FOR THE leaders of the All India Railway Licenced Porters’ Association, it appears, holding a press conference is quite a trade union activity. When its key leader walked into the Press Club the other day, his assistants had brought two huge flexible placards made using computer technology — measuring some 4 feet by 6 feet. One was tied by the side of the dais the other at the entrance. You could not miss the photographs of three office-bearers on them who were to address the press. One had the name of the organisation and the venue of the event. You had no clue to what the event was all about.

Well, it did not surprise reporters because this was not the first such instance. But what could not fail to surprise some of them was that the digital placards — locally known as flexes — were hung in a couple of places in Frazer Town too.

You get a fairly large “flex” made with your photograph and your message for a mere Rs. 200.

No wonder you have flexes at every corner with the photographs of leaders wishing you on every occasion.

Now take this: A youth from Palace Guttahalli decided to capitalise on the release of the film Sivaji. He has put up a flex near the Cauvery cinema on Bellary Road.

He had a sweet wish to make: “Let Sivaji run for 100 days.”

Wonder how easy it is now to become popular in your area.

A grand introduction

WHAT IS the meaning of “None other than…?” You had to ask this question after attending the recent fashion show organised by the Indian Institute of Fashion Technology at the Chowdiah Memorial Hall. The master of ceremonies kept on introducing every student designer with the phrase “none other than…” Those who thought that the phrase is apt to describe well-known persons had to correct their dictionaries. The students, however, needed no introduction (the pun is intended). That was because two giant screens on either side had the picture of the student who designed the clothes being displayed by the model on the ramp, had the student’s name in bold and had a little text on what had inspired the student. The emcee could have added value if she could throw some light on the behind-the-scene struggles of students who did really put up a good show.

Watching a superstar

WITH EVERY flick of his hair, every swagger of the hip, every pop of a mint (that now replaces cigarettes), Rajnikanth was applauded with claps and hoots. A Rajnikanth movie can often not be heard over the din of cheering fans, and sometimes not even seen through people who erupt from their seats when their hero breaks into a song — but it is always and unfailingly, experienced. So, a group of reporters discovered, on a rare and belated visit to Urvashi cinema to see Sivaji — The Boss.

Blurry eyed after a full days work, the group were finally all in their seats by 10 p.m. (a good 20 minutes into the movie), to be released into an extravagant world of make believe. Here Rajni, evergreen at 57, danced, sang, flew, turned into a white man, changed wigs, got his colour back, stopped bullets on their track with willpower, laid village roads by just walking down them, taught goons a karate lesson. The value of escapism can never be underestimated, not least for the jaded journalist.

GOVIND D. BELGAUMKAR, DIVYA GANDHI AND SWATHI SHIVANAND

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