Indian cyclone leaves thousands of reporters critically disappointed

A dispirited photographer for the newspaper Dainik Jagran wades through puny flood waters.

A dispirited photographer for the newspaper Dainik Jagran wades through puny flood waters.

MUMBAI — A monstrous cyclone swept over the Indian subcontinent Saturday, killing only 15 people but leaving thousands of reporters critically disappointed. News agencies had been enthusiastically calling Cyclone Phailin, equal to a category-five hurricane, “the cyclone of the century,” “the death storm” and “a very windy and wet end of the world.”

“I flew to this god-forsaken state of Odisha to report on tens of thousands of casualties,” said Ritesh Dhawan, who is being treated for acute letdown in a hospital in Puri. “Not some silly tempest that merely damages the rice harvest. We thought our cameraman could at least get some footage of people being carried away by rushing flood waters. But no. What a waste of time.”

A Zee News crew hired a helicopter company to fly them over the worst-hit areas, which, they were troubled to see, only consisted of overturned trees, fallen powerlines, and homes flattened — but no bodies or even residents stranded on rooftops . The crew’s producer said he’s been reduced to a state of extreme despondency. He said he’s thinking of editing in shocking footage from the 1999 cyclone Orissa that killed 10,000 people, just to cope with his pain and show the world what should have happened.