A weekly column on stories that didn’t make it.
Hot and cool
A reporter spotted this ‘Flask Hospital’ on the fringes of Kutchery Road in Mylapore. Open since 1961, M.Balasubramaniam, who runs the store now, sells new flasks and also repairs them. He says, “We have some spares that you don't get anywhere else in the country. Anything related to a flask and you can come to us.” You can call him at 97907-20675.
Given the number of upper crust launch events Chennai is throwing nowadays, it is imperative for hacks to carefully read invitation cards for dress codes before heading out to one. Failure to read the one for Conde Nast Traveller India’s second anniversary resulted in this journalist turning up in jeans and sandals and, in the midst of the Armani-suited Hugo Boss-drenched swish set, looking like something dredged up from the Cooum. He’d made the same mistake earlier, turning up as a result of persistent phone calls, to the opening of the Louis Vuitton showroom, only to find himself the subject of curious glances that seemed to say, “Now, what is he doing here?”
Lights, camera, change…
Rummaging through my wardrobe is something I do on a daily basis. But little did I know that I would be stuck poking around a good-looking sports person’s cupboard just before an interview with him. He sat there sporting a disarming smile and a grey T-shirt. I thought he looked fine but my photographer didn’t. “That T-shirt won’t work against the background pa. Please change. Bright colours, bright colours,” instructed the photographer with the authority of a sergeant. The interviewee came back in a white T-shirt and was sent back again. After numerous such fiascos both the men looked at me almost beseechingly. The pen and notepad were promptly kept aside and the next few minutes were dedicated to getting the sports professional a perfect outfit for the photo shoot. Sigh!
Immediately after a discussion about dirt-track racing, this reporter sat down to writing an article on another topic — “Issues Around Cigarette-smoking”— against a tight deadline. He inadvertently introduced menthol cigarettes as methanol cigarettes. Now, as most racers would know, methanol is used as a fuel in certain forms of dirt-track racing. And, it is highly toxic!
Shoot me if you can
Recently, I returned after a bird-watching trip to Kumizhi — an island of green, near Guduvanchery — with an impressive field-list of birds, but extremely bad photos in my digital camera. With a mid-level point-and-shoot at my disposal, I was hardly equipped for a session of wildlife photography. But I can’t be excused for not taking sharp pictures of a peafowl (see pic) that showed up within the limited range of my camera, more than once. “The bird was walking in and out of the bushes, often 10 to 15 yards from me,” I told a colleague, clued into bird-watching procedures. “But your pictures suggest the peafowl was light years away,” she said, laughing. “That’s something I don’t understand. Whenever it came out of the bushes, I would advance towards the peafowl for a close shot. To my disappointment, the bird would quickly retreat into the bushes,” I explained. Bursting into laughter, she said: “Precisely why you did not get good pictures! You were chasing away the peafowl!”
Mobile in a coffee mug?
This reporter was at a book launch, where the author requested the audience to keep their phones on silent mode. A couple of minutes later, one of the phones began to ring loudly and the man took a few minutes trying to find it and fumbled with the button to mute it. The author, meanwhile, told him, “Another way to do it would be to dip it in a mug of coffee.”