Monday, May 18, 2009

Bloopers in print

Scene 1
Place: Room No. 42, Airlines Hotel, Bangalore
Characters: R, U, M, K and me
Time: 12.30 am
(three on the bed, M on a chair. U is leaning on the wall, R reclining, K and me sitting cross-legged. Scene opens in the discussion)

U: (lights a cigarette) Mistakes happen everywhere yaar. There are enough stuff to write a book on it. (leans on the wall)

R: (sits up on the bed, smiling) Listen, jab mein Express mein tha, tab I was put on sports pages once. Two days I did fine. On the third day, there was this shooting match in Hyderabad. There was this guy Rathore, there was Narang... and Narang scored a second. I made the page, and was stuck with the headline. I typed ‘Rathore roars, Narang loses.’ White space phir bhi baaki tha, so I typed ‘Narang disappoints.’ Even then there was white space, so I typed ‘Narang disappoints again’ and increased the font size. The next day, my news editor called up. (changes the tone, says animatedly)
"Ram, Narang had scored yesterday. And you say disappoints?"
"No sir!"
"He had won national and international tournaments before, and you say disappoints again?!!"
"No sir!!"
"Will you do this? Again?"
"No sir!!!"
(whole group laughs)

U: (smiling) Ek baar na maine ek photo pe gapla kiya tha. In DC. Ram Reddy had bought 5 two-seater jets. So we published this photo of a firang and Reddy standing in front of an aircraft. Maine page kiya, showed it to the seniors, and send it for printing. I was in an auto on my way back ke Olga ne phone kiya, "arre, you’ve put the caption wrong. Ram Reddy is the right wala guy, but you’ve put it left!" Man! I asked the autowala "turn kar turn kar" and rushed to the office.

R: Tu ne K ka Sania story sunaa hai? (turning to K, smiling) Bol na.

K: Bataa, tu bataa.

R: There was this one-day match in Hyderabad, theek hai? And our K went to cover it. Now, there were sports reporters to cover the match, toh he had to pick the side-stories. Toh he decided to go for the celebrities who came to the match. Nagarjuna tha, Venkatesh tha, yeh tha, woh tha.. (a small pause) Sania Mirza thi. Copy file kiya, print nikla. The very next day, there was another statement from Sania Mirza, from Delhi! She was playing a match there!

K: What happened is that I saw a spectacled girl in the VIP section, who looked like Sania. I checked with a Telugu newspaper guy and he confirmed it: "Ya, ya, Sania was there." Phir maine socha ki will check the photos in the office and confirm. I was back in the office and was busy with some another stuff."

U: (interfering )And it went unnoticed.

K: Nahi, everybody knew it. They knew it. But nobody made it an issue. They were short of staff, so they didn’t want me out. Koi aur hota toh he would’ve been screwed.

Me: Even I also had made such a thing. When I had joined DC as a trainee. What they made me to do was international pages. (looking at U) You know how that is, right? (U nodds). Delhi se aata hai, you just have to change the masthead from AA to DC and the placeline. The page came, I changed it, showed it to seniors and sent it to print. Next day was my off. I came the day after, they showed me the page. Top story, eight-column banner headline "Iraq prepares for attack." It was supposed to be Israel, not Iraq!

Me: And a week after, a new girl came for a test and interview. After the test, she came, sat near my desk and picked up the very same paper from the pile. "Iraq prepares for attack? Can’t be. This is a mistake," she told me. "Ya, there is a sub here. Stupid. It’s his handiwork."

M: There are bigger goof-ups in these stringer copies. Once, when I was in Kochi, I got this copy of an elephant creating ruckus. The story went like this "The elephant went into fields, did this.. that.." and last sentence was like this: "...and the elephant went back to sleep!"
(gathering is roaring with laughter)

Me: Two weeks ago even I edited something like this. It was about somebody committing suicide over the LTTE issue. The line was "the deceased person was arrested earlier for committing suicide on the same issue!"

R: (giggling): Really?

U: See (lights a cigarette) I told you na. There are enough stuff to write a book on it. (leans on the wall)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Back to inch 14

Finally, the last piece, the 29-inch TV, was packed this morning. We had an instant replacement: our 14-inch grainy, tiny Khind. But there was a huge gap in the TV cabinet. And after six-month-long big-screen TV watching, our tiny Khind seemed even tinier. Size does matter.

Interestingly, both the TVs were bought by Aby. Khind was our solitary source of entertainment when we moved into our present home. We were happy with the grainy pictures within the 14-inch frame. Then Aby and Mithun went for a mega electronics shopping. With marriage due, Aby chose a good offer of a TV-DVD player-home theatre system combo for 15K. And that changed everything.

The tiny Khind was dumped next to the newspaper stack, and we never bothered to dust it even once. Music, movies, even TV programmes were booming in good-quality sound. Then Aby’s marriage was confirmed. DVD player and home theatre system was packed on Tuesday. We saw programmes big-screen for one last time on Wednesday morning.

We always knew that the set would go to Aby’s new home, but actually seeing Khind taking over the TV cabinet was a little hard to digest. Looked like a squirrel in a bulldog’s kennel. Why do I feel like turning philosophical?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Empty rack

There are six racks in our TV-stand cabinet, three each on each side. The topmost one on the left was emptied the day before. Seeing it empty, I felt uneasy. It was Aby’s rack.

Departures from our original family is nothing new to us. Vinod, a.k.a Thomman, left first. After passing some months in a call centre, he got a job in Baroda, and was later transferred to Mumbai. Then Raku left for Doha, to be under the shelter of his family.

But then, we never felt the void. Lal and Jeeson replaced the first two vacancies. And there lies the problem. Replacement may come for Aby, but our home would never be the same. (And with him, leaves our big-screen TV-home theatre system-DVD player trio, our present source of entertainment!)

Me, Mithun and Aby met at MASCOM, when we had absolutely not idea of what’s waiting for us in the future. He moved to Madurai, Mithun to Kochi and me to Chennai. The only thing that he knew then was that his girlfriend would be his wife, come what may.

Then, by coincidence, our career lead us to the same organisation. Mithun landed in Bangalore first, he next, followed by me. And we moved to this house. What makes him different is his uncanny ability to irritate. No matter how calm and composed you are, you are sure to blow your fuse, once he starts enjoying irritating you. That had a major role in making our den ever-lively.

He’ll lose his 'bachelority' this weekend. Another phase in his life, we are part of his run to make that phase easy, or rather less tough. Seeing this, the only thing that comes to our mind is the unknown pack of cards waiting for us. And like photographer said once, the cards choose us.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Summer showers

Mid-summer showers...

Branches bowing with the weight of mangoes...

A hand playfully moving between the serial drops...

Droplets streaming down the eyebrows, cheeks...

All these are pulling my mind miles away...