Tag Archives: Mangalore Air Crash

Do “anonymous people” not count for media?

Death—ordinary, unglamourous, “smalltown” death—increasingly catches the glitzy, big-city English media on the wrong foot.

Unlike the “26/11” siege of Bombay, in which almost as many people were killed as in the Mangalore air crash, you do not find TV and print journalists falling over each other to catch the “first flight” to the spot.

Or, crawling on all fours to shoot a piece to camera, or to provide what used to be known simply as copy but is now fancifully called “narrative”.

As if death by any cause other than “terror” is no death.

As if death in any city other than Bombay and Delhi is no death.

As if death outside of a five-star hotel or two is no death.

The wisecrack of the day comes from Pritish Nandy, former editor of the now-defunct The Illustrated Weekly of India, as if the media did “anonymous people” a favour by giving them airtime on a day like 22 May 2010. Otherwise, they might as well not have existed as far as the media was concerned.

As if, otherwise, the media’s mandate is to merely bring home celebrities and “people like us”? PLUs like the food writer killed in 26/11? The banking executive who had a narrow escape? The board of directors who were smuggled out of the chimney?

Is making people “famous”—manufacturing fame—the media’s sole business?

Also read: ToI food writer Sabina Sehgal Saikia is dead: RIP


Gulf News staffer among Mangalore crash victims

The background of all those who perished in Saturday’s air crash in Mangalore is still unclear. But among those killed are a staffer of the Dubai newspaper, Gulf News, and her husband and their daughter who was probably headed for a career in journalism.

Manirekha Poonja worked in the finance department of the newspaper, and her family was on a short visit to Mangalore for a wedding. None of the three survived, according to a report on the paper’s website.

Manirekha’s daughter, Harshini Poonja, was a student of media and communication. Harshini tweeted before she boarded the illfated Dubai-Mangalore plane last night.

The profile on her blog, last updated yesterday, reads:

I am not done becoming me yet.

Her location on Twitter reads, “Infinite Universe”.

Death of a Foreign Correspondent Foretold

Death scribbled an ugly autograph today, but the book of life is really about life.

Tens of men and women who shackled their seatbelts in Dubai after dinner last night, with their children in tow, hoping to have breakfast with their near and dear ones in Mangalore, didn’t get to see them although they were waiting just a few minutes away; although they whizzed past where they were waiting.

So, who is to say what tomorrow holds when we don’t know what the next minute does?


Tiziano Terzani was an Italian foreign correspondent based in New Delhi for several decades. In 1976, a Chinese fortune teller, whom he had come across by sheer chance in Hong Kong, warned Terzani against flying.

Not in 1976 or 1977, but precisely in the year of the lord, 1993.

Beware! You run a grave risk of dying in 1993. You mustn’t fly that year. Don’t fly, not even once.”

Terzani, a correspondent for the German weekly Der Spiegel, was a un-believer. He admitted he was momentarily taken aback by the fortune-teller’s prediction but not deeply disturbed. But by 1992, he had grown tired of his job and was beginning to question the value of his work.

He saw the 1993 prophesy as a chance to see the world through new eyes.

So, when the fateful year dawned, Terzani submitted to the warning despite the nature of his job. All that year and a month more, he travelled, sometimes with wife Angela Staude in tow, by ship, car, bus and train through 11 countries, including Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Mongolia.

The result was a 13,000 miles of journeys, and a book called A fortune-teller told me.

“The prophecy lent me a sort of a third eye with which I saw things, people and places I would not have otherwise seen. It gave me an unforgettable year.

“It also saved my life.

“On March 20, 1993, a UN helicopter in Cambodia went down, with 15 journalists on board. Among them was the German colleague who had taken my place.”

Terzani passed away in 2004.

Image: courtesy Amazon.com

Read The Guardian obituary: Tiziano Terzani


And the VIPs said: ‘Issue a condolence message’

Harshi wasn’t done becoming Harshi yet, won’t

Mangalore air crash: pictures that tell the tale

CHURUMURI POLL: Plane trouble or human error?