Thursday, February 24, 2005

Discovering Delhi

I've been going off on jaunts along the history-infested bylanes of Delhi with my flatmates. (It's been two years and the only places I've seen here is the Red Fort, Jantar Mantar and Chandni Chowk). Here's what we did last week:

National Rail Museum - it's places like these that really tell you what India could have been like in the 1930's or early 1900's. There's cutlery dating from 75 years back, sofas upholstered in the old style and even the commodes are revelation! There's also a fair bit of information on how the Indian rail network came to be. And of course, there are the trains. India's first steam engine, last steam engine, and personal coaches belonging to various Rajahs. All immaculately preserved - which in India means - lots of dust, cobwebs, rats, a few pepsi cans and some discarded chocolate wrappers.
The toy train was worth it too...

Great Indian Rock - okay this isn't exactly history, and it was more like the Great Indian Ruckus. Most of the bands were either trying to sound like Metallica, Obituary or Limp Bizkit in their own compostions or playing covers. The good bits were John Myung of Dream Theater fame playing his bass and the Norwegian band 'WE' with their heavy grinding groove and a frontman who spoke in heavily accented English.

Mughal Gardens - a part of the Rashtrapathi Bhavan, this garden is only open to the public in February and March every year. It was a fairly instructive experience. I actually got to see these actually look like - Damask Rose, Pansy, Daisy, Lily, and Lemon Grass. Found out that the very English sounding herb Basil is actually Tulsi and got to take home a Brahmi plant.

For this week, the plan is to visit Humayun's Tomb, Coronation Park and would you believe it, the Delhi Zoo. Let's see how long we can keep this up.

Friday, February 18, 2005


Just trying some template changes...pray this works.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Chow chow baat

Just like criminalenglish, I've been throwing my all into cooking (including the kitchen sink). But in my case, this new found affliction is just a month old. I've tried my hand at rasam (moderately successful), chapatis (modestly successful), rice and dal. And I've managed not to poison anyone so far.

My last off-day (Friday) saw me measure distances in Connaught Place the kunda way. From KG Marg to M block is just one bag of popcorn away. M block to A block takes one vanilla ice cream cup. McDonalds is just one Chocolate truffle pastry away. And munching on a small bag of french fries takes you all the way to the auto stand.

By a curious coincidence, today's the day I start jogging.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

'Owning' a breaking story

Senior journalists, who've covered just about everything, are often prone to having sudden flashbacks. Whenever that glazed look comes over their eyes, you can almost see that anecdote coming to life..

And in the course of such reminiscences, some of them talk about 'breaking stories'. Atleast twice in my short career, I've been waylaid by some boss who told me the importance of 'owning' a story. That is, you break it first, and then pull out all stops to ensure every aspect of that issue has been brought out. And of course, it has to be a story your rival channel/newspaper hasn't bothered to highlight.

Today we had a chance to to do something like that - Narain Karthikeyan announced that we would finally be getting to drive a Formula one car this season. A colleague of mine had figured out that something like this was happening and we had our coverage plan ready, right down to hourly breakdown through the day.
But the system had to cock up - an overhead broadcasting van wasn't at the press conference when Narain announced the news, BECAUSE someone higher-up had decided the story wasn't worth it. And of course we missed it, only to see our rival channel splash it all across their channel.
After 24 hours of preparing backgrounders, stings and a whole production/broadcast plan - we'd been pipped to the post.

I was of course furious - we'd been beaten at our own game. We'd missed the chequered flag, were last to breast the tape and so on. But I don't suppose our audiences noticed anything...

Isn't there supposed to be a lesson somewhere in all this?