Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Of Orkutian Fans and Tech Gimmicks

By Anonymous

A month or two ago, Parul Sharma found an Orkut fan who visited her profile every now and then. But this passive soul never wrote a scrap nor sent a teaser to her.

Parul, known as Miss No Malice for her humanitarian views, failed to guess who the mysterious fan was as his profile didn't give her any clues.

Flummoxed at reading this stranger's name in the list of visitors to her Orkut profile, the sassy Delhiite sought advice from a friend who had gone through a similar experience. This tech-savvy correspondent asked Parul to make some changes in her profile. And Voila! Henceforth the alien name never appeared in her visitors' list.

Analysis by our research bureau showed that after Parul made those changes, the number of her fans doubled and she got almost a hundred scraps praising her newly uploaded photo album.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Of Holidays and Nature's Oxymoron

Foreign Desk in-charge Vandana Ramnani recently took a well-deserved break from her usual work routine. She travelled via Uttarkashi to a little-known tourist spot called Raithal, 182 km from the holy city of Rishikesh.

And from what she had to say about the "awesome" trip, we can only imagine how fulfilling Vandana's tryst with Nature was.

The river Bhagirathi is so very pure and beautiful and as you come down and see the Tehri dam it gives you the sense of danger ahead. What if it would break. I'll call it nature's oxymoron. On the one hand you have beauty and on the other the sense of destruction which may befall... the magnitude of destruction.

Of Glad Tidings and Good Wishes

It's the time to make merry - the sheer number of weddings, infants and new jobs over the past few months has been mind-boggling.

Legal eagle Krishnadas Rajagopal tied the knot with The Hindu lass Anima Balakrishnan. Another legal eagle R Balaji has also reportedly taken the plunge into married life. Setuka Mahajan will do so with a Bangalore-based engineer early next month. Also waiting in line are Hanit Kaur and Ratul Ray Chaudhuri. And I suppose you already know about Manash Pratim Bhuyan.

There were resignations galore too. Shambhu Jha took off for Aajtak. Sovi Vidyadharan found greener pastures in NDTV while Ratul did so in Reuters, Bangalore. Liji Ravindran's taken time off for research even as Prasant Kumar Sahoo and Shohini tried their luck in the pink papers. Ashutosh Joshi left for Business Standard, Mumbai.

On the plus side, there are plenty of interesting newbies too - including News Editor Rezaul Laskar's wife who joined the Desk recently. And the interesting case of Sumit Upadhyaya who gave up life as a reporter for the rewards of the Business Desk. And of course all our friends who were enjoying themselves abroad - Achinta Borah is back from France while Manoj C G and Sukanya Mohapatra just returned from assignments in Singapore.

And as for the storks who came visiting, it seems girls were more in demand this time around. Alok Sharma was blessed with a daughter (Jhanvi), Kiran with P... (she's reportedly mulling over names beginning with P) and Richa with ??? (Yep, her little one hasn't been named yet) And we hear Jitesh Wadhawan's infant son Kabir is looking more and more like him. So, don't be too surprised if he grows up to be a journalist.

Anyhow, we offer everyone (and others whose names were inadvertently missed) our heartiest congratulations.

Update 1 Parul Sharma's gone right ahead and joined The Hindu. And as for Kiran's newborn - the two-month old has been named Paridhi

Of Good Samaritans and Mobile Phones

Chandigarh damsel Misha Pillai has quite a reputation of being a Good Samaritan. But even Misha was taken aback by what two youths in this bustling Punjabi metropoils did for her.

Our story begins with hubby Jasbir presenting Misha with a swanky new mobile phone. On November 3, Misha was commuting to office in a rickshaw - yapping away to glory to her dear husband.

Suddenly, two guys on a motorcycle slowed down near the rickshaw, snatched the phone from her and zipped away leaving behind a tearful and shocked Misha. Two other youths (also on a bike) witnessed the incident and sped off in pursuit.

As for Misha, she informed the police but was told there was little hope of getting it back since she could not provide any details on the phone-snatchers.

Back at her office, she found two youths waiting for her. Wonder of wonders, they had her phone with them. It turned out that the youths had followed the snatchers to another city, had an altercation (one of them sported a black eye), got the handset back and searched the phone's contact list to get in touch with Misha.

Well, Misha dubbed them Good Samaritans but we prefer to stick to this 20th-century idiom - What goes around comes around.

Of the TV Journo and the Sea

Zee Business anchor Mriganka Dadwal got her first glimpse of the sea recently. It seems Miss Dadwal was covering a fashion shoot in Pondicherry and was returning to her quarters when she spied the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal. She screamed so loudly that the driver of the car is said to have lost his hearing.

Anyhow, the poor guy immediately applied the brakes and watched as Miss Dadwal ran down to the water's edge and started splashing around in obvious delight. Well, we all know how much fun being on the beach is. After all, it was Mriganka's first tryst with the sea. We wish her many more such wondrous experiences.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Of Humble Pie and Mention Nots

The 2006 Osian's Cinefan film festival had drawn to a close with the screening of the Iranian film Offside and anchor Rajit Kapoor heaved a sigh of relief. As he left the stage, he spotted a woman running towards him with notepad in hand.

"Ah! A journalist," Kapoor smiled and awaited her arrival, rehearsing a few stock quotes for reproduction in the next day's newspaper.

"Excuse me! Can you tell me where the film's scriptwriter is?" came the breathless query from the reporter.

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His face ashen but hiding all traces of emotion, the star of Byomkesh Bakshi and The Making of the Mahatma pointed into the crowd. "There he is!" he mouthed in despair.

"Thanks!" said Sheelpa Kothari - hurrying away in her quest for a tete-a-tete with the writer of Offside.

"Mention not," replied Kapoor in a voice barely audible to bystanders, as he thumped his chest with a clenched fist - all prospects of an interview fading away into oblivion.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Of Mumbai blasts and narrow escapes

The Indian Express has been regularly carrying accounts of people who lost their lives in the recent Mumbai blasts. But what of our Mumbai-based colleagues who regularly travel by the local trains? Fortunately, not one of them was on the ill-fated trains. But it was a narrow escape for many. Here in their own words, our friends recount the evening of July 11, 2006.

Ashutosh Joshi
We were in the office on Terror Tuesday. I was supposed to attend an Air India press conference that evening. But I refused to do so. The person who went for it witnessed the blast at Mahim station. He was at the platform when the blast took place. Thankfully he did not suffer any injury.

Ambika Pendharkar
Was at home in Pune during the blasts. Sangeetha called me up when she heard the news on TV. We were desperately trying to locate a cousin in Mumbai who didn't reach home on time and could not be contacted on mobile. As for Zeeshan, he escaped death by a whisker. He had actually got down at one of the affected stations at 6.15 pm.

Kapil Kelkar
I was in the office and had just returned from the High Court. We first heard about the blasts when one of our clerks called from Mira Road station to tell us that there had been a explosion in the compartment next to the one he was travelling in. All the blasts happened on the route I use daily.

Shilpa Jamkhandikar
I was in office doing another mundane story when the blasts happened. Our Regional Manager Subimal Choudhary got a call from one of our staffers saying there was an "accident" in his train at Mira Road and he could see dead bodies everywhere. We decided to run a flash. Just as I was transmitting the story came another call from another staffer about another blast. After that it was mayhem. I don't remember much except stories, images on TV and numbness.

Abhijeet Kulkarni
I was having tea at the corner of my office. It is just a road away from the Mahim railway station. My colleague and I rushed there when we heard the blast.

Ashish Agashe
I was in the Delhi office then - looking at the ticker and the news channels as the number of dead (and the blasts) was shooting up. My mobile battery dried up due to unsuccessful attempts at reaching my dear ones back home in Mumbai.

Several months have passed since the fateful blasts. But life goes on for our colleagues and they continue travelling by the local trains. Ambika tells us that Zeeshan reported extensively on the recent Malegaon blasts and his work was much appreciated. In fact, he is now part of the HT bureau for Nashik and nearby areas.

As for Ambika herself, she gave up trains for good and switched to zipping around Pune streets in her brand new silver Honda Activa. To be honest, she did crash into an innocent schoolboy who wandered into her path but the kid escaped with minor bruises. Ambika stopped venturing out on the roads for a few days after the incident but it didn't deter her from driving. We are happy to report that the Maharashtrian lass and her Activa are now back on the streets of Pune.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Of Delayed Posts and New Podcasts

Yes, its been ages since this blog was updated but I promise to put up lots of new stuff by the end of this month. Until then, I am busy converting the archives into podcast format.

Click PLAY to listen to the latest podcast

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Of Police Vans and Shaken Reporters

Dharna reporting can be quite a hair-raising experience. And David Lalmalsawma would certainly agree.

The dude was covering a Narmada Bachao Andolan protest march in the national capital when the cops arrived and started bundling agitators into the police van. Medha Patkar went in first followed by a couple of her supporters and then it was poor David's turn.

Paying no heed to the emphatic declaration that he was a mediaperson and not interested in getting arrested for the noble cause, one policeman pushed David into the van.

Things might have gotten worse but at this point our dude flashed his office I-card and thrust it into the cop's face. The 'Press' tag worked and the officer let David go.

The police van left with Patkar, supporters and all - leaving behind one-hell-of-a-shaken reporter.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Of Interrupted Naps and Media Guys

The Rahul Mahajan case was a nightmare for Abgeoth Varghese. What with the media frenzy at Apollo, our guy spent several exhausting days outside the hospital on the vigil for news about the Junior Mahajan's health.

One fine day, the overworked reporter succumbed to sleep on a comfy bench outside the hospital. And was woken up by a hospital staffer -

"Hey, this is not the place to sleep. Let the media guys do their work here. You go find some other place to sleep"

Poor Abgeoth had to fish out his office I-card to convince the Apollo staffer he wasn't a tramp.

And what of the adage that birds of a flock stick together. Instead of sympathising with Abgeoth, the other media guys stood there suppressing giggles. Can't blame them either - the endless hours spent waiting for a quote must have been punishment enough.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Of Old Colleagues with New TV Shows

After successfully completing over 300 episodes of the hit series Ab Aayega Mazaa, Zee Business anchor Mriganka Dadwal has been rewarded with a prime time slot.

The lifestyle correspondent is certainly going places and we wonder if she even remembers her former colleagues. Especially now that she's been seen with some top-notch celebrities. But we are not at liberty to reveal more. Don't worry Mrigs, our lips are sealed.

In the meantime, you can catch the IIT Kanpur lass unwind with the glitterati on Metro Masala at 8.30 pm on weekdays and Aisa Bhi Hota Hai at 2 pm on Sundays.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Of Wild Horses and Orissa Fans

Nothing but wild horses could drag Sukanya Mohapatra out of Dilli Haat on Orissa Day.

The Bhubaneswar lass was mesmerised by all things Orissan. Be it palm leaf and tassar paintings, stone and wood carvings, handloom products, sand sculptures or the Pattachitra painting technique, Sukanya spent the better part of a day marvelling at products and cuisines from her home state.

And when the Gotipua dancers came out in traditional finery amid the ubiquitous pipli lanterns, Sukanya stared at them as if she longed to join them on stage. But she didn't. Perhaps it was the imposing presence of Cabinet minister Renuka Choudhary that deterred her. No matter, there's always next year.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Of Malaika Arora and Licence Trouble

It's not that Malaika Arora isn't a gorgeous babe and Indian men don't drool over her. But apni Malvika still hates being called by that moniker. And pray, what is the reason for this confusion?

Apparently, Malvika's driving licence mentions her name wrongly as Malaika - an error she hasn't been able to rectify despite several trips to the local traffic office.

And she's not amused by people referring to her as Malaika. Try it and see - at your own risk, of course.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Of Impromptu Alumni Meets and Seekh Kebabs

Debjit's daughter's annaprasadam ceremony in June turned out to be a sort of alumni meet.

Sure enough his relatives and family friends outnumbered us but it was a pleasure bumping into our former colleagues - Vandana Lalchandani, Mayank Bhardwaj and K Dinkar. Our office was represented by Aparna Nair, Malvika Bhatnagar and yours truly.

We reminisced over old times while munching on chicken legs and seekh kebabs at the impressive Flying Club near Safdarjung airport.

Sreejoni, in whose honour the entire ceremony had been organised, looked a trifle uncomfortable at being subjected to such torture.

But the veritable spread of dishes on the buffet table soon drew everybody's attention. And what a feast it was. We do hope Debjit invites us for his daughter's first birthday.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Of Wannabe Cooks and Expert Chefs

Wondering what Setuka Mahajan is up to these days? We'll let you in on a secret. She's learning how to cook. Not to find her way to a man's heart or impress prospective in-laws. She just wants to cook for herself.

So whenever she's free, Setuka runs off to her masi's place for practical lessons on whipping up lunch. The tips come in really handy when she's alone at home and hungry to boot.

And now that we have exposed her little secret, please feel free to blackmail her into cooking something for you.

Also ruling the cookery sweepstakes is Neha Bhatnagar who reportedly cooks the most delicious food on the planet. Colleagues swear by her sabzi and wait with bated breath for her to reveal her 'tiffin' delights.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Of Deceptive Smiles and Miming Skills

Beware of Sarvottam. People who think he's just a sweet, innocent guy with a friendly smile are making a big mistake.

Behind that grin lurks a talented mime artist who can drive people crazy with his antics.

In fact, the monotony of back-to-back classes at IIMC Dhenkanal had been broken by impromptu mime performances by Sarvottam.

A special favourite of his was the story of a student who fails his exams and commits suicide. Sources reveal there was nary a dry eye in the audience by the time Sarvottam wrapped up his Oscar-winning rendition.

Well, we think our office also needs some mime artists to pep things up and Sarvottam would be perfect to play the harried journalist.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Of Bangalore Trips and Driving with Devraj

Swaty will never go the Driving Miss Daisy way. The Bihari lass has just returned from a family trip to Bangalore, where she spent time learning to drive.

For five days, Swaty honed her skills on the road, taking help from a certain Mr Devraj, who we are told made her sing 'We shall overcome' every time they set out.

Devraj was eager to show Swaty the sights of the city and encouraged her to forget the clutch and enjoy her surroundings. So much so that Swaty turned the steering wheel left and right and then left again before realising Devraj had made her scoop out a perfect 8 on the sand track.

Even hubby Manas says he's impressed by Swaty's driving skills. And we think Devraj deserves a Hot Chocolate Fudge. Wotsay?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Of Secret Weddings and Angry Colleagues

We never knew Prashant would do the vanishing act and come back to office a married man.

His wedding to Bhagyalakshmi in Bhubaneswar last month was an event few in New Delhi were aware of.

The Banking Correspondent had no explanation to offer except the very lame one that he didn't have enough time to inform his colleagues.

But we decided to give Prashant the benefit of doubt and listened attentively to his sob story.

According to the Orissa dude, it was so hot in the state capital that he got boils on the inside of his lips, which he says accounts for his silence on D-day. We, however, suspect Prashant was struck dumb by his bride's beauty.

His ordeal was made tougher still because of a community tradition that the bride and groom should not eat anything on the wedding day. Which meant Prashant, and of course Bhagyalakshmi, had to survive on water.

The marriage itself was pretty low-profile. Prashant says it would have been attended by more of our office chaps in Bhubaneswar had not the Budhia controversy chosen to rear its ugly head just as Prashant was getting hitched.

And what does Bhagyalakshmi do? Prashant is loath to give any details but he did let loose this info - She is doing her Masters in Sociology.

Well, although we haven't actually forgiven Prashant for not telling us in advance, we wish the newly-wed couple the very best for their life ahead.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Of Hindi Guides and Visible Hickeys

For people hailing from the North East, adapting to life in the Hindi belt is no easy task. And David Lalmalsawma is no exception.

The trauma of tackling invective-spewing bus conductors and paan-chewing vegetable vendors has sent him rushing to a Hindi-speaking guide for help.

Yes, David carries around this book with him wherever he goes. He's assiduously learning the North Indian tongue and it has already started showing results.

TV Monitoring sessions, usually fraught with nondescript monologues of political bigwigs like Lalu, no longer give him nightmares.

And if you spot a hickey - that mark of amorous kissing - on his neck, don't you dare ask him anything. Coz it's likely to make him blush from head to toe.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Of Advertising Dudes and Umbrella Pics

We found it surprising that Setuka Mahajan was unfazed by "uncle" Pramod's 12-day battle for life at Mumbai's Hinduja hospital, but was devastated by the untimely death of the dude who created the Hutch You and I ad.

Indeed, Setuka is an ardent fan of stalwarts in the field of advertising. But what of her recent 'Page 3' appearance in The Hindu?

It seems an enterprising photojournalist captured on his lens the image of Miss Mahajan wielding an umbrella to protect herself from the summer sun. And it was good publicity for us too, considering the office notepad was clearly visible in Setuka's hands.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Of Bird Flu and London Cooking

Debjit da is back from his month-long official stay in London and unlikely his previous sojourns in the UK, the Bengali babu hasn't returned with any snazzy electronic gadgets.

"Arre, London is very expensive, baba," he says.

And with Britain being in the throes of a bird flu scare, Debjit also had to forgo his favourite chicken dishes. Instead, he and his two Sardarji housemates shared kitchen duties to churn out rajma-chawal day in, day out.

No wonder Debjit is delighted to be back in India killing two birds with a single stone - enjoy wifey Ruma's cooking and spend more time with baby daughter Sreejoni, who by the way has just completed six months on planet Earth.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Of New Dudes in Our Office

Meet ex-IANS dude Rezaul H Laskar. The man from Shillong is here to take over the reins of the domestic news desk. This Chevening scholar has 16 years of experience as a scribe and took to our style like a fish to water.

Laskar has spent more than five years each in The Asian Age and IANS. And he put in an impressive performance on his very first day here - making the leads on the Doda and Udhampur massacres.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Of Office Assignments and Carabao Buffaloes

It's been raining assignments the last month or so. While Rituparna flew down to freezing Ladakh to hobnob with the Army guys there, Annie was in Bangalore to report on a hospital for the mentally impaired.

Sumit barely got out of the plane for a dekko at the upcoming Hyderabad airport while Prashant chose to attend the ADB conference in Manila where - believe it or not - he milked a carabao buffalo.

In the new batch, David travelled to the dunes of Thar for a CSIF meet, Ritu Tripathi made it to the upper reaches of Uttaranchal for the Garhwal regiment's Raising Day celebrations and newbie trainee Krishna Kumar got the experience of his lifetime bidding farewell to MiG-25 spy planes in Bareilly.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Of Simple Diets and Foodie Pleasures

In contrast to her otherwise feisty self, Parul Sharma is a very boring person when it comes to food. 'Give me dal-roti and I am happy' is her constant refrain.

Not for her the sinful temptations of a Hot Chocolate Fudge or other epicurean delights.

Although we doubt her fussiness has anything to do with a strict diet (considering she's thin as a rake), we urge Parul to let her palate do the talking and experience the pleasures of being a foodie.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Of Goan Holidays and Non-Veg Dishes

Swaty Prakash is just back from her sizzling Goa trip which included among other delights the thrills of parasailing, jet-skiing and the usual rounds of getting suntanned on India's most famous beaches.

Swaty admits that the trip brought out the carnivore in her - as she dug into generous helpings of squid, prawn, fish, chicken and the works. And lobster? Well, it was overpriced so the Bihari lass gave it a miss.

We didn't dare ask her how many bottles of feni she downed with hubby Manas but the couple obviously lived life to its fullest.

And what's more! Delhi welcomed Swaty back with a new job. She's just been taken in by the Prentice Hall of India to take care of their editing department and liaise with authors.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Of Pune Dailies and New Paths

Guess who else is treading new paths? Maharashtrian damsel Ambika Pendharkar has joined Pune Herald, an English publication under the Sakal group.

And what made her leave the hallowed portals of the Times of India in Mumbai? Apparently TOI was not giving Ambika any mainstream reporting opportunities which made her try her luck elsewhere.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Of Dravidian Maidens and Icecream Bans

Icecream vendors in and around Connaught Place are up in arms after Aparna Nair announced her decision never to ever eat icecreams again.

And before you clutch your heart and spill your morning cuppa, let me tell you the sacrifice doesn't stem from an innate desire to torture herself.

The Dravidian maiden just feels she's been having one too many of the sugary delights. We appeal to Ms Nair to consider the plight of the poor vendors and reconsider her decision.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Of the Yo Man who got his Quick Fix

(This article on Vijay Thapa was submitted by a colleague and has been published on condition of anonymity)

With porcupine hair and a 'yo man' attitude that could give Fido Dido a run for his money, this senor's repertoire of stories never seems to end.

Even boring shifts can perk up in the company of our man from Meerut.

Perpetually "harrassed, harangued and hassled," each day is a racy thriller, a whodunit or a 'laugh until you cry' for this bachelor with the curiously 'propah' British accent.

And his love affair with the office telephone... Be it conducting deals for raising money to buy a house, vigorously hunting for a buyer for his rifle, carrying out mega arguments with his mother - everything under the sun is done with a little help from Alexander Graham Bell.

The debonair dude recently had a close encounter with - Glue!

On Holi, our man was in the midst of spring cleaning when he discovered that his index finger refused to part company with his middle finger.

Contrary to his belief, Vijay Thapa found that Feviquick or Superstick or some other adhesive he was working with was indeed capable of sticking his digits together.

When the Doubting Thomas in him was convinced of his stuck state, he endeavoured to undo the damage.

First he tried kerosene. He dips his hand in the fuel but to no avail. The metacarpals of his hand refuse to give up. He pours ether, the liguid used to clean tape-recorder heads, and tries to bring his hand near a flame. Nothing!

It's only after his panic level reached a new high, that Thapa hit upon the solution - Brasso, which finally does the trick and disentangles his fingers.

And what about the time he turned up two hours late for office. Thapa says he forgot to refill his bike's fuel tank and was stranded midway on the flyover leading to Noida. Our hero was resigned to pushing his machine over a long long way when suddenly a scooterist offers him a can of petrol.

Whoa! A true good samaritan there. Music for the senor's ears who couldn't believe his luck. Man and machine soon found themselves zooming off to office where Thapa waxed eloqent on the inherent goodness of human beings.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Of Canteen Boys and Flashbacks

Many have wondered why Vinod is so good to the canteen boys. Unlike other colleagues, this Mallu dude never berates them or cribs about their service. Well, the mystery may have been solved.

It turns out that eons ago, Vinod's father owned two restaurants in God's own country (Kerala) and our dear Foreign Affairs expert used to occasionally serve at tables there.

Vinod had to put up with some ill-tempered patrons who revelled in finding fault, blissfully unaware that he was the son of the proprietor.

That experience was to remain with him all his life and taught him a valuable lesson - People who serve us in canteens are humans too, Treat them with respect.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Of Classicial Vocalists and Radio Sets

Not many know that Sumathi Chandrasekharan is an accomplished classical vocalist.

She hasn't had her arangettam - the first public performance - despite her guru's protestations because the diva feels she isn't ready for it.

Don't ask Sumathi to belt out some forgettable Bollywood ditty, the Mallu damsel rather prefers the sublime strains of Mahesh Dattani's Morning Raga.

Believe it or not, she even has Hindustani classical music on preset 1 on her World Space satellite radio set.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Of Marriage Pics and Pesky Photographers

Giving in to her mother's demands, Hanit Kaur finally agreed to get some glossy pics clicked for prospective Punjabi grooms.

But she had a run-in with the photographer who kept insisting she pose next to a pillar a la Bollywood sirens.

Hanit lost her temper and ticked him off proper. Fortunately for the photographer, matters did not take a serious turn and the Punjabi maiden later agreed to let her hair down (literally) for the photo-shoot.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Of Film Freaks and Suspicious Knives

Talk about being a film freak. Sunandita holds the unenviable distinction of having watched at least 30 movies in one week - during the Kolkata Film festival.

The Bong lass, who also holds a certificate in film appreciation, was recently "apprehended" with a pen-knife at PVR Plaza.

Despite her plea that "it was all a mistake" and she "was certainly not a terrorist," the manager was not convinced and Sunandita had to deposit her beloved pen-knife with authorities. What's more, she even had to go through the rigmarole of signing an undertaking just to get it back.

And what has Sunandita learned from the incident? She now meticulously checks her handbag for any weapons of mass destruction before venturing out on a film-watching spree.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Of Stolen Jewels and Tasty Parathas

Swaty Prakash didn't have a memorable trip to Patna after all. She and hubby Manas came back to find their Shipra Sun City flat burgled and jewellery worth 25,000 bucks missing.

But there was still a ray of sunshine. In his hurry, the burglar who rifled through their apartment failed to notice a separate packet kept behind the stolen stuff. And thus Swaty managed to salvage some jewellery and cash.

To hide her heavy heart, the Bihari dame is now practising her paratha making skills and forcing her creations down unwilling throats.

However, reports from the scene of the crime revealed that people partaking of her parathas were seen licking their lips and asking for second helpings.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Of TV Journos and Allegations

Now, you can get even more of Mriganka Dadwal. The IIT damsel recently became sole anchor for her TV show on Wednesday evenings.

Catch her showcasing the latest gizmos and accessories on Ab Ayega Mazaa which airs at 5.30 pm on Zee Business.

By the way, Mrigs has declared that this blog has degenerated to the level of the Page 3 supplement in a national daily.

Well, we beg to differ and if the Kanpur lass continues to compare us to that infernal publication, we promise to see her in court.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Of Holi and Eggless Escapades

Tomojit Bhattacharjee had quite an unholy introduction to the festival of Holi in the capital city. While waiting at the office bus stop, the Bengali lad was the target of hooligans seated in a Honda Accord.

The unruly youths, possibly under the influence of bhang, threw an egg at him. Fortunately, their aim was rather lame and the missile hit an innocent bystander squarely on the forehead.

We know you won't be interested in whether the poor guy used Surf Excel to remove the stains but Tomojit is certainly counting his blessings for an eggless escape.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Of Perfect Stories and Journos

Recently, the office canteen witnessed a unique event. Dining at the same table were Parul Sharma and Sukanya Mohapatra - the only two journalists whose work has been praised by our ombudsman editor Bhaskar Menon.

While a story edited by Sukanya last year was lauded as the perfect example of a news story, Parul was feted recently for her take on the lives of Delhi's sex workers.

And don't you dare suggest this is no big deal. After all, Menon has found only two exemplary stories worth mentioning after a year of pointing out mistakes in our files.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Of Picks From the Archives

Here's a selection from our Jan 2005 Archives.
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. Read on

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Of Newbie Trainees and False Alarms

You are dead wrong if you thought only we churned out gaffes day in, day out.

A little birdie told us of this incident that happened in the Hindi section recently. A newbie trainee was translating a story about a case wherein the victim raised an alarm when a man attempted to rape her.

Unfortunately, what came out was something like this -

'The woman pressed the alarm clock when the man tried to rape her.'

Talk about time trouble.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Of Forgotten Friends and Birthdays Remembered

We once had a Mallu colleague by the name of Salu,
Whither he vanished, we still haven't a clue,
Last heard, the dude was somewhere in the UK,
Anyways, on your birthday, we remember you.

Indeed, we remembered you on your birthday today. We have no idea if you are still reading our news updates. Our phone calls and emails have gone unrequited. But Salu T J, wherever you are, we wish you all the very best.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Of Amoebiasis and Rang De Basanti

BBC gal Upasana Bhat is going great guns. With four bylines already, the Kashmiri lass is creating waves with her stories - the latest being the Rang de Basanti controversy.

She's just watched the Aamir Khan-starrer and found the denouement a tad too violent for her liking.

On the personal front, Upasana is recovering from a bout of amoebiasis. Hey UB, we wish you a rocking February.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Of River Rafting and Mount Everest

It is difficult to imagine Aparna Nair with safety harness et al perched precariously on a clifftop.

Well, she hasn't climbed Mount Everest yet but would love to do so if she got the chance. Aparna professes a love for trekking and in her own words has "done quite a lot of it".

And she's really jealous her younger brother is presently in Rishikesh having a go at river-rafting. Her lifetime ambition - trekking all the way to Kailash Mansoravar.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Of Secret Flings and Refused Assignments

Thud! That was the sound of six people hitting the ground in a dead faint. Shemin Joy had just refused an assignment. 'I am a bit busy today' was the excuse.

Later, the 'Breaking News' guy was spotted in a restaurant coochie-cooing with a girl.

Well, Shemin is not in Delhi right now. But when he comes back from Kerala, you better be prepared for the worst.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Of Bouncy Hair and Hairline Fractures

Swaty Prakash, whose haemoglobin count had gone for a toss just a few months back, has resigned from Hindustan Times and is presently nursing a hairline fracture in hometown Patna.

Don't fret, Swaty says she will be back in apna Dilli by February.

Meanwhile, reports of the Bihari lass being spotted in the office are absolutely baseless. The truth is one of our new trainees is the spitting image of Swaty - with bouncy hair and disarming smile to boot.

Wotsay Swaty - wanna come and meet your doppelganger?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Of Holidaying Mallus and God's Own Country

Remember how Mallus stick together? Well, they also seem to holiday together.

December saw a mass exodus of office Keralites wending their way to God's own country. While yours truly was holidaying in Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram, Annie Samson was sharing the Christmas spirit in Kochi.

Once his tsunami assignment in Tamil Nadu was over, Sovi Vidyadharan also made a beeline for Kollam to snatch some precious moments with his family.

And don't forget The Hindu girl Anima Balakrishnan, who left the confines of Coimbatore to catch up on what's hot back home in Kozhikode.

Aparna Nair was also in south India, although for different reasons. What with hubby Ananth recovering from hepatitis, she spent most of the month in a Chennai hospital. Sangeeta was there too, albeit busy setting up house after her recent
transfer to the city.

The only exception - Shemin Joy - who left for Kerala earlier this month and will only be back in Delhi on February 7.