Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Nightshift: Soren's resignation

Tuesday, November 28. 11.17 pm.
Pages were almost finished.
Editor: "OK, Whoever is on night…"
Me: "Me ma’am"
Editor: "OK, This Shibu Soren might file his resignation tonight…. Do you know the issue?"
Me: "Ya Ma’am. He’s convicted in a murder case."
Editor: "OK. So we have to expect a resignation. Keep a watch on the tickers and the TV."
Me: "Yes Ma’am"

11.50 pm.
I was before the TV, watching Boman Irani recalling his days with Sanjay Dutt during the shooting of the Munnabai series, comfortably seated in the visitor’s sofa.
Chief sub-editor: “Hey man, what’s going on?”
Me: “Waiting for Shibu Soren’s resignation.”
And we began a long chat on his former paper, our office and life.

12.11 am.
Got the first print. Headline read “Soren convicted in murder case” I dialed the Editor’s number.
Editor: "Hello."
Me: "Ma’am Chandu here. Got the first print, the pages seem OK. No sign of Soren’s resignation yet."
Editor: "OK, keep watching the tickers."

12.30 am.
No luck with the tickers. Googled “Shibu Soren Resigns” and found out an astonishing 13 full stories, including a front page one in The Hindu! Gone, I thought. We haven’t received even one copy.
Suddenly I noticed the dateline. 2004. That was when the #()$^@% resigned earlier, I heaved a sigh of relief.

1.14 am.
Our sports correspondent, my roommate, screamed, “Dai, Breaking news da! Soren resigns.”
I frantically began searching tickers and news websites. Finally grabbed the detailed PTI ticker.

1.32 am.
Editor: "Hello"
Me: "Ma’am, Shibu Soren resigned."
Editor: "OK, what does the PTI copy read?"
And the page changing began. After five minutes, the headline read “Soren held guilty of murder, resigns”

Friday, November 03, 2006

Chennai rains

The night sky in Chennai was clear on Tuesday: Half moon, stars, and not even a single wisp of clouds. And I almost thought that the cyclone that moved to the Vizag cost swept away the monsoon from Chennai. It took just a day for the rain-god to come back. And I walked in to my office, drenched.

Situation was not better back home, either. During my three-day escapade to my Kollam, I felt one of the strongest doses of Northeast monsoon in many years. At first, I was a little reluctant to get wet. Change of ways, maybe. Chennai rain is something that you would like to enjoy within the safety of your shelter.

But on the second day, rain left me and my bicycle with no choice but to enjoy the shower. Cycled from Chinnakkada Junction to my home, with the rain chasing me during the 5km stretch. I was so drenched that the water from the well back home seemed warm to me. Our crime reporter, a malayalee, remarked later: “Allengilum naattile mazha nanayaamallo.” (You can safely get drenched in the rain bak home) But many residents of my place didn’t enjoy the rain at all. Low-lying areas were flooded. Water reached even the sanctum sanctorum of the Thirumullavaram Vishnu temple, which was considerably high from the sea level.

There was a village pond in the now busy junction next to my home. The geography of the area was such that all the rainwater would flow down from the surrounding areas to the pond. Later, the panchayat decided to fill a part of the pond to set up a market place. Gradually, the pond was filled completely except for a piece of what you will see as a mud-hole. Now, every year, the place becomes flooded due to the blocked natural rainwater channels.

Same was the case in the areas that were rice fields once. An entire strech of about 10 hectares of rice fields, shared by many, is now transformed to a residential area, flooded every year during the monsoon.

Back in Chennai, the situation was different except for the cause of flood. The drainage in city is set up to dump the rainwater and the sewage to the two rivers, Adayar and Cooum, and they would eventually dump the entire lot in the Bay of Bengal. But the amount of solid waste, especially polythene, was so huge that the drainage system was blocked in several places, causing the roads to flood whenever the rains show their might. The low-lying areas were the automatic victims of the downpour.

How I wish to be back in my home when it rains…………

(By the way, it's been a year since I started blogging. Srini was the one who introduced me to blogging. Irregular posts, random thoughts, and 365 days.. Happy anniversary to my space in the internet!)