Informed and inclusive, child activists show the way ahead

At a recent event where child activists were vehemently asking for poll candidates to take up issues concerned with child rights, a 13-year-old, son of a fisherman, was seen jotting down furiously in his notebook. Not only did he answer journalists’ questions, but simultaneously noted down most of what was being said during and after the press meet. He said he would go back and discuss the proceedings with the other children who are part of their association. “We keep all the children informed,” he said. There is faith in democracy if this is our future!

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Sometimes, even the slightest slip of the tongue could result in hilarious outcomes. Lighting a lamp marks the beginning of many programmes in the city. But this traditional practice found varied utterance last week. One person (who takes care of media relations in a hospital) called up to inform the photographs of the chief guest ‘lamping the light’ had been e-mailed. Almost two days later, a speaker at a function requested the chief guest to come forward for the ‘light lamping,’ not once, but twice.

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Boarding a suburban train at the last minute can be tricky in Tambaram, especially for people who are new to Chennai and suburban travel. Despite repeated announcements in Tamil, Hindi and English that ‘the train on the platform is headed to the shed,’ many commuters board them, unaware these trains do not go to the city. On Tuesday morning too, a couple of men boarded the train that left platform No.1. Subsequently, they got down at the EMU car shed and walked back along the tracks to the platform and boarded the next train to Chennai Beach.

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Former chief election commissioner N. Gopalaswami, while speaking at a photo exhibition on Thanjavur Big Temple, said many tourists from India visited other countries and on their return, praised the tourist spots and monuments in the foreign country lavishly. “What they do not realise is that some of the world’s finest monuments and greatest examples of architecture lie in the backyard of their homes here,” said Mr. Gopalaswami, adding that in India there were so many monuments that an individual could visit less than 25 per cent of them in a lifetime.

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The temptation to pose for the camera can overcome the best of us but some take it a step too far. Competition was tough at a corporate quiz event, where participants conversed with the seriousness of CEOs during the break. One woman participant was evidently excited, and also keen to have photographic proof of her participation. She quickly approached one of the official photographers with a request to have her picture taken in front of the posters advertising the event. After this was done, she quickly exclaimed, “Oh, but don’t publish these in your newspaper, just email me all of my pictures!”

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During summer, an airconditioned bus is a treat for any passenger. Recently, a group of passengers got into a bus on route A-1 and one well-dressed man was particularly happy to find the bus empty. He occupied a seat in the back and stretched his legs before complaining about the poor cooling in the bus. When the conductor approached him for the ticket, he continued to rant and threatened to lodge a complaint at MTC’s headquarters. But his face fell as he dug into his pockets for his wallet. In a short while, his belligerent attitude gave way to hushed tones. He meekly told the conductor he had forgotten his wallet and opted to alight.

(By Asha Sridhar, Serena Josephine M., K. Manikandan, Jasmine Fern and Vivek Narayanan)

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