Vannarpet Coonoorian: Stray Thoughts on Social Snobs (2nd September
At out-of-town parties and social gatherings when people learn I
belong to Coonoor, I tend to draw more attention than other out-of-town
guests, say, from Cuddalore or Namakkal. "Oh, you're from Coonoor?"
they ask with envious interest...
Baba (26th August 2002)
I had this vision of a beedi-smoking Rajnikant (or was it
a cheroot that smouldered from his mouth) stepping out of this film hoarding
at Periyanayakanpalayam bus-stand and breathing down my neck with the
chant, "Maya, Maya"...
Street Dog Named Walker (19th August 2002)
Yes, we are a dog-mad clan. I must say I married into one. Before
our wedding, my wife had a dog named Bhutto. Whether or not Bhutto is
remembered in Pakistan, the name is part of our family history...
Literary Legend, a Lifetime of Poverty and Deathbed Poetry (12th
Chintamani Triambak Khanolkar was his name. "Magazines would
not accept his initial poems," said Wardekar, "perhaps, because
his name didn't sound literary." The pseudonym - Aarthi Prabhu -
helped sell his works...
in My Life (5th August 2002)
Prabha Behl, the other female reporter from my early newspaper days
was a go-getter; rose up to be chief reporter of The Hindustan Times.
She had the potential to break out of fluff reporting...
Our Sacred Cow Got Nailed (29th July 2002)
Ignorant of Shastri's special status, in my early days with TOI
news desk, I took liberty with his copy, cutting out the literary foreplay
from a news story on zero hour hungama at the UP assembly...
Tenant at Rashtrapati Bhavan (22nd July 2002)
We now have a President who delights in browsing at airport bookstalls
and chatting with the sales staff. The question is: would Dr. Kalam be
able to, nay, would he be allowed to, do his thing...
Speakers (17th June 2002)
At the Marble Arch end of London's Hyde Park there is a corner meant
for soap-box orators. I was a regular there, initially as a passive listener
and eventually, a back-row heckler, on Saturday afternoons in the 'swinging'
London, With 12 Shillings in Pocket (10th June 2002)
The work permit listed my occupation as 'journalist'. It took me over
two years to get a job on a British newspaper. Till then I did an assortment
of odd jobs...
The Last Resort of a Flunky (3rd June 2002)
I suppose a poor academic track record - low second division in BA
(Hons.) and a high third in MA - had something to do with my becoming
a journalist, if only because it effectively ruled out most other job
Punjab Beat (27th May 2002)
Admittedly, a Chandigarh dateline gave one visibility in high places.
Not evident, however, was that behind those bylined stories was usually
a much-harassed reporter who spent long and, at times, futile hours working
the phone and tapping reticent news sources...
Coonoor Connection (20th May 2002)
In the normal course I would not have had occasion to make contact
with Edwin Good in Melbourne, Kathleen Reilly in the UK, Jamshed Batliwala
in the US or with Nina Varghese in Chennai. The thing we all have in common
is a Coonoor connection...