Reporter's Diary

For a better shot

WHEN A MiG-21 aircraft crashed at the city's HAL airport recently, photographers were the most worried lot. They had to capture the accident spot on film and rush back to their offices to flash the pictures to the world. But there was one hitch: The airport premises was out of bounds for them.

So, they did the next best thing. They rushed to the periphery of the airport in Murugeshpalya and tried to zoom into the aircraft debris, which was at the far end. But they could not get the height to capture the full impact of the accident.

It was time to hunt again. So, they went again looking for a tall enough apartment building. All the completed ones were not tall enough. Eventually, they found a five-storey building under construction. In no time, they were on top at the terrace, having lugged their heavy equipment all the way up the stairs. Panting, they went on a shooting spree, before IAF men at the spot masked the debris. The labourers on duty at the apartment building could only stare at the photographers.

Status symbol

NOT LONG ago, people used to show off their pagers as a status symbol. The pager beeps showed them as a class apart. With pagers costing a lot, they had a reason to be proud of their possessions, even if it was all about one-way communication.

Then came the mobile phones. Yet, only those who could afford Rs. 20 a minute calls could afford the gadgets. The heavy cellphones of the early era had an air about them, and those who wore them on their sleeves had layers of airs about them. The poor pagers and the pager buffs disappeared from the streets.

But even as cell phone rates crashed and the gadgets became cheap, there were many who refused to be drawn in. They prided themselves in not possessing a mobile phone. Such people are of course, now a rarity. "I don't believe in a mobile phone. I don't need one," such proclamations now invite attention. And people who make such statements do have a streak of boldness in them.

Insensitive road users

DO WE our "pressing assignments" ahead of the lives of others? Some of us do, if not all.

On Friday, an ambulance lost crucial minutes at Mehkri Circle. Insensitivity of a few was to blame. The ambulance's siren was deafening. A sad-looking man near the ambulance's driver was waving his hands. He was asking motorists to let the ambulance pass. A few vehicle drivers did not care. Was the ambulance's siren too deafening for them? Were the appeals from the worried man too mild?

One jeep driver put his skills to test. A big vehicle ahead of him stopped for ambulance to pass. This driver, like a hero, went hi-speed between the two vehicles. The ambulance had to stop. To save one person's life, you cannot take another's. Our hero's vehicle passed, the ambulance was awkwardly positioned. It had to let even this large vehicle to pass. One could only hope and pray: "May this not affect patient."

Repairing roads

THERE IS a solution for those who lament about the deteriorating state of roads and complain about the inaction of the authorities. Invite the President by arranging a function. You can see you roads attain a good shape. This is what has happened to the Murugeshpalya Road, which is also known Wind Tunnel Road. This road, which leads to defence establishments such as Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment and Centre for Airborne Systems, has been in a bad shape for a long time. The road was full of potholes and the footpaths were encroached upon. Petitions by residents went unheard.

But with the President visiting the ASTE, the road has now attained a good shape. The road is nicely asphalted and the encroachments on footpaths have been cleared. If this strategy is repeated in other areas, there can be no case for the IT and BT industries to plead for infrastructure improvement.

Rasheed Kappan, Govind D. Belgaumkar, Raghava. M