Reporter's Diary

Out the window

Lessons learned in school on cleanliness literally went out of the window on Anna Salai on Sunday.

The driver of a black Ford Ikon registered in Tamil Nadu (the registration number was barely visible as the word `Ikon' was splashed in grey all over the number plate) threw out a bunch of leaves and leftovers at the Arts College signal.

To make matters worse, when the signal turned green, the driver sped through traffic, throwing caution to the winds, jumping from the bus lane to the car lane, weaving in and out of the traffic.

A wise guy

The shortage of small change can be a cause for irritation for some bus conductors, but on a 45 B bus bound for Anna Square, it provided some moments of laughter for passengers. A passenger boarded the bus at the Teynampet stop and gave a five-rupee coin for a Rs. 2 ticket. "Give me the exact change," the conductor said; the passenger searched his wallet and pockets and found that he had only Rs. 1.

"You either get down if you do not have the change or give me five rupees and collect the change from me tomorrow," the conductor went on. But to the passenger's pleasant surprise, he seized the five-rupee coin, gave the ticket and returned the balance, albeit with a bit of grumbling. Just then, another passenger flashed a ten-rupee note for a Rs. 2 ticket. "Do one thing. Get down here, have a tea and smoke nearby and take a bus to Anna Square tomorrow," the conductor said, to laughter from the passengers.

When the bus halted at a stop, a lady asked if the bus would go to the "Triplicane pallivaasal." The conductor paused for a moment and replied: "The bus goes to Triplicane. From there, you have to walk to the Pallivaasal," as passengers including the lady, burst out laughing.

No excuses

Traffic policemen in the city surely must have heard plenty of excuses for violating rules, but this one was certainly out of the ordinary - the motorcyclist didn't even bother to offer the mandatory excuse.

At the SIET traffic signal, a man jumped a `no free left' sign, to be promptly flagged down by the police. The motorcyclist got down from his vehicle, pulled out the keys and told the policemen: "Please keep the keys and my motorcycle but let me go now. I am in a great hurry. "I am working in a temple and have the keys and I have to open it. Please take whatever action you want but let me go now."

He gave the keys and began walking away to take an auto-rickshaw. "I will come later and pay the fine," he insisted to the bemusement of policemen and onlookers.

A tough time

It was a police function. Yet, the going was not easy for mediapersons covering the raising day celebrations of the women police battalion. After being asked to assemble at Kalaivanar Arangam, their names were noted by personnel there and the bags of photographers were checked. Later, separate passes were given to reporters and photographers, including those who possessed accreditation cards. At one stage, reporters who were seated inside the police van, sweating it out, asked the personnel to get going. At the venue, they were asked to go through a doorframe metal detector and were taken to the Press enclosure. A large number of mediapersons do not go to the venue on their own to avoid the hardship of being driven from pillar to post to gain entry on such occasions.

They're still useful

These used tyres seem to have found some use again (see picture). They at least warn road users of an impending danger. Besides being a signal for motorists to avoid the spot, they also signify the neglect shown by the civic authorities towards such a potential disaster spot. This particular one is at the Walltax Road and Amman Koil Street junction.

(Contributions by R. Sujatha, K. Manikandan and K.T. Sangameswaran.)

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