Not On Assignment

A journo's jottings under no deadline pressure (since Jan 1, 2010)

Archive for June 2010

My mid-career decision

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Had just uploaded my latest pictures to flickr. Good friend SM took one look at them and declared, “You should have pursued a career in photojournalism!”
In fact, at one stage of my career I was in a dilemma about choosing between journalism and photojournalism. Journalism won mainly because, back in those days, photographers were very badly paid.
Later, the take-homes for photogs started shooting up but by then I was deeply entrenched as a khabari kutta (which is what cousin DK of Scotland calls me). Simultaneously, the cost of photography, including raw stock and processing / printing went through the roof. I had to pack away my Nikon F3 in the attic.
But now cheaper digital photography is here. And all kind of shit is being passed off as photojournalism. I am sure I am a million times better than the so-called modern ‘photographers’.
A very valid reason for me to pick up the camera more often, no?

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June 28, 2010 at 7:04 pm

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All eyes on the son

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If you can trust them to keep their eyes on the road even as they talk non-stop, taxi and autorickshaw drivers can be wonderful sources of interesting stories. Here’s one my autorickshaw driver narrated two evenings ago:
“I am from Allahabad but I don’t mix up with these bhaiya types. I have always brought up my family in the midst of Gujaratis, Punjabis and Marathis.
“I drive 12 hours every day. It’s back-breaking but there’s no other chaara. I have my own family but yet I support my four younger brothers. They all work but don’t save anything. Saaley mujhe nonch dete hain.
“About five years ago, I had a regular passenger – a school teacher whom I dropped home every evening. The fare was Rs 30 per trip but she used to pay me Rs 1,000, sometimes Rs 1,100, at the end of the month. It was good money.
“One evening, as I was driving on a lonely stretch a little before her house, I told her, ‘Teacher, if I ask for something, promise that you will agree to it.’ She must have thought ‘Lagta hain iski neeyat bigad rahi hai‘ for she immediately replied, ‘First tell me, what is it that you want from me.’
“So I told her, ‘My son is in the seventh standard. He needs some guidance. Will you please teach him every evening for an hour? In return, I will not charge you anything for these rides.’ She immediately agreed.
“My son studied under her guidance for four years and topped his school in the 10th standard. He is now doing a computer hardware course in Nagpur.
“I have a distant relative working in xxxxx (names a leading Indian IT company). He has promised to absorb my son as soon as he passes out.
“I am very proud of my son. I am also very happy that he will not have to drive an autorickshaw and break his back for a living.”

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June 27, 2010 at 11:11 am

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Run Neera run! (NOA Salutes – 4)

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The Sunfeast Run is a popular event organised by Procam International (the people behind the Mumbai Marathon as well as the Delhi Half Marathon). This year’s was the third edition of the race, held in Bangalore. There were two main categories – The World 10K for Elite runners and the Open 10K for Non Elite.
I am happy to report that my friend Neera Katwal won the 3rd place in the Open 10K (non elite) women’s category (age 15-39 years) with a time of 0:49:11 and received a Bronze medal and Certificate.
She had been training for the event for some time but not very seriously. “I feel I could have done better as my personal best is 0:48:20. There is still scope for improvement since I have started running long distance only in the past one year. I hope to improve with time.”
Neera, who has won some half marathons and one half ultra (25K), works out six days a week. Apart from running, she also does weight training thrice a week and some cross training like cycling, aerobics and swimming.
An M. Phil in Psychology from Madras University followed by a Ph.D in Organizational Behaviour from IIT Madras, Neera is in the process of becoming a fitness consultant. She plans to set up her own workout studio soon where she will train people in workouts that incorporate dance, aerobics and martial arts.
A black belt in karate, Neera concludes, “It feels good to have come in the top three among thousands of competitors. And it is motivating me to become a more serious runner and competitor.”

Written by Raju Bist

June 26, 2010 at 11:49 am

Ma aur maika!

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MT is a family friend based in Jaipur. His sister was going to Udaipur to appear for a competitive exam. So her mother, a diehard Rakhi Sawant fan, tagged along. While her daughter was giving the exam, the mother discovered that the actress was shooting nearby for her new reality show Rakhi Ka Swayamvar. So she managed to sneak in and become a part of the TV audience.
The next day, she dragged her daughter along for the shooting.
On the third day, the father landed on the sets and dragged away the mother-daughter duo to Jaipur.
Upset, the mother promptly packed her bags and left for her maika (parents’ place).
Her husband went a few days later and brought her back
MT adds: “Mom does this whenever she has a spat with Dad. Often, she will round up four-five neighbouring ladies and then set off on a pilgrimage to Hardwar or some other religious place.”

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June 25, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Lessons not learned

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The monsoons have still not set in Bombay but the city that never prepares is already reeling under the impact of the first showers.

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June 24, 2010 at 9:10 pm

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Delhi diary – 2

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Everywhere I went, the big question was: Will we be ready in time for the Commonwealth Games 2010?
There were two very contrasting reactions:
1) “No way, there’s still a lot to be done and time is very short.”
2) “We’ll be able to make it. Only one major stadium is being built from scratch. In all other cases, the ones prepared for Asian Games 1982 are be refurbished.”
But Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit is still ‘nervous’ about the preparations.

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June 23, 2010 at 8:16 pm

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Love story, interrupted

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Ranjit is the son of a small scale industrialist. Preeti is the daughter of a bank clerk.
They met in a cybercafe. Amidst clicks and downloads, love blossomed.
They went steady for a year and then planned getting married. Her family agreed. His objected.
“We are from Punjab. She is from Gujarat. She will not be able to adjust in our family,” his parents argued.
Ranjit and Preeti went around for another two years.
One day his father, Maninder, told him, “It’s high time you got married. We are going to look for a girl from our community!”
The next day, Ranjit and Preeti stood in front of Maninder and his wife.
“We will get married only to each other. If you don’t agree to that we will never get married for the rest of our lives,” they declared.
The parents relented.
Six months into the marriage, Preeti told her father- in-law, “I am getting bored sitting at home.”
Maninder called his childhood friend Trilok and got her a job in his chemical factory.
Preeti bumped into her ex-flame Haresh who was working there as a supervisor.
Old passions were re-kindled.
Late one night into the second shift, Trilok caught Preeti and Haresh in a ‘compromising position’.
Ranjit and Preeti got divorced.
Preeti and Haresh got married.
Ranjit now spends his evenings at the Exotica Ladies Bar.

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June 22, 2010 at 11:59 pm

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