be a well-connected journalist, to give us some coverage. Us means, this blog...I had been trying to convince him during our previous encounters about the uniqueness of this blog, how it established an alternative platform for consumer-led business journalism, how it gives us a voice to speak about Bangladeshi companies, why and how the google ranking of the blog is high, what are its objectives and future plans blah blah blahs. He always seemed very scatter-brained whenever I used to engross myself passionately about how he or his team could come up with a tiny feature on this blog. I also tried to convince him by assuming that the media is always on the look out for new content to publish, something that might draw the readers attention and interest, so why not give this blog a try? However, all my advocacy and promotion for a little bit of mention finally landed on deaf ears as he ended up with airy assurances and 'bepar ta dektesi' type gestures. I didn't lose heart, somebody gave me a tip once that one should chase journos as they chase you otherwise.

However my chase kind of met a premature stop during that alcohol-powered gala dinner evening, when I was hopping from this circle to that circle, with a 'forbidden drink' wrapped with Bashundhara tissue in hand. I could spot my journo friend who seemed to have given in to temptation too early too soon. one peg, two pegs, three pegs and bingo....he was nearly flying...from this crowd to that, from this conversation to that, from this mix to that. I thought a happy moment for him such as this, could be the right occasion to play my persistent record..the 'ek dofa dabi'...I approached him and after a casual introductory chit chat, I again repeated my plea. He slowed down, looked at me with his sparkling eyes and in a lower tone asked me, "Ok ok, I will look into it, how much will you pay?". I experienced some momentarily lapse of quick reflex, as I never took any bribe myself in life, and never tried to bribe anyone, did think of doing it a few times though, it never realized. I recomposed myself and responded like a pro, "Arey that is what I have been waiting to hear from you Bhai!, so YOU tell me what suits you well!". He gave a professional sip at the Smirnoff and told me, "10,000", he will make sure its in the press. This time round, I gave him a 'bepar ta dektesi' gesture and proposed him yet another drink. He extended his ear to ear grin and nodded.

I was wondering what stopped him all this while to just say it in the first place that 'its all about money honey', 'paise fek, tamasha dekh'. Perhaps I was bekub enough not to have received his crafted hints during non-alcoholic times, perhaps I was too naive to realize that this is the way things are done in media here, or everywhere in the world. But good that I realized and learnt, thanks to the 'pagla pani', my journo friend could not hold back his true intentions any further, it came out laughing and rolling through his drowsy eyes and clumsy gestures. He laughed like the happiest person on earth and told me like a sage with utmost composure shortly afterwards that you pay me, you are in tomorrow's dailies, arrange a few foreign trips, you will be regularly in dailies and on air, arrange some free 'refreshments', I will make sure your entrepreneurial efforts, or whatever kind of thing you are into is brought into limelight. I smiled back and nodded, and pretended to be drawn to other acquaintances...slowly getting out of his sight, hoping and believing sincerely that he must have been an exception, taken over by alcohol...and failing the lie test. Hope there are not those who can outplay the intoxicant and keep playing the games they play with the most pwoerful tool of our times--the media.

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