Getting your spellings wrong can be considered a travesty in a tweet or Facebook post. But when the School Education Department, which is responsible for correcting and grading some 25 lakh kids after their board exams every year, gets a spelling wrong, who’s going to ask questions? When the Class 10 results were released this time, the stack of sheets with toppers’ names printed on them had two new additions 1) Blind Candidates 2) Deaf and Dump Candidates. Dump, not dumb. Let alone the fact that they are referred to as differently abled these days, this showed a rare disregard for getting their major spellings right, on the part of the School Education Department.
Though that might be considered a one off, plenty of spellings of normal South Indian names seemed to have plenty of extra i’s, a’s and n’s. While the ones from Puducherry could be explained by the traditional French style of nomenclature still followed, it didn’t quite make sense for students studying in places far removed like Ramanathapuram, Salem and Kanyakumari. Either they got their names spelt wrong, or a whole lot of people are believing in numerology and name change again.
Caught in the Crossfire
Imagine a reporter caught in a crossfire for no fault of his. It happened one fine day when four men from the BSNL Union met this reporter. “Do you cover BSNL?” asked the Union member, introducing him as Mathivanan. The reporter said yes.
He then pulled out a Tamil daily and pointed out at some allegations referred against him. The reporter said that he was not from the vernacular daily and had no idea about it.
“I will check and let you know,” was his reply. He called his counterpart from the Tamil daily who confirmed writing the report. He handed the phone to the Union member and stepped out. Heated exchanges ensued between his counterpart on the line and the Union member who used abusive words. The reporters in the newsroom, incensed by the behavior of BSNL Union members, warned Mathivanan to behave. The issue was resolved when they walked out. “Sir, you should have sent them away,” a colleague said to the reporter, who couldn’t have agreed more.
Where is Your Balance?
In all the hype over the companies rushing to adopt newer technologies to make their businesses better, some seem to be forgetting that those same technologies have other implications — that it is changing the way they need to hold press conferences, for example. A reputed and highly popular manufacturer held a year-end press conference recently — one in which they continued to carry out the age-old practice of not distributing balance sheets to journalists before they begin, ostensibly because it takes time to print out a few sheets. The same excuse did not sell this time though. Hardly 10 minutes had gone into the meeting when one journalist managed to download the whole balance sheet from the BSE website and lo! Hidden inside is a `224 crore write off that the company conveniently forgot to put in its statement. Well well well, better to have saved yourself the embarrassment and given out the balance sheets a lot earlier, don’t you think?
All For (their) Good!
Two hours and fourty minutes. That’s the time this reporter and a photojournalist had spent, waiting for an event at a posh hospital in the outskirts of the city, to begin. It is all because of the rain, said the organisers.
Approximately four hours had been wasted in travel and waiting, we thought, until the adage ‘everything happens for one’s good’ literally came true.
A badly-polluted waterbody in Velachery, near the venue, caught our attention on the way back. In no time, the team was engrossed in work, speaking to residents and officials, and the report that appeared a day later prompted the local officials to swing into action. A day that began dull had turned bright, not just for the journalists, but for the thousands of residents who were looking out for ways to get their problem sorted out for years.