Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Experts. They are everywhere. Spamming you all day with their ‘expertise’ on their specific fields. Want to buy a cellphone? Turn to NDTV, maybe Rajeev Makhni will have some excellent advice for you. Laptops, Desktops, Plasma Displays, MP3 Players anyone? Same guy. Same channel. Expert opinions, superb reviews. And how about better understanding of the game of cricket? There are experts for that too. Atul Wassan, Chetan Sharma, Siddhu Paaji (well, sometimes he talks about cricket too when Mandira Bedi leaves him alone); we have a whole panel of cricket ‘experts’ commenting how Sachin Tendulkar should select his shots and how Dhoni should select his team. Well, ok they have played cricket at the international level for India, so I can accept the fact that they can analyse Sachin’s gameplay more than the ‘aam admi’ of India. But hold on, Chetan Sharma? Mandira Bedi? Harsha Bhogle? Come on, if they are experts, then I’m Don Bradman!! Expertise is not limited to cricket and gadgets only. The biggest self-proclaimed experts are movie critics. I never got the idea behind movie reviews. (I read them every Friday though, not that I hate them or anything). But can the review actually change my (or for that matter your) opinion of the movie that you’ll have after watching it? I really doubt it. In fact if I’m slated to watch a movie at the theatre on the opening weekend, I make it a point to stay away from the Friday newspaper. I never like taking a baggage of presumptions to a movie or concert or play or anything of the sort. I like making my own judgements. These days I really feel sorry for movie critics. They get snubbed time and again by both the filmmakers and the moviegoers alike. Take Dabangg, Wanted and Ready for example. If Salman took reviews of Wanted seriously, we’d not get Dabangg, and if he takes reviews of Ready seriously, Kick may not come out. But to hell with critics. Salman gave three blockbuster films, and though they didn’t appeal much my art side of the brain, I enjoyed them nevertheless. I actually remember here the ‘farce of Raja Sen’. He gave Tare Zameen Par three stars and a week later seeing the reponse, had to come out with a re-review giving it 5 stars and calling it the best film ever. See the problem was not that he didn’t fancy the film much at first place. He might not be alone. There might be a handful other guys too who probably would give TZP 3 out of 5 if you ask them. But then they didn’t face the public embarrassment that Raja Sen faced because they didn’t go about shouting to the whole wide world that it is an average film and there is nothing great about it. Raja Sen did, and so a week later he had his foot in his mouth and had to come up with another review that was just damage control and not what he honestly  felt about the movie.
Then we have music reviews. Now those are something that I never go through. I’m not a music person. The only music is listen to is the song-and-dance sequences that come up while I’m watching a movie. But with whatever sense of music I have, I can say this much that music is something that cannot be reviewed on paper. Come on. You have to listen to it man. Some Sanjoy Narayan or whoever writes in BRUNCH that Beatles is better than Euphoria, and you have to believe it? Why because Beatles sold some 100 times more copies than Euphoria? Why not grab an album of each band and make your own choice. Good music, bad music, average music – how can you describe it in words? And yet there are music ‘experts’.
I often wonder if there are any fields left where experts have not made their impact. We have fitness experts - Salman’s or Hrithik’s personal trainers who think they can help you and me get 4-pack 6-pack, 8-pack, family-pack, super-saver-pack, blah-blah-pack abs. That too, over one way correspondence over television media. We have food experts too. Vir Sanghvi (who I feel though writes better about society and politics than about food, and that’s because his strong point is his pen and not his tastebuds), and then Vinod Dua, (who proudly proclaims ‘hum khate hai india ke liye’). Then there are medical ‘experts’ – a whole panel of Doctors who’ll take questions over telephone like “My father’s friend’s mother has cancer. Do you have any idea how long will she live?”. Pure bullshit. Have question? Go visit the nearby physician. And those doctors sitting on the discussion panel would have better utilised their time attending to patients. Or wait maybe they are not confident about practising themselves and so are giving ‘expert opinions’. There are other 15-minutes-of-fame experts to. IITJEE topper giving tips on how to study. (As if his next year all 50 thousand people watching the programme will become toppers themselves?).
I don’t think the day is far of when we’ll have ‘bathroom experts’ (how to pass your bowels more gracefully? Anyone?) or someone like a ‘scratch expert’ (how to itch your bum in the public without looking crude?). And then the news channels have wild imaginations. Just wait and see what other types of experts they come up with. (And I totally forgot about astrologers, tarot card readers and the like. I really wonder if news channels have so much surplus money that they waste prime-time slots on future-prediction-babas and devis? I really wonder why are they unable to predict they election result for next 20-30 years. Would relieve us the headache of going all the way to the polling booth and electing those same corrupt guys over and over again)
What is the whole point behind getting to know an expert’s opinion? If Rajiv Makhni likes iPhone more that Android, then we all have to do that too? I really don’t think so. Experts are just one among us. They have their likes, and yes they have their dislikes too. There is no harm in telling “I like A, I don’t like B. And C? That’s something I hate as hell.” I have no problem with anyone sharing their views on that. But I have serious issues with someone telling me “A will suit you most. You may or may not like B. And please don’t go with C. It’s just not your type”. Come on, that’s my decision to make. I may not get paid to appear on TV and publicly proclaim what I like and what I don’t but that doesn’t take away my right to make independent decisions.
I am really not an ‘expert-hater’. I love CellGuru and NewsNet3.0 and I love Zaika India Ka. Then there is this person Shweta who writes in BRUNCH about socio-political issues, I enjoy going through those pieces. I really welcome it when these ‘experts’ explore new products, new issues, bring up things for me that are not in my reach, increase my knowledge. And honestly what’s the big deal if our ‘expert’ wants to give some personal opinion? But advice? No no. Not at all. I never paid anyone to be my adviser. And ‘free ka advice’ is not my thing.
Psst….. the next big book to hit the stands is “An expert’s guide on : HOW TO BECOME AND EXPERT”. Watch out for it!!!

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