Monday, May 23, 2005

Disaster no. 4242

My life is going through such a state of jinx that someone I met the other day told me that he thinks I am making these stories up to spice my blog. I could only smile - and trust me, the smile would be wider if this train of disasters finds a place to end for good.

Someone I know works for 'The Hindu'. The other day, she gave me a call and asked me whether she can ask me a few questions regarding the lull in the software industry. Why would anyone have a problem with that? So, she called me up and asked me why I think graduates from BITS, Pilani fare better in placements than the others. I told her what I have always believed in - that in terms of technical skills, graduates from other colleges are as good as we are. But, since we in BITS or IITs have a broad student population from all over the country, we learn early to work with a diverse group of people. And the way our student life is designed, there's a lot of team work and entrepreneurial efforts are always appreciated. Asked if these skills are important, I said - Yes. I personally feel Good communication skills does go a long way when you work as a team. And in software industry in particular, a fast learner is much more effective than a person who knows a lot right in the beginning (thanks to the ever changing requirements). I also managed to add that this is my personal opinion.

I didn't expect all this to be part of the article, much less with my name or where I studied in. Early morning, my friend from 'The Hindu' messaged me saying that my quote has been used but has been modified. Since I already was late for my rehearals, It completely slipped my mind till someone called me the next day morning and told me they saw my name on paper. Excited that I was, I asked them to read out what's written. The exact lines in the article are "Rathish Balarkishnan feels his counterparts are not technically competent...." ?!!!! what? What!!!???? That is so NOT true (later I learnt that "Students from other colleges are as good as those from BITS" implies "BITS students are not exceptional technically" implies "BITS students are not technically competent". QED!). And then started the nightmare to getting in touch with my friend, and then the sub-editor, the city editor first by phone, and then on paper explaining how I have been misquoted. They are still contemplating whether they should fit in the apology. Thanks to my friend, who's relentlessly pushing for it, I feel there's some hope.

I never really understood the gravity of talking to the press till this happened. That your words can twisted to suit the context, and published for millions to watch is scary! And why would someone do that? Much less, The Hindu - a paper whose authenticity I know so many of us would vouch for. Given the amount of deliberations, I am not sure whether the apology will ever see the day's light (They are currently contemplating whether they can publish it on Tuesday) or even if it is going to be published, would it undo the damage it must have already created. But now I know which side to run when someone from the press has a question to ask me.

9 Comments:

Blogger Anupama Viswanathan said...

Rathish, this is sooo terrible!! It is an utterly lousy thing to alter a quote especially when it gets paraphrased..One of the first things that we were taught was to be extremely, extremely careful while handling quotes!

I can't believe that The Hindu did something like this. Personally, I feel it would be utterly sad for the media, if they don't apologise/revise what they wrote.

I have heard at my workplace, that even if there is the slightest alteration in a big shot's quote, we get frantic calls at the news room and things are modified immediately!! Wonder what they would do to your quote!!

And, they misspelt your name?? :O

2:09 PM  
Anonymous kp said...

rathu,
just go thru the "sensational" headlines and the respective contents on samachar.com da...u will realise ur case was trivial and did little harm!!
i now understand why celebrities complain of "being misquoted" so often!!

5:46 PM  
Anonymous kp said...

btw, wat does this "4242" mean...if uve have had 4241 disasters before this, have u documented them somewhere??:D

5:49 PM  
Blogger piggy said...

I can see the next step of Rathish MLA. Misquoted? Idhellam arasiyalla sagajamappa.

But still it hurts being called as "not technically competent". I am really disappointed with you. :)

9:03 PM  
Blogger Sanketh said...

However, those passing out of IITs, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, and BITS Pilani ...

I read the piece and well they consider the last as different colleges!

anyway i don't think it looks like you called BITSians technically incompetent. It really doesn't say who ... don't worry ... not enough BITSians know to lynch you.

11:20 PM  
Blogger Brood Mode said...

"Disaster" is too big a word for this, it's more like a comedy of errors.

Hope ur name figures in the paper again, this time with the right quote

9:53 AM  
Blogger Muthukrishnan Rajaram said...

Rat... is the 42 from H2G2? Impressed... if it is! :) Impressed otherwise too... Great Blog! Promise to keep visiting...

~M.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Rathish said...

@Kp - 42 is the answer machan! (Well no one remembers the question. neither do I). The number was repeated for the sake of making it more dramatic :)

@muthukrishnan - you got it right sir :)

@Sanketh - wow! you do have an amazing ability of consoling people in times of distress!

@Piggy - enna vidratha illanu mudivu paniteenga!

@Brood mode - a lot more happened dude due to this article. but didn't want to make it worse by quoting words and taking names :) AGAIN!

11:41 AM  
Blogger Kripa Shankar said...

Oooy Ratish,

Just came across your blog...
So a bit of BITS from your mouth tore BITS to bits huh!!!
I am actaully staunch supporter of Hindu (even though it is a bit biased w.r.t politics..."politics"..i am not bothered)..well I really don't know what to say.

w.r.t ur "Bus-adventures: Mr & Mrs Lonawalah"
"Extend, Emagine, Ensoy, Empathize :)"..
I did all of that...LOL

and w.r.t "A look at the book".
I can recall seeing all those titles in you hand. Beware, it won't be long b4 I finish my book and come to for ur erratica ;).

Will keep dropping by ...you have a good collection here.

3:03 PM  

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