By Dilip Bobb
He’s still around but that foppish new hairstyle says that he’s parting ways with Times Now. As he told his colleagues in a farewell speech, the time is now. He also said the game is on, whatever that means. But what does it mean for assorted camp followers, fans, permanent studio guests, the BJP and myriad other individuals and institutions who will be affected by his departure? Here is the possible fallout.
Retired Generals: Led by the redoubtable Major General Bakshi (he of the quivering handlebar moustache and war-like demeanor), Arnab had literally collected a formidable army of ex-servicemen to buttress his favorite patriotic theme. Now that he’s off to conquer new territory and slay new dragons, they will have to retire hurt. At least it will save Bakshi from bursting any more blood vessels and the rest can join their fellow retirees at Jantar Mantar.
Divorce Rates: One area where his daily diatribe created conflict and estrangement was marriages. Many couples had the wife as an Arnab fan while the husband couldn’t bear to watch the 9 O’clock Noise (or vice versa). Not only did this cause a daily battle for control of the remote control, it led to heated arguments and threats of divorce. Thankfully, marital security shall be restored.
JNU: Students of the prestigious Central University can breathe again (if Delhi’s air allows them such indulgences) now that Arnab will no longer be targeting them for being anti-nationals and a hotbed of crime, terrorism, drugs, free sex and plotting to overthrow the government. Even Hafeez Saeed’s LeT didn’t attract such venom. Someone at JNU could write a PhD on the subject.
Sacrificial Lambs: What Times Now proved was that there are any number of people who love being humiliated and insulted in public, from so-called experts to opposition leaders and most visibly, officials and ex-armymen from Pakistan. The latter one can understand since their compensation was in US dollars, but the others allowed themselves to be targeted seemingly in keeping with the original metaphorical reference to sacrificial lambs being sliced and diced for the common good. Everything at Times Now was always touted as being for the common good (read TRPs).
The Army Chief: General Dalbir Singh Suhag must be mightily relieved. For a while, it looked like Arnab was after his job, inspiring our troops, formulating military strategy, taking on the Pakistan army single-handedly and gearing for battle every night. The other army chief, General Sharif, must be equally relieved to be spared the prospect of another Indo-Pak war.
Language: The English language may need a revision since “Arnab” had become a verb, a singular noun, an adjective and a pronoun, not to mention phenomenon. His program had also become an instrument for measuring decibel levels. His next, much-awaited avatar should produce some more linguistic definitions.
Orphanage: There are plans to set up an orphanage-cum-deaddiction center for the legion of Arnab fans left bereft, bewildered and bereaved without their 9 O’clock fix. The new center will be called SCREAM (Special Center for Resettling Everyone with Arnab Mania).
ENT Influx: ENT specialists are indirect beneficiaries with their clinics filled with those who are hard of hearing and could only watch Times Now.
Lead illustration: UdayShankar