Reality Shows and Their Judges!

Reality shows, these days, are omnipresent. Take a look at any TV channel, at any time, in any language and in any country, you are sure to come across some form of a reality show in there.

Reality shows are more popular than news programs and serials! Yes, they have more viewers than popular serials. You can judge this by simply looking at the on-going rates for advertising during these reality shows. Even senior citizens, earlier known as ‘serial’ citizens, are now switching over to view reality shows!

One can see reality shows in any conceivable format and form. We have comedy reality shows (which sometimes makes you cry!), singing reality shows (contestants often cry remembering their mother, father, siblings or pets), dance reality shows (every episode will have some sob story of a contestant) and adventure reality shows (where contestants cry when they do not succeed and also when they succeed!). They cry even in reality shows testing one’s general awareness.

So what’s the main qualification to be a judge of a reality show? Yes! You guessed it right! One should be an expert in listening to sob stories and then shed tears at the appropriate time! While this is the main one, there are some additional requirements too!

One’s name should have wide recognition, either she should be famous or notorious. It is not necessary that she knows what’s going on in the show. A famous author, who never shook his feet for dancing in his whole life, was a judge in a dance reality show of a well-known channel. Whenever he opened his mouth to give comments, it used to either irrelevant or confusing. But it was great fun watching him commenting on finer aspects of dancing, without knowing a thing!

Then these judges should have their brand of gimmicks! It may be use of a particular phrase or asking for a ladder to climb while applauding or gesturing in a peculiar way! This ‘unique’ differentiator is a must to extend one’s longevity as a judge.

There are huge positives in judging reality shows. The first one is that your neck is never on the line. It’s always the neck of the contestant which is on the line. Contestants who provide the content of the reality shows are never sure whether they will be featuring in the next episode. But a judge is there in every episode!

Second huge attraction is that you make big money as a judge! While the winner may take certain amount in prize money after toiling hard for many episodes, judges take multiples of this prize money for judging just one episode! Entire show with multiple episodes makes judges really rich and famous too! Just ‘Google’ and you will be wonderstruck by the amount paid to some of the reality show judges.

As a judge, you have more camera presence than the best of the contestants! This makes those failing artists and forgotten actors to bounce back into reckoning! We know how a failing superstar of Bollywood was resurrected by a general knowledge reality show!

Winning contestants rarely make a name in their field after the show is over. There are only a handful of them who made it big (after the show was finished) and most of them are forgotten before long! But judges make it to their seats every season!

Is it difficult to judge a reality show? My better-half, a keen follower of reality shows, knows more about judging than those judges themselves. She can easily come out with a list of positives and negatives, the moment a contestant’s performance over. And her analysis, many a time, is much more accurate than that of judges!

It is true that her analytical skill is rubbing off on me too and you must have observed this while I get opportunity to evaluate speeches in our Club!

(This write-up was prepared for the House Magazine of Doha Toastmasters Club)

Five of the Seven

(My L1-P1 Speech under the Pathways Program – Speech delivered at Doha Toastmasters Club meeting held on Saturday, 4th August 2018)

Shakespeare in his play “As You like it” says:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

Toastmaster of the day, fellow Toastmasters and guests! Good Evening!

I made my entrance on the stage in 1962 (Ancient? Antique?). The world at that time was full of milk and honey! And I did not like milk! We had a cow in those days and it used to love its freedom! It will not return on some days after grazing and going in search of this truant lady and bringing her back used to be my challenging task!

Going to school, a Kannada Medium one at Udupi in Karnataka (India), was all fun because we got to play in rain water in barefoot. Barefoot, not because we couldn’t afford footwear, but because it was very inconvenient to wear!

Teachers, in those days, were highly committed and also commanded huge respect. I can’t forget the pride I saw in my Headmaster’s eyes when he broke the news of me getting fourth rank in the Merit List and the National Merit Scholarship.

I still wonder what stuff our Kannada Pundit was made of! He used to take classes after the school hours on Kannada Literature which was not even part of our syllabus! This did inspire me to try my hand in writing short stories, some of which were published too!

My college stint was cut short as I opted for employment as a clerk in LIC. I was all of eighteen years old at that time! It was not an economic necessity. I just did not want to miss an opportunity which came after being successful in a competitive exam.

While in the service of LIC, completed my graduation through Correspondence and appeared for SBI Probationary Officers’ recruitment exam. Fortunately got selected from nearly a million applicants. But unfortunately, got posted to remote North Eastern part of India. While in Guwahati, I courageously opted for a posting in more remote southern Mizoram at a place called Tlabung, a place where India, Bangladesh and Mynmar meet. 30 years back, this place had no electricity and no proper roads! There was a saying in Mizo which meant “Tlbung is soooo faraway ………………that even the sky is not covering it”. But SBI was there. I have very sweet memories of this place, much better than my later postings at SBI Hong Kong and SBI, Mauritius.

By this time, I got a co-passenger and then there came two little passengers, who are now on their own journey of discovery. My son, a B. Tech from NITK, Suratkal is pursuing his passion in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (Don’t ask me what is that). He started his ‘start-up’ after giving up a promising career with Goldman Sachs. My daughter is in Seattle, US with a large online retailer, after doing her MS in IT from University of Florida.

Twenty years in SBI took me through retail banking, commercial banking, treasury, risk management and structured finance. Then, my spirit of adventure got better of me and I left a promising career in SBI to take up employment with a bank in Kuwait. This bank got converted into an Islamic bank and I was entrusted with many responsibilities during this conversion. This helped me to  learn a lot about Islamic banking.

In 2008, Qatar lured me into its fold, first in employment with an Investment bank and then with Qatar Central Bank. Now, as an Advisor in Governor’s Office, I am having a fulfilling career contributing to banking sector stability and growth.

Thus, I have passed through the first five stages of being a son, a student, a husband, a father, and a banker. I am now looking forward for the next two stages:

• A role in which I can give something back to the society and

• Then to gracefully grow old and earn the title ‘Wise Old Man’!

As always, the journey was much more fascinating than the joy of reaching the destination and my take-away is that what makes one really happy is good relationships which one develops on his journey!

Over to you

(Here is the link to watch this speech as delivered at the meeting of Doha Toastmasters Club on 4th August 2018 : https://youtu.be/ORoYVftGC30 )