Off the record

Mamata goes media savvy

Media persons have often borne the brunt of Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee’s sharp tongue. 

But she is all set to change her ways at least in dealing with the media. Of late, she seems to be taking extra care of journalists.

This change was first noticed at the Economic Editors’ Conference when she distributed sweets to journalists. Most of those who have been covering the conference for years were truly surprised.

At another gathering at the house of Minister of State for Health Dinesh Trivedi, she not only mingled with media persons with all cordiality, but instructed Trivedi to take care of journalist’s health.

“Give your recommendations for a better health facility to journalists”, she told the minister. With an eye on West Bengal’s assembly polls, Mamata may have realised that keeping media in good humour was not a bad prescription for her political health.

Anil Sinha, New Delhi

Castles in the air

The Lalu-Nitish spats have become the talking points of ongoing electoral tussle in Bihar.
Fresh from a three-day break after the Chhat festival, Lalu Prasad, launched another attack against his arch rival saying November 24 will be last-day-last-show of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

“Nitish has been inauspicious for Bihar. During his rule, every year the state had to face either flood or drought. He is like a newly-wed bride, who initially appears good, but once she starts staying at her ‘sasural’ (in-law’s house), one comes to know about her true colours,” remarked Lalu as the audience was in splits.

Addressing another election rally in naxal-infested Aurangabad, Lalu said, “When I was the chief minister, only six districts were naxal-affected. Now, it’s 32 out of 38 districts… Just wait for a fortnight. I will form the next government and script a turnaround story for Bihar in a similar way as I did for Indian Railways.”

Nitish Kumar was apparently not amused by Lalu blowing his own trumpet. “Laluji is free to build castles in the air. These days even the media doesn’t take him seriously,” the JD(U) strongman quipped.

Abhay Kumar, Patna

Chinese love Mandarin

Is Mandarin a difficult language to learn?

Not so if you are a Chinese! That is how China’s Consul General in Mumbai, Niu Qingbao, responded to queries about Mandarin being an extremely difficult language to learn during an interactive session organised by the Bangalore Chamber of Commerce and Industry last week.

“Well, Mandarin cannot be a difficult language  in any way. After all, one-fifth of the world’s population speaks it fluently and effortlessly”, Nu said, tongue-in-cheek, making the audience burst into laughter.

With this quip, Nu also effortlessly deflected a question about the Chinese people’s general lack of proficiency in speaking in English. For the 1.3 billion inhabitants, Mandarin, it seems, is good enough to dictate terms to the world.

Muthi-ur-Rahman Siddiqui, Bangalore

Speaker’s block

An inaugural address ending with a vote of thanks stumped the audience at the Krishi Mela-2010. The speaker, Dr K Narayana Gowda, Vice Chancellor of University of Agricultural Sciences, seemed a bit confused as he wound up his inaugural speech by saying, “With this I complete my vote of thanks...”.

After a few audible chuckles among the audience, the VC realised his mistake and corrected himself. Earlier, he had tied himself in knots during a laboured speech in which he was attempting literal translation of common official designations to Kannada.

Sandeep Moudgal, Bangalore

Comments (+)