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Breaking News!

December 18, 2009

Breaking News!!!

Here’s how an Indian news channel would report the Jack-and-Jill incident. All names (except those of Jack and Jill) are fictitious.

PRASHANT – TV Anchor
We have important breaking news here. Two persons have been injured in a freak climbing accident. Jack and his companion Jill had gone up a hill to fetch a pail of water when Jack fell down and broke his crown. Jill came tumbling after. Live from the hill, our reporter, Amrita Shah, takes up the story.

AMRITA SHAH
Thank you Prashant. Well, as you say, two persons – Jack and Jill – had gone up a hill to fetch a pail of water. Suddenly, Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after. Prashant.

PRASHANT
Thank you, Amrita. What do we know about the hill?

AMRITA
Not too much at the moment. Jack was going up the hill to fetch a pail of water when he fell down and broke his crown. Jill came tumbling after.

[Headline appears at the foot of the TV screen: “HILL BREAKS CROWN OF PAIL-BOY JACK”]

PRASHANT
Any news of Jack and Jill?

AMRITA
Prashant, it seems that Jack had gone up the hill to fetch a pail of water. We know nothing about the pail, or how heavy it was. But it appears that Jack fell down and broke his crown, and Jill came tumbling after. I have here with me, an eyewitness to the entire accident, Mr Shahid Trivedi. Mr Shahid, tell us what you saw.

SHAHID TRIVEDI
Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Jack fell down and broke his crown, and Jill came tumbling after.

[Headline appears at the foot of the TV screen: “BOY AND GIRL TUMBLE DOWN HILL. WATER SPILLED”]

AMRITA
Jack and Jill. What do we know about them? Are they brother and sister? Are they married? Just what were they doing on the hill together?

SHAHID TRIVEDI
Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.

AMRITA
And what happened next?

SHAHID TRIVEDI
Jack fell down and broke his crown.

AMRITA
Go on…

SHAHID TRIVEDI
And Jill came tumbling after.

AMRITA
Prashant, there you have it! Two people innocently going about their business to fetch a pail of water when one of them falls down, breaks his crown, and the other comes tumbling after. Back to you in the studio, Prashant.

[Headline appears at the foot of the TV screen: “WATER ERRAND ENDS IN TRAGEDY”]

PRASHANT
I have with me in the studio now, Professor Chandrashekhar Belagare from the Indian Institute of Applied Hill Sciences. Professor: A hill. Jack. Jill. A pail of water. A tragedy waiting to happen?

PROF BELAGARE
Well… that depends on the hill, the two persons, the object they were carrying and the conditions underfoot. Let us look at the evidence so far:

Jack and Jill / Went up the hill / To fetch a pail of water. / Jack fell down / And broke his crown / And Jill came tumbling after.

Clearly, one would suspect that if Jack’s fall was severe enough to break his crown, then the surface of the hill must have been slippery and therefore unstable. But I think we’re overlooking something quite fundamental here. Who was carrying the pail? Jack fell down and broke his crown and – this is the key – Jill came tumbling after. If Jack and Jill had been carrying the pail together, would they not have fallen at the same time? The fact that Jill came tumbling after suggests that Jack lost his footing first and perhaps knocked Jill over as he slipped.

PRASHANT
Professor, thank you very much. So there we have it, two persons – Jack and Jill – went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Jack fell down and broke his crown, and Jill came tumbling after. Later in the programme, some other news: Osama bin Laden captured in Afghanistan, President Obama promises free health-care for every American citizen, and Pakistan launches nuclear warheads against key Indian cities. But next up, join us after the break for an in-depth studio discussion about hills, boys and girls, and whether water-fetching trips should be supervised. Don’t go away. We’ll be right back ….

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