If Saif Ali Khan, the two male Bachchans, eleven cricketers, one Mr India, a clutch of fashion designers and top ten billionaires on a business magazine’s annual list are our idea of urban manhood, it’s time to challenge the story. Publicity, the tyrannous image manager of our everyday fascinations, is the villain of this piece. To cross its neon-lit path and manufacture consent (as Noam Chomsky would say) for the Beta Male may not be easy. Whether we learn this in school or in the newsroom, one of the criteria of what constitutes a writeable idea is significance. Significance which denotes bigness, muchness or success. So in news, ten deaths are more important than one; Shahrukh Khan is more important than P. Chidambaram; the booze sponsor of a party is more important than the celebration itself. And who cares about ngo workers in any case.
So caught up is ambitious urban India with publicity-powered personalities and their bubble reputations that it forgets to clap for small but lasting stories. In the media, few of us say these things fearing no one will hear them. We are obsessed with variations of the Alpha male and his numerous conquests. They are hothouse plants that flower only in the limelight by hanging out in the open their gigantic engagement rings, marriages, divorces, holidays, charities and live-in relationships.