Sunday, May 28, 2006

Have Your Say at BBC: You Never Know Who You Get to Hear

I read the news at BBC website a lot. And at times I take part in their debates called Have Your Say. Sometime last year, I got a call from them asking if I would like to participate in this phone in program. That debate was on 'Child Labor.' The guest at the program was the director general of ILO. Soon after, I once again participated in a debate on 'Economic Growth' and this time the guest speaker was the noted economist Jeffery Sachs (can't find a link for this one). But I never felt excited enough to blog about it. After all, I am just a caller. But this time around I am excited enough to blog about it even though I am 'just a caller!'

I got a call earlier this week from BBC asking if I would like to join in this Sunday's 'Have Your Say' about India and China's economic growth, and I agreed as usual. But the third time around the excitment was not that great. In fact, it was around six in the evening I remembered that I had to talk to them.

I got the call in the evening around 7.30 and as I was the first caller to go on air, so I was on phone before the program started. I did not know who the guests were. So, for a while I am on hold and I can hear a lot of things happening at the BBC studios. Suddenly, I hear the host for the program, Lyce Ducet saying, "Hello Professor Sen, it is so nice to have you with us from Boston" and I start jumping at this end, Oh! my god, Professor Amartya Sen is on the program!

Lyce Ducet asks Professor Sen, "Are you comfortable with the format of the program?" And he says that he is sorry but he is not really well versed with it. So she explains it to him, saying she would be switching from him to the guest in the studios (a student of Professor Sen, now a professor at Cambridge) to callers from all over the world and that it is really like taking a tutorial only for a million of viewers and the professor replies ".... but the tutorials are much more intimate." One minute later we go on air.

You can see a video of it by going to this page and clicking on 'Video: Watch Have Your Say' for "What will China and India's Growth Mean."

As the first speaker (from the audience) I made a couple of points saying that yes India is growing but I feel jittery about it for two reasons, one I am not sure how long it will last and two there are many many people who are untouched by it. Lyce Ducet reads a few related emails, and I get to speak once more.

Then after a while, Professor Sen responds and he says "... I could not catch the name of the lady from New Delhi ...." It does not matter Professor Sen, you are way too polite to bother about my name and the lady is anyway so excited to hear you respond to her queries.

I am sure some of you would like to hear Professor Sen speak and for the benefit of family and friends I start speaking (for a brief while) at 4.51 minutes of the video.

For me, it was so exciting to hear Professor Sen respond to what I said. But the icing on the cake was to hear him speak off air and he comes across as the same mild mannered person that he always is in front of the camera.

It has been a truely exciting evening for me.


Blogger Abi said...

This is so cool! Congratulations!

5/29/2006 6:46 AM  
Blogger Mridula said...

I agree Abi, this time around it was cool. Even though I was a mere caller.

5/29/2006 10:12 AM  
Blogger Shruthi said...

Mere caller or not, I think it was pretty cool too :D

5/29/2006 10:32 AM  
Blogger Mridula said...

I think I will have to agree with you Shruthi :D

5/29/2006 5:38 PM  
Anonymous Alka said...

Please, publish THIS at your blog.

5/29/2006 7:22 PM  
Blogger usg said...

nice travel blog..really liked it..always good to see indian blogs on bbc..

5/29/2006 9:12 PM  
Blogger karmic_jay said...

Very neat, my congratulations. I loved the pics on the travel blog too. :)

5/29/2006 11:18 PM  
Blogger Mridula said...

USG and Sanjay, thanks.

5/30/2006 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Emma said...

That is great... I am sure it felt awesome. Congratulations!

5/30/2006 3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anirudh said...


5/30/2006 10:25 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

That's wonderful!

5/31/2006 2:32 AM  
Blogger Mridula said...

Emma, thanks.

Anirudh, what does this ambiguous sound mean? Is the post good, bad, ugly or indifferent?

It was wonderful Teri.

6/01/2006 1:34 PM  
Blogger weedwanderer said...

I'd give an arm and a leg to get to talk with Dr.Sen.I just finished reading his latest book(Identity and violence).If you re interested you can check out my post on the same :).Nice work and an even nicer blog.
Keep it up

6/11/2006 1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a great story. Waiting for more. »

2/21/2007 2:52 PM  

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