Newsroom Humor: Shedding Your Load!

One of the richest states of India, Maharashtra, has been reeling under unprecedented power cuts for over a year now (events relate to the summer of 2007 when power shortage was most severe). The supply of power was not sufficient. There had been a shortage of about 4000 megawatts. The average cuts are for 4/6 hours a day. The worst affected areas suffer load shedding to the extent of 16/18 hours daily. The ruling party was at its wits end and the opposition was at its attacking best.

But there had also been a sweating dilemma. While the whole of Maharashtra was subjected to load shedding Mumbai had been spared so far. Top ministers were stoutly defending that Mumbai just could not afford it. Mumbai is the pride capital of the state and is also called the financial capital of India. The city municipal corporation here has an annual budget that beats the combined budgets of many states of India. Apart from trade and industry highs Mumbai keeps on making national or international headlines for many other reasons—be it acts of terror, strikes and even rains. 

The opposition parties realized this very well. But morally they had to cry sore. They said that Mumbai should at least feel the discomfort of load shedding—be it for few minutes only. They pointed out the wastage of power in Mumbai super malls and multiplexes—the daily power consumption of a mall could feed six thousand rural families. But they know too well that money generation could not be stopped at any cost.
The dilemma was leading to some novel protest marches and demonstrations all over the state apart from irate perspiring crowds ransacking state electricity offices.  Students demonstrated organizing mock classrooms powered by kerosene lamps in front of offices. With summer temperatures soaring to over 40 degrees the heat of the problem was rising unbearably.
So then, fed up with load shedding, members of an opposition party decided to shed their clothing too. They sat in protest rally in Mumbai clad only in their under garments. And in large numbers too. Sweating bare chests and backs highlighted the dangers of ‘shedding’.

The editor of a TV channel decided that this was real hard news when he received the coverage tape with bytes of the main opposition leaders. The ladies of the news room sighed a collective ‘..Ooooh’s. They found the visuals very offensive and refused to write the language translation for ‘under garments’ in the news story. The editor insisted, ‘Come on! This is news—this is reality!’ Finally, the ladies relented with the condition that ‘under garments’ be replaced by ‘unique way of protest’. 

The news went on air, but the super (name superimposed on screen) of the main leader’s name while he was shown speaking to the channel was missing! The editor shouted, justifiably so! One male reporter defended the omission with a mischievous smile, ‘You see, Sir, he is a respected leader. He should not be identified this way. It’s only out of respect, Sir!’

Well, load shedding might have forced people to shed their cloths, but not their esteemed sense of respect and decency. Ahoy!
                      (Article first published as News Dress in 2007 at


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