It all started with an unexpected call from an education TV channel. They informed us that they want to make a feature on our son’s success in the civil service examinations as part of their ‘Meet the Winner’ programme. They came to our village with the crew and all the paraphernalia on a fine rainy day. The director was a ‘feature film aspirant’ who had little interest in doing this ‘success story’ kind of programme.
The feature was shot in and around our village, giving ample scope to scan through the picturesque landscape that is abundant in our rustic habitat. The villagers were also thrilled to face the camera for the first time in their life. They acted as if they were acting in a feature film. Even the panchayat president did his ‘role’ well, giving a fine speech of felicitation to my son. Part of the shooting was done in the government school where my son had most of his school education.
After a month or so I got a call from the director that they were going to telecast the programme in a week. Our first instinct was to call up the panchayat president and school authorities to inform them about the telecast timings. The principal and teachers were overjoyed and made all arrangements to watch the programme.
We also made some arrangements at home. There were many villagers as audience, not to see the interview but to watch themselves on screen. The panchayat president was sitting in a chair close to the TV eagerly waiting to see his performance. ‘Meet the Winners’ had a fine introduction. The camera shot depicting the full-blown red orchid flower in our garden was a treat for the eyes. The commentary followed “Just like this full-blown flower, here we are going to meet a full-blown youth whose achievements are worth recording…” However, the clip got stuck then and there with the orchid flowers on the screen.
“It is only a technical error. May be it is the poor quality of the tape. It will be over right now,” the panchayat president optimistically commented. “Or it could be a power failure in their relay station”, was another expert opinion. Slowly my admiration towards the full-blown flower melted down. Half way through the slot for the programme, the sight of the flower became an eyesore. Meanwhile there were frantic calls from the school authorities to enquire about the sudden mishap. The students are getting restless they said. The villagers were also restive.
I was disappointed by the whole turn of events. The panchayat president was planning to take up the issue to ‘higher levels’. I tried to pacify him. Then came the call of the director, profusely apologising for the interruption. Before I could fully express my anguish the president snatched the phone away from me and blurted out as a seasoned politician. “Sorry for the interruption? I am the panchayat president whom you have shot as the chief guest. What kind of director are you? You have insulted the whole panchayat. Don’t ever dare to come over to this village with your filmy aspirations.” He disconnected the phone, turned to me and said in a huff, “At least he could have shown my appearance in the beginning instead of that dumb flower”.