One of the lesser pleasant species of humans that I’ve had the misfortune of coming across during my brief sojourn as a TOI reporter is the publicity-friendly educationist. This species particularly, takes it for granted that they are the official proprietors of the publication that their school is subscribing to (note for the accidental reader: It is in fact the students and their parents who pay for the subscription, and not the school.)
In my very first week on the job, a gracious lady, asked me, in not-so-gracious terms, to take her interview. For what reason, even she did not know. (I had called to ask for the school board topper). Ignoring certain schools is simpler. You can just stall and ignore them. Eventually they forget their whims and get on with life. And you can get on with yours.
Then there is the category of tech-savvy educationists. This species is easy to evade, and even easier to deal with. That’s chiefly because you hardly have to directly interact with them. They usually send a copious number of emails on various topics to you. More often than not, they attach a photograph of themselves to each email. For example, if a child has broken some record, it’ll be a photograph of the child with this teacher (admittedly it’s a simpler job if you happen to be the principal in such cases). A sub-species is the educationist who ALWAYS stands out at the forefront of even the biggest mass-photo. It’s like they have radar attached to detect where the photographer might position himself. Spooky.
Another sub-species is the slightly middle-aged tech-savvy educationist. Members of this category usually send mails with the matter in a bizarre font of size 24, in Bold and sometimes in Italics. Then they usually proceed to invoke God’s blessings in the report itself. On the rare occasions, they even manage to super-impose their photographs on certain other images (vivid reminder of political campaigns and flyers).
Yes. It looks like that. There are instances where a teacher has sent me reports on how he and his better half celebrated their silver jubilee wedding anniversary. Yes, that’s right. Wedding anniversary. And that’s not the end of it. This particular specimen sent me his silver jubilee wedding anniversary ‘report’ 2 years in a row. Déjà vu.
Then there are the compulsive names-droppers. Educationists from this category give me the vibes of a PR professional who is not very good at her job. This reminds me, I have a solemn confession to make. I have a strong allergy towards PR people, and I admit, that I have successfully ruined more than one great friendship because of this phobia. It’s not something that I am particularly proud of. Anyway, the names-droppers, as their nomenclature suggests, keep dropping names and events and facts about any topic under the sun, and expect you to do nothing but nod your head enthusiastically and ‘hmmm’ away. Later they corner you and demand coverage, again sorry to say, even their school magazines would be unwilling to carry.
And then, of course, there is the all-important category of an ‘education mogul’. There is but one person who stands out in this particular category. Let’s just call him ‘Freezer’. Freezer is like the America of the modern day unipolar world. I have named him Freezer because of his striking resemblance to the common household appliance. Cold and frigid, takes up more space than you like, and inadvertently releases stuff that is harmful to the atmosphere. And god help you if it somehow manages to fall on your poor toes.
Freezer doesn’t come to the media. The media come to HIM. That is his idealistic situation, apparently. Anyway, my respected bosses do very little to dispel his schizophrenic notions of being the owner of TOI. It’s bad for business, you see. It’s interesting, actually, to see people who are supposed to be your superiors, turn into servile sycophants in front of people like Freezer. No doubt, it’s the toxic effect of the CFCs he releases.
Comically allegorical, Freezer and his institution strikingly resemble America’s republican ‘Big Brother’ effect. Very like the Non-proliferation treaty, the Kyoto protocol, and the waging of unnecessary wars to meet their own selfish demands. In a nutshell, ‘Bully’.
Am I bitter? Definitely. But I really must go out on a limb and thank everyone whom I have mentioned here so far. Without them, I would never have been pushed to the brink of frustration and despair, and without that, this blog would never have happened. A sincere thanks to all the perverts, bullies, idiots, sycophants, opportunists, weirdos and prospective mental patients who have inspired this dimwit to muse. Inconsequentially, but muse nevertheless.