A weekly column on stories that didn’t make it
When this reporter asked a journalist-friend for an environmentalist’s number she received a business card on her phone and saved it. After fixing up an interview in a remote part of the city and landing up at the environmentalist’s home she was greeted by a tattoo-sporting, tom-boyish young woman. A few minutes into the interview, the reporter realised much to her horror that she had arrived at the wrong person’s house — a namesake of the environmentalist.
This reporter and her interviewee once had a game of hide and seek going on. When one called, the other was busy and vice versa. This went on for a day or two before both decided an email interview was the best option.
It wasn’t easy for Ustad Zakir Hussain to handle the crowd that besieged him backstage at The Music Academy. Interestingly among his crazy fans were many young women, who were insistent on knowing the Ustad’s next stop in India to catch up more with his frenzied tabla-playing. The Ustad known for his wacky sense of humour said, “Don’t you want to know how old I am? When they giggled at his comment, he quickly added, “but seriously, it’s you guys who push me to move on and of course, shop for some nice kurtas too.”
Rewind and play
After a candid interview with an actor, this reporter filed the story. That evening, the actor panicked and made a couple of people call to check if the reporter could run the quotes by him again.
“We don't share the story till it appears on print. But please assure him that he’s been quoted verbatim since the interview is in the Q&A format,” the reporter assured the person making the request on behalf of the actor. Not convinced, the actor called himself finally.
“Hi, I understand you can't share the story before it appears but I just wanted to know how you've quoted me,” the actor asked.
“I recorded the interview. So I transcribed it and quoted you verbatim.”
"Oh, I don’t remember seeing a recorder. So just wanted to check,” he clarified. "”It’s fine then,” he added politely.
Irony. Given the sensitive content of the interview, it’s the recorder he had to worry about. Not the reporter’s memory.