Reporter’s Diary is a compilation of interesting vignettes that reporters carry back from their time on the field.

There are enthusiasts of all kinds who want to join the Aam Aadmi Party. On Kaanum Pongal, when the party decided to hold a volunteer recruitment drive at the Marina, 52-year-old Manickam Selvam was among the first to get to the venue.

“Only Kiran Bedi can save this country. She is like Indira Amma. I want to travel and tell people to vote for AAP so that we get a strong leader like her,” he stated. Attempts by this reporter to convince him that Ms. Bedi is not part of the party he was volunteering for, were in vain. Declaring that: “if Anna asks her, she won’t refuse to lead the country,” he put on his cap that said, ‘Aam Aadmi Party’ and walked away.

All kinds of lifters

Authorities at maternity hospitals exercise caution to prevent the abduction of newborns. While some post additional security personnel near labour wards and post-natal wards, others have installed surveillance cameras.

But a government maternity hospital in the city opted for a straightforward method to caution mothers and their families. At its recently-opened building, hospital personnel pasted notices in Tamil asking patients to beware of child lifters, literally – kuzhandai thirudargal jagirathai, reminding one of those signs in MTC buses asking commuters to beware of pickpockets.

Studying is important

Accepting an award recently in the city, doctor-turned- musician L. Subramaniam recalled his college days in Madras and how it changed his life.

“I realised I would be a useless doctor by the time I was in my second year. My father was a flexible man and agreed for me to drop out. But it was my mother who forced me to finish my studies. I am grateful to her for that. Education has helped improve my thought process and analysing capacity,” he said. It took a few minutes for the audience’s applause to die down for him to continue with his speech.

The dark side of politics

While students at a city college were enlightened about the Indian election system during a seminar, they also got to learn about the dark side of politics and politicians through some interesting anecdotes and statistics.

Narrating his conversation with a politician, former chief election commissioner of India, N. Gopalaswami said: “Some of them are ready to give Rs. 80 lakh to get a seat in the elections. I asked the politician how they manage to spend so much. He replied that it was simple arithmetic. Once they win the elections, they would have letter pads with their names and sign blank sheets. These sheets will serve as recommendation letters and will fetch them money.”

(By Serena Josephine M., Vasudha Venugopal and K. Lakshmi)

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