On TV…

I am watching BBC showing Kathmandu: protesters are pushing into the heart of the city, black smoke with thick girth, bent by the wind, is twisting and rising short and quickly dissipating across city squares, coming back down on the crowds. The police, the army, and the king, are enfeebled by the media. If they were not so continuously beamed up to the satellites, they would have taught the protesters a lesson or two and sent them home. The face of many a policeman is bland, his eyes are not focused on his tormentors, he looks at some distant thing. How greatly does he love his king and how much does he hate the protesters? What thoughts rise and permeate the mind behind his expressionless face?

The king beat all in expressionlessness of face yesterday. He addressed his nation with a voice that lacked inflection, and with a face made for poker: and thereby doused the enthusiasm of any monarchist left in Nepal. But he roused the protesters beyond the ability of the best of their leaders.

Sometime earlier, on BBC, they interviewed Priety Zinta whose face has always much lovely and versatile expression. The reporter walked her through a slum by the sea and asked questions while they walked. Asked if the West is viewed favorably by Hindi moviegoers, she said yes, they have traveled there and seen that ‘an ordinary man with a modest salary pays his taxes and gets his service, including social security. Here in India’, she gestured looking at the slum-street, ‘a man could die on the street’, and, she paused, mentally correcting a rising harshness, ‘and people may pick him up, but that’s all. We just cannot talk about it. Things will change.’* Then she shrugged, screwing up her face, her smile deepening into a gushing grin, and finished with: ‘I hope.’ They parted on that note.

*loosely quoted

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