The stakeholder meets of the Chennai Corporation are always a delight to sit through. The consultant representative, who is supposedly there to explain the project to the public, acts as if he is a class eight student asked to conduct a seminar session with the teacher watching in the first row. In every meeting, the Mayor interrupts the session only to give tips to the representative on how best to explain to the public. Similarly, there is always a party man (one begins to think if these people are plants) who raises a question and the Mayor tells him to come talk to him later. There are also members of the public, who ask questions that may be irrelevant to the topic under discussion. Such questions are met with denigrating smirks from the officials. During a recent stakeholders meet, there was a moment when the Mayor had to make unlikely friends. A traders’ representative raised a question about small -time traders being affected due to a project when the Mayor, who apparently knew the man very well, interrupted and addressing him by his name said what made the entire room laugh: “Hey, Karunanidhi. Please sit down.”
This reporter was travelling in an auto to office, when the driver struck a friendly conversation with her. When the driver came to know that his passenger was a journalist, his eyes became wide open. He then began narrating a story about his friend, whose wife left him for a younger man and took her two children along. His friend, an orphan, cried and resisted, but was left heartbroken. He was seeking help to get custody of his children. The driver then asked the reporter how to go about it and they began discussing about initiating divorce proceedings. While the reporter was explaining the formalities, the driver all of a sudden stopped his vehicle in the middle of the road and began weeping. When asked why, he replied, “The unfortunate man is not my friend, it is me,” and was inconsolable thereafter.
A company that launched its brand of chocolates in the city recently, had roped in a celebrity to help sell their product in the market. The only problem was that they had gone with the old adage — chocolate boy to sell a few chocolates — while selecting the celebrity. No sooner was he called to the stage, the actor, whose cine market crosses the Hindi-Tamil-Telugu language barrier, chose to make it clear that he was working very hard to shed the chocolate boy image that has somehow stuck to him. “In fact, I am growing this beard and moustache precisely for the same reason,” he said pointing to his very frail moustache. “But then again, I have no issues being called a chocolate man,” the actor added.
At a recent high profile Indian Railways event held in Chennai, where the Railway Minister inaugurated a mobile ticketing platform via video conferencing, zonal Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) officials were conspicuously absent. Casual enquiries revealed that an official invite wasn’t sent to them by the local railway officials, despite IRCTC being an integral part of the mobile-ticketing platform, which is a first-time initiative of the Indian Railways.
Pls Don’t Shoot!
“Please! Don’t shoot! Please! Definitely not while he is crying. Please, it may look as if we have resorted to violent means during interrogation to get details of his network,” pleaded an IPS officer, even as camera crew of media houses were busy recording recovered idols and the suspect at the Economic Offences Wing Office in Annanagar. The alleged idol smuggler was visibly fighting tears, when he was made to sit before the display of eight antique idols worth Rs 77 crore recovered from his possession. “Let’s wait till he stops crying or we can even go for a reshoot please,” begged the officer. The officer even requested the suspect not to cry. After the press conference, the officer guessed that the suspect, who had worked in a movie as a production manager, must be worried about losing the idols worth several crores, which could have even helped him make his own movies. “He would have imagined the idols as his lone ticket to make it big in Kollywood. However, we were ahead of his dream,” the official claimed.