Friday, December 30, 2005

Of Globetrotting Scribes and Lankan Conferences

Globetrotting is no longer a strange word for our colleagues.

Business dude Sumit Upadhyay was in Colombo in December for a workshop and another one in Kathmandu some months ago.

Interestingly, Bengali maiden Rituparna Bhowmick was also in the Sri Lankan capital at the same time - but for the USAid conference on 'Violence Against Women'.

Wondering who will leave Indian shores next? Keep watching this space.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Of Zee ji and his Hotel Story

Wondering what Zeeshan Sheikh has been up to all this while?

Well, the Mumbai dude has just returned home after a junket in Rajasthan. Things are also looking up on the professional front with the Indian Express prominently displaying his 3-column byline story on the booming hotel business in India's financial capital. Way to go - Zee ji!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Of Shivika and Journalism of Courage

Mind you, Shivika Kapur (or should I say Sood?) is no longer a homemaker. The Punjabi damsel has left the comfort of her posh flat in Colaba to fend for herself in the big, bad world of Mumbai.

She's just joined a publication under the aegis of the Indian Express and may also be reporting for it. Best of Luck Shivika - we're waiting for some real journalism of courage.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Of Bawling Babies and Graveyard Shifts

Bengali babu Debjit Chakraborty is just back from Kolkata after spending time with wifey Ruma and newbie daughter Sreejoni.

The young one reportedly gave Deb dada a harrowing time with regular graveyard shifts at home.

And we thought we at the office were the only ones who hated these late night shifts.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Of Bomb Blasts and Kid Reporters

Remember this year's bomb blasts in Delhi? The office was in a hubbub that unforgettable evening with various reporters calling in with news on the explosions.

How could the Editor's young son be left behind? The baby babbler frantically called up his father to give him this valuable piece of information

"Papa! Aajtak mein Breaking News hain ki Maharani Bagh mein koi bomb blast nahin."

Well, this is one kid with the right nose for news.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Of Shaggy Beards and Warm Welcomes

When Abgeoth Varghese came to Delhi to take up his traineeship here, he wasn't expecting such a warm welcome.

The Mallu lad was quite taken aback when police came calling at his PG residence.

Apparently, the shaggy beard Abgeoth was rearing hadn't quite created the right impression. Well, matters were soon sorted out and the men in khaki left convinced Aby was no militant.

Is it a coincidence he's all cleanshaven now? We certainly don't think so.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Of Navy Brides and Colaba Condos

Yes, Shivika is living life as it ought to be lived - to the fullest.

As the newly-arrived bride, Shivika is the cynosure of all eyes in Navy circles and the star attraction at Mumbai cliques.

With husband Amit, the former journo damsel now resides in a 10th floor flat of a plush condo at Colaba which overlooks the sea.

Shivika spends her mornings admiring the beautiful view from her windows - gazing for a minute or two at the INS Viraat 'parked' in her 'backyard'.

In fact, her first engagement in the financial capital of India was a social do onboard the INS Trishul where the doe-eyed beauty was feted - and Shivika admits she loved every minute of it.

Shivika has even fraternised with the defence wives' club here and is making her mark too. But she says she's really missing her friends here.

We're missing you too, Shivika - and we're glad you are having the time of your life. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Of Thai Brides and Indian Maids

Not many know of the Thai connection in Sumit's life. Turns out the Haryanvi lad's elder brother - a thriving IT professional in Bangkok - married a Thai citizen three years ago.

Circa 2005 - the Thai couple is visiting Delhi and Sumit's taking a few days off to show them around and also accompany them to the family's ancestral house in the vicinity of Chandigarh.

Sumit's parents had been dead against the marriage but true love and Kanjana (yes, that's this practising Buddhist's name) prevailed.

This time around, Sumit's toddler niece would also be visiting India and our colleague will finally get someone to 'Uncle' him around.

When we asked Sumit whether he would be following in his brother's footsteps, we were rewarded with a somewhat obscure reply.

"I'm not in love with any Indian girl," he says.

Does that mean he would settle for a Thai one then? One never knows - considering Sumit did spend some time in Bangkok attending his brother's nuptials.

People reminded of the controversy surrounding the mysterious mark on Sumit's chin some weeks ago, may also please take note of the statement.

Meanwhile, Sumit's also been having domestic problems of another kind.

His maid, like every most other maids in the capital city, is highly irresponsible. She burns vegetables on the gas with unflinching ease and had even locked apna Sumit in his house by mistake, that too when the Business correspondent was getting late for office.

No, we are not aware if she has any designs on Sumit but if so, we can be sure it's only a one-way thing. Coz Sumit's gone right ahead and fired her.

'Peace at last' - that's the only refrain we can hear tolling in Sumit's cranium. And we wish him peace for many more years to come.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Of Flying Juniors and Narendra Modi

Yes, our juniors are certainly flying high these days.

Setuka Mahajan officially kicked off outstation assignments for the juniors flying out to Chandigarh along with some cancer patients.

Meanwhile, Sumathi Chandrasekharan got a chance to nach baliye with Chief Minister Narendra Modi as she covered the four-day Gujarat Mahotsav at Ahmedabad.

The latest outstation trip again went Setuka's way with a day's sojourn in quake-hit Ursu in Kashmir, to report on the Indian Air Force's role in relief and rescue operations.

Good show, people! We seniors wish you many more such assignments.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Of TV Anchors and White Teeth

Television anchor Mriganka Dadwal is going great guns, hobnobbing with the likes of Diya Mirza, Riya Sen and Shilpa Shetty over the past week for her show Ab Aayega Mazaa which airs weekdays at 5.30 pm on Zee Business.

"Of the three, Diya was really sweet," says Dadwal, hinting the other two were not. Weren't they?

And for those under the impression the IIT damsel pigs out at each restaurant she reviews, think again.

"Arre bhai, I hardly get the time to eat," says Dadwal. She recently did a feature on a newly-opened Chinese deli in the capital. "I had an assignment right after that," she explains.

Dadwal now sports a dazzling array of sparkling white teeth and like other media celebrities denies having got them whitened professionally. We find that hard to believe but the Zee Biz Miss is sticking to her stand.

Despite her busy schedule, Dadwal said she would like to meet her friends for lunch at CP this Sunday. Those interested please call her up and let her know right away.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Of Mallus and Mallu-ism

Aparna Nair waxing eloquent in Malayalam while making the Foreign Impact.

Nothing wrong with that of course except for the recipient of her discourse - David Lalmalsawma, who incidentally is not a Keralite and doesn't understand a word of the Dravidian tongue.

But given the fact that Malayalees and Bengalis have grabbed a huge share of the Indian journalism pie, David might just have to put up with the torture a wee bit longer.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Of Blogs and Shameless Publicity

Toe Knee's zany blog at Crazy Journo created a minor splash this week by appearing on Times of India columnist Peter Griffin's watchlist this week.

Griffin, whose weekly column on blogs and the computer world appears in the Mumbai and Kolkata editions of India's most read English newspaper, adjudged 'Crazy Journo' the 'Blog of the Week.'

Despite the honour, Griffin did point out that Toe Knee would have to work a lot, lot harder before he can even think of emulating humour writers Dave Barry and Art Buchwald.

"As the title suggests, the person behind this blog is, apparently, a journalist. And one who perhaps, finds the news reporting not satisfying enough. He does regular take-offs on the news, with deadpan articles that spoof our more, ahem, conventional media," he said.

"His standards are a tad erratic, but we put that down to youth. It will take a lot more life lived before he can hope to rival a Barry, Buchwald, or our aapro late lamented Busybee, but what I like about this blog is that he tries and does often get a grin out of my cynical face," Griffin added.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Of Quakes and Quake Experiences

Believe us, Sovi Vidyadharan is certainly not having fun in Uri.

There are no mobile phone towers, no cyber cafes, no shops in the quake-hit regions - virtually cutting off the disaster correspondent from the rest of the world, as he strives to source stories amidst the devastation all around.

The only cyber cafe in Baramulla and those in Srinagar shut shop at 6.30 pm and for Sovi, who returns from Uri and adjoining areas late at night - these are of little help.

The rare sight of an STD/ISD centre on the way may be welcome, but the long queues of quake victims and army jawans waiting to talk to their folks back home is an unsettling one.

The only option - dictate stories to someone in Delhi over the phone (after coming back to areas which can boast of a mobile tower).

"I am practically celebrating Ramazan with the locals," says Sovi, pointing out that he hasn't had anything to eat since leaving for Uri at 8 in the morning.

The Dravidian lad's also caught a cold from staying out in the chilly winds and that's only made matters worse.

A back-breaking journey of several kilometres in a hired Tata Sumo, the barely there roads to Uri and Tangdhar are a cliffhanger of a test for even trained drivers, who manoeuvre with dangerously little room to spare.

Add to that the clouds of dust which swirl up and sneak inside the vehicle at regular intervals - "I have only had dust for lunch," says Sovi.

His only other companions - the myriad army trucks which pass his vehicle at regular intervals - are not something he looks forward to on the narrow roads.

One inch here or there, and one could go tumbling down into a cavernous gully. Sovi can certainly thank his lucky stars he seems to have an experienced driver.

Our message for Sovi - Hang in there buddy! You are with us in our prayers.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Of Debjit and Several Treats

Debjit Chakraborty, our Crisil guy, has got it made.

The Bengali babu is currently enjoying a month-long stint in London - his third foreign trip in the past year.

Add to this the fact he and wifey Ruma just shifted to a brand new pad AND they are gonna have a baby AND recently celebrated their third wedding anniversary.

Boy! you sure have a lot of reasons for demanding a treat from this guy.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Of New Jobs and Haemoglobin Counts

Swaty Prakash, whose haemoglobin count had gone for a toss just a few months back, is now slowly putting her life back together.

On September 15, the chirpy damsel started work at the Hindustan Times as a deskperson.

More good news in store - hubby Manas is voyaging to Oman on a three-day junket to flag off a boat reprising the historic trade route journey from Muscat to Dwarka - a journey first undertaken more than 5000 years ago.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Of Farewells at Railways Stations

Ambika Pendharkar was all smiles while departing for amchi Mumbai despite our combined efforts to make her shed tears of remorse.

The comfy journey in a swanky new Rajdhani Express, coupled with free icecream every two hours, may have forced her to take a joyous view of the proceedings.

But now we are not so sure. Bet you miss the Capital already, Amby.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Of Sneak Pics and Abhijeet Sawant

Mriganka Dadwal, who after her anchoring stint on Zee Business seems to have forgotten her friends here, is certainly enjoying her time hobnobbing with celebrities.

A little birdie told us of the existence of a photograph which links Mrigs romantically with Indian Idol Abhijeet Sawant.

Clicked by a vicious cameraperson while she was interviewing the dude, the nit pic is currently the subject of a nation-wide search. Don't worry, We'll keep you updated.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Of Punjabi Weddings and the Indian Navy

To be precise, Shivika Kapur jumped on to the marital bandwagon on August 10 last.

Mrs Sood (she hates being called that) has already returned after honeymooning in Darjeeling and is busy settling in at her Mumbai residence with hubby Amit, an engineer in the Indian Navy.

The wedding at Delhi's posh Tivoli Gardens was a tony affair with typical Punjabi fanfare but even so the highlight of the evening was Shivika's grand entrance in a resplendent scarlet lehenga.

Bet she would have won a Best-Dressed Bride contest anywhere in the world.

Of Cricket Controversies and Hotel Food

Avishek Roy, who went off to Gwalior for covering 20/20 cricket, also got a decent impact in the bargain.

Add to that, the sights and sounds of the Scindia kingdom and you know Avi must have had a nice five-day trip.

The only hitch - the hotel food didn't quite agree with the Bengali lad. Well, we all know there's no such thing as the perfect assignment.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Of Snazzy Shirts and the Westside Story

Guess who goes to Westside and spends all of rupees four thousand on a T-shirt, a shirt and four pairs of trousers? The answer: One of our top bosses.

Recently, he entered office quite nattily dressed - causing deskpersons to drop whatever they were doing and simply stare.

In fact, his own boss complimented the former on his choice of snazzy apparel AND expressed his desire to frequent the famous clothing chain.

Well, it certainly proves that the honchos are as conscious of contemporary fashion trends as the college-going crowd.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Of Fishy Matters and Bengali Diets

Well, even as Debjit's gonna be a father, we found out that he's already become a granddad.

Not to a human though. It turns out that a school of four fish that the Bengali dada had been breeding in a fledgling aquarium gave birth to a dozen wriggling aquatic infants.

Unfortunately, the fish tank no longer houses any living creatures and is today merely a bowl of dirty water.

What happened? Well, given the Bengali community's propensity for fried fish, we'll leave you to put two and two together.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Of Love Bites and Secret Affairs

Love Bite???? Wondering about that strange mark on Sumit's right cheek? You are not alone.

The office is rife with reports that Sumit is not himself anymore. Is it love? Or is it merely a shaving nick? Has Cupid finally conquered the Haryanvi dude?

Try as he might, Sumit can't hide the fact that the mark on his cheek looks suspiciously like a hickey.

When contacted, he refused to clarify matters, leaving rumourmongers baffled. But don't you worry, we'll find out more about the mysterious damsel in his life.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Of Some PYTs and an Equal Number of Chairs

Help! Our office has been invaded by an army of pretty young things. Whichever you look, you are likely to spot somebody doing nothing.

Presto! You have found the intern. Arrayed in the latest pret-a-porters, with some even sporting streaked hair, the interns are here to while away a fortnight.

Of course, we can't be too harsh - there isn't much a newcomer can do in our organisation's scheme of things.

Which is why they simply plop themselves into chairs and stare at us, while we stare back wondering how we have aged in the past one year. Wonder who's more curious about the other?

Friday, July 15, 2005

Of Someone Getting Malaria

Avishek's been bitten by a female anopheles mosquito - and the not-so-romantic tryst has resulted in the dude suffering from malaria.

Good thing he's on leave right now - that too in the salubrious environs of his home in Giridih.

Hey Avi, we wish you a quick recovery. Hope you are back in Delhi soon - to cheer us up with that infectious smile.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Of Spilt Beer and Stinking Clothes

On his Amsterdam trip last week, yours truly had his first encounter with the liquid which makes many a man go weak in the knees - Beer.

Dining out at an alfresco cafe one night with Ms Doordarshan, Mr Telegraph, and Ms Star News, Toe Knee had no idea of what fate had in store for him.

The poor soul had ordered a glass of chocomel (chocolate milk) while the others had opted for the fizzier drink.

But in true-blue filmi style, the blonde bombshell of a waitress tripped over the carpet and dumped the contents of a humongous pitcher of beer onto the poor guy's torso.

For the wet, dripping and stinking scribe, the apologies of the waitress did not help matters.

And pray, what did fellow travellers on the flight home think of the stench emanating from Toe Knee's jacket? We'll leave you to figure that one out.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Of Driving Lessons and Roads on Fire

Look who's driving too? Swaty Prakash, recovering from a tussle with her haemoglobin count, is presently in the process of learning to drive.

And what better car to practise on than her swanky new pearl-silver Alto?

Hey Swats, just make sure you don't set the roads on fire as you whizz past. Another such learner is apna Debjit who's also planning to swap his mobike for a four-wheeler.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Of Merry Mrigs and Sweltering Shoots

Of all things Mriganka had to undergo as part of her current stint at a business news channel, doing piece-to-cameras in Delhi's sweltering heat has to take the cake.

Recently, the poor lass had to give five takes for a shoot outside a Noida mall at 2 in the afternoon. Poor Mrigs.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Of Shaven Heads and Press Conferences

Well, well, well! Prashant's new 'shaven head' look might have caused certain eyebrows to rise in various directions but now with Misha alleging that it was an "accident", the hairdo seems destined to be mired in controversy.

At a press conference last week, Misha alleged that Prashant had revealed to her the reason for his Mogambo look.

"He had been trimming his hair with a shaver (sic) and went a bit too far with it on one side of his scalp. As a result of this accident, he was forced to shave off some hair on the other side to balance the look. One thing led to another and before he knew it, Prashant had harvested his entire crop of hair," the Ludhiana lass told reporters here.

When contacted (as part of our policy of balanced and objective reporting), Prashant merely seethed with anger and denied the whole incident, saying he had not even spoken to anyone about his hair.

"I am more concerned with inflation, and am not obsessed with my hair. Don't you people have anything better to report on?," the venerable scribe queried, turning a beetroot red in the process.

Believe it or not - we believe that's not the last we're going to hear of this controversy.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Of Death Threats and Wedding Bells

Anima Balakrishnan. Yes, this is the byline which the former damsel from our organisation used in her story in a national newspaper this week.

So, has she got married on the sly? That's what our correspondent Shemin Joy alleges in a breaking news story.

All attempts to contact the accused in the minuscule tehsil of Coimbatore proved futile. Looks like the only telephone in that remote Tamil Nadu village was out-of-order.

However, soon after the publication of his report, our correspondent started receiving threatening calls from the accused.

"I'll kill you when I get my hands on you" - these were the words used by the accused to terrorise our reporter and Shemin is ready to swear to them in any court of law.

Hey Anima, come clean on the subject. We'll forgive your getting married without telling us - or even if the strange byline was the result of a printing error.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Of Papa Debjit and More Treats

Our very own Debjit is all set to be a proud papa soon. Whether he will be dressing the would-be babe in blue or pink outfits remains to be seen.

Well, we wish the proud pa-to-be and wifey dear Sucharita all the very best. Do I hear legions of fans hankering for a treat?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Of Hairdo Mishaps and Exclusive Perfumes

Heard Misha complaining that her overzealous hairdresser went a trifle overboard while handling her tresses.

The resultant hairdo (though Misha says it's a tad short) has found favour with some of us, reminding us of the pretty locks of Jennifer Aniston (Rachel) in the American sitcom Friends.

What's more, Misha is experimenting with a new eau-de-cologne. No, we won't tell you which one - it won't remain exclusive anymore.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Of Foots in Mouths and Editors on Phones

Little do people know that apna Kapil Kelkar actually had the temerity to say Bol, yaar to our senior editor.

Before you rise from your seat and clutch your heart in indignation, let me add the incident had all the overtones of a good ol' mistaken-identity flick.

Seems Kapil was in TV Monitoring when the telephone rang. Under the impression that he was talking to yours truly, Kapil responded in true-blue fraternal spirit - Bol, yaar (Literal translation - Speak, friend). Wonder what editorji must have thought at that instant.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Of Singaporean Chow and Digicams

Our expats seem to be doing really well. Debjit is currently enjoying a week-long business junket in Singapore.

And making our eyes pop out with envy as he tucks into Singaporean chow.

The Bengali babu recently bought a swanky digicam - this was soon after his trip to the British capital in February.

Who knows what tech marvel DC will experiment with this time. SOME PEOPLE (By the way, I have a patent over this phrase - Anima! Dare you use it again) have all the luck in the world.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Of TV Monitors and Indian Idols

The popularity of a television programme can be gauged not by TRP ratings but how often it's watched in the TV room of a news media organisation.

Incidentally, the TV here is strictly meant for monitoring news channels. Imagine then, the surprise of the person in the Monitoring shift when one senior reporter (who will remain anonymous) asked her to change channels so that he could enjoy an episode of Indian Idol.

That too at nine pm prime time, when the ritual of watching NDTV is deemed sacrosanct.

Indian Idol - the magical malady which transports even journos to a world of mystical melody.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Of Resignations and Dropping Flies

Coming close on the heels of the resignations of Anima, Shivika, Mriganka and Anurag is the shocking news of Swaty quitting our office.

Sources have comfirmed that Swaty, who is currently battling illness in Patna, has resigned and that hubby dearest Manas Gupta will be dropping in the resignation letter on her behalf. Come on guys, we are dropping like flies.

Pretty soon, the Prime Minister will forget all about tigers and will set up a Task Force to look into the disappearance of journos from the 2004 batch. Yes, we certainly are an endangered species.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Of Debjit and Valedictory Paeans

Veteran journalist Debjit has left the organisation to continue in his quest for attaining Nirvana. He left the office discreetly, so that his fans would not prove to be an obstacle in his path. However, his decision to voluntarily suspend his idle hours with effect from November 13, 2004 evoked a mixed response.

Two trainees committed suicide by banging their heads against computer monitors. The positive fallout of this tragic event was that these computers have now started working properly. According to unidentified sources, the trainees could not contain their joy at the news of Debjit's departure and as a result got a trifle over-enthusiastic.

Some other colleagues reportedly partook of karela-ka-juice because the Chakraborty gyan sessions had now become history and they wanted to atone for the ways in which they had irritated their Dronacharya. Many observed a two-minute silence to honour the maestro who had already numbed their eardrums with his cacophonous chatter.

"I miss the sound of his voice. It always used to help me in concentrating in my work because I never paid any heed to his constant background drivel. But now that it's no longer there, the dead silence in the office frightens me," said one heart-broken trainee on condition of anonymity.

Among other veterans, there was a sense of frustration because their canteen refills would now remain uneaten as there was no threat of cross-border terrorism. The resulting wastage would earn them the curses of millions of starving Indians.

In fact, the canteen proprietor promptly burst into tears when contacted by this reporter. Apparently, he had recently ordered a fresh consignment of halwa to satisfy the hunger pangs of "Sir Debjit", and as a result of the uneaten dessert, had incurred a loss 2.5 times that of Namibia's GDP.

When contacted at his secret location 200 centimetres off Kasturba Gandhi Marg where a lowly beggar was busy admonishing him to "Keep Still", the Bengali babu downplayed the developments, and said there was no way he could be induced to return.

"Ki holo? Aami Okhanay Jaabe Naa. I will not rest until I find Nirvana," he said. "I am no longer into materialism and will soon be moving to London to suffer the hardships of staying in a posh, five-star hotel."

Well DC, although we are Green with envy at your leaving for Greener pastures with tens of thousands of more Green bills, we wish you all the very best for your new assignment. Our blessings and our curses (a minor amount) be with you always. Best of Luck.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Of Dirty Dailies and Sleepy Sentries

Ever wonder why in the mornings, newspapers in the 'newspaper room' appear crumpled and smell like they have spent the night with a tramp on 'Mud' Island. Well, they have - spent the night with someone, I mean.

As the wee hours strike, mysterious figures flit into the newspaper room and steal the stacks away. And why are newspaper stacks so precious? No, you certainly can't sell them on the black market for a million dollars. BUT they do serve as fantastic substitutes for comfy mattresses in the office.

Our correspondent conducted a graveyard shift recce and discovered five non-journalistic staff lying spreadeagled on 'newspaper stack' mattresses. And each guy seemed to have a personal favourite.

Speaking to us on condition of anonymity, one guy professed his undying love for the soft and tender 'skin' of The Asian Age.

Others swore by The Times of India and Hindustan Times. But there are few takers for National Herald which finishes a poor last in the 'newspaper stack' sweepstakes. It is said that the Herald newsprint is of inferior quality and is likely to give you a skin rash if you sleep with it for too long.