Anonymous letters are always a threat to government officials, and one such letter landed via email with Express, recently. The content of the mail was crisp and it alleged that transfers in Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) were done on the whims of the company’s top brass. Express reported the matter with the official version from HAL. The report triggered a hunt within the company for the person who leaked the news. Friendly calls were made by some officials to the journalist to find out the source of the anonymous email.
A PR man from HAL is said to have gone around media houses to check whether more such emails had gone out. He had also dished out a threat over the phone to the correspondent who wrote the article. “We have met your editor and we will not respond to your queries. We will ban you from our list,” he said. Result: No press releases to newspapers writing facts!
A reporter's life affords many a light moment. One such came by when an Express reporter had to cover an event where notebooks were being distributed to children at an orphanage. Since, the reporter took early morning violin classes, she went to the venue directly after her class carrying her violin with her. As she entered the venue hall, the organisers came rushing up to her and said, “Hurry up, the rest of them are here,” and led her into a room where children were tuning their musical instruments. Much later, the organisers confessed that they had confused the reporter to be a member of the choir, especially because of the violin she was carrying. They were really embarrassed while the reporter could only feel amused at being mistaken for a choir girl.
It was a methodical Friday for this reporter until three in the afternoon when she was jolted out of her dream world and thrown in the air. This is how it happened. After covering a news event on MG road, this reporter took an auto to her office on Queen’s Road. The autorickshaw driver turned out to be a reckless one. Even after repeatedly telling him to slow down, he continued to drive as if he was racing.
When we reached the India Coffee board, he made a grave mistake. He missed a speed breaker and as a result the auto went flying in the air and came crashing down. The force of the fall caused the tyres to puncture and the auto turned turtle. The reporter was too shocked to react, at first. Gradually, people gathered around, lifted the auto and helped the reporter out. Fortunately with only a few scratches on her leg, she limped back to my office. But before leaving, she managed to put the fare in the driver’s pocket. All he could say was a meek ‘thank you’.
By all accounts, the corporate office of Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation on M G Road has the look and feel of a sarkari one. Furnishing is sparse, files of dog-eared documents lie piled up and that frenetic activity you would expect of a nodal office is conspicuously absent. In absolute contrast is Philomen Raj, the marketing manager. He is a man with not a moment to spare and he makes it clear. As soon as you enter his cabin, you are bombarded by several notices that say, “Time is precious for you and me’, plastered on the walls and on his desk. Accompanying them are notices exhorting honest work ethics. Then there are blown-up graphs showing sales performance. If all of this doesn’t make you automatically speed up your conversation, there’s Raj’s matter-of-fact talk to ensure it. You can’t argue with a man who is so involved in his work that he walks about the office in his socks.
(Inputs from Anantha Krishnan M, Akshatha Shetty, Saloni Mittal and Aparna Chandra)