Well not quite really. But this is how Sudhish Kamath, who is hardly ever in the office, would like to imagine it

“Ready to get trounced?”

“Oh! you can’t beat a midget playing TT.”

“I’ll make you eat mud!”

“I can stick the bat up my socks and still beat you.”

Over-confidence takes its toll and the loser gracefully admits in a part-Kung-Fu-Panda-part-Balls-of-Fury Chinese accent: “Your master Shifu taught you well, Gweilo!”

Since it hasn’t been clearly proven who is a better player (Ahem! Also, because this is being authored by me), we shall not name who exactly beat who because winners and losers change all the time. Hehe!

There’s one constant winner – Prince Frederick, affectionately referred to as Master Shifu – the only one who can beat even Boss when he really sets his mind to it.

And you can tell when that happens. Prince becomes a picture of concentration, becomes extra-competitive, a far cry from the saintly Master who throws matches away just to encourage us. Like how he played with his left hand the other week to let me beat him.

Shonali learnt TT way back in school but still, even if occasionally, loses to younger TT players (Well, she has been a TT player for more years than most of us and hence “older”). Divya “Why-do-people-think-I-am-a-boy-reading-my-byline?” Kumar who picked up the game around the same time as me too manages to beat me most of the time.

Hence, my favourite whipping target is Priyadarshini Paitandy, the youngest of the lot, who until a few weeks ago hadn’t beaten any of us. But these days, even if rarely, she manages to do to us Goliaths what little David did.

“Shows how much TT you guys have been playing,” says Boss, after losing that rare match to Prince.

One hour ago.

The weekly Saturday Metro Plus meeting is on. A printout that lists out the stories we filed the previous week is read out. It’s like that report card Shonali would have liked to hide way back in school when she flunked yet again. (What? She never flunked? Too bad. This is my story)

It’s the quiet Prince who always tops the class, having filed the most number of stories given his weekly commitments (the columns: Man and Machine, Things People Keep, Mush Register) apart from his regular set of stories on birds and eccentric people. Always missing from all our social outings, this workaholic has a standard mock excuse: “A married man has many problems”.

Needless to say, Boss is always pleased with Prince, especially since he takes on the burden of that Memories of Madras column that requires us younglings to be familiar with people over the age of 65.

Divya too cheerily chips in for that column (which makes some of us want to rename the supplement as Retro Plus on Wednesdays) when she’s not covering events around the city. Any event on art, music or books, you can be pretty much sure it’s Divya who’s covered it.

Shonali has her plate full too with food for her weekly column The Reluctant Gourmet and the odd-restaurant review. Let’s just say it may not be a good idea to accompany her to over half the hangouts in the city unless you don’t mind spit in your food.

Yours truly has the cushy job of watching the latest movies to review for Cinema Plus. But yes, I also have a couple of weekly duties for this supplement – compiling Round and About/Metro Tweets and profiling a new rock band every week.

Paitandy giggles full-time when she’s not colour-coordinating her wardrobe before every assignment and prepares to shop for sun-tan even if she’s just been asked to check if it’s raining or not. When Miss ‘Parrys’ Hilton is not too busy with her desk-work, she also does trend stories and interviews.

During these meetings, Shiv Kumar, who co-ordinates stories for Metro Weekend, brainstorms with Boss and the rest of us for city-bred personalities we can feature on the cover. Everyone gives a list of stories planned for the week, along with intended deadlines and not all stories suggested make the cut.

And every morning, the desk waits for the promised stories to arrive with the pictures to make the page.

The desk takes on the responsibility to clean up, assign captions and headlines to stories hurriedly sent in at the last minute, often leading to some tense moments that ultimately require the Boss to intervene, make peace or pull up the defaulter.

By one p.m, the page is laid out and sent to the press to be printed and the stories are also simultaneously sent to the Internet Desk with photo options. While the writers then breathe easy, the desk begins every post-lunch session planning the page for the next day, laying out those few stories that have miraculously arrived on time. Most of these are from our ever-reliable freelancers and columnists.

Okay, why does this seem to lack the detail associated with our regular A Day in the Life Of… column?

The truth is, the author rarely gets to work on time before the rest of the team packs up for the day. So he wouldn’t, for the love of God, know how these things work.

Anyone cares?

It’s Saturday again. Another meeting, another brainstorming session.

And I’m asked to write this since everyone else has serious work to do. Meanwhile, I can only think of one thing.

One hour later.

“I am gonna introduce you to a world of pain... You are going down?”

“Oh yeah? Bring it on”

“Eat this, Joker. The Bat-man’s in the house.”

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Shonali MuthalalyMay 11, 2012

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