Off the record


Of course, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee is known for her steadfast refusal to use even government vehicles.

But BJP’s national vice-president and former Union minister Bijoya Chakraborty seems to be a step ahead on the simplicity count. While she does own a car, one hot summer day this week saw her frantically trying to hail an autorickshaw to get to Parliament. The reason? The Guwahati MP’s vehicle had not reached to pick her up from the Constitution Club, a joint for MPs, and she had to reach Parliament to attend the day’s second-half proceedings.

Without an attendant, which again is an oddity for a senior leader of the main Opposition party, Bijoya, of course, failed to convince any of Delhi’s notorious ‘autowallahs’ to take her to the short distance. Luckily for her, finally a young party MP from Rajasthan spotted her and gave her a lift to Parliament.
Utpal Borpujari, New Delhi

When man ate dogs
When champion American hot dog eater Joey Chestnut gobbled up 68 of the delicious sausages to alter his own record in New York, last week, it came as a pleasant surprise for his fans and friends.

What Joey may not have imagined in his wildest dreams is the benumbing effect his feat had on some scribes in God’s Own Country.

A widely-read mouthpiece of a leading political party in Kerala frontpaged the news with a picture showing the champion munching what should have been cooked sausages made from meat slurry, famously called hot dogs. Alas, in a classical gaffe, the ‘hot’ vanished in its Malayalam translation and Joey ended up devouring 68 dogs in 10 minutes!

Apparently, the comrades who were totally in the dark about a ‘hot dog’ had no qualms about believing that ‘imperialist’ Americans could pull it off. The daily promptly published an apology the next day.
R Gopakumar, Thiru’puram

Kalam’s mantra
The popularity of former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam has not diminished one bit even after demitting the august office. In Bihar, the missile man still remains a big draw.
Recently, at a school in Patna, a student asked him, “When was it that you faced the most difficult situation in life?”

Pat came the reply: “When I was in engineering college and my teacher asked me to revise the design of my integrated project, as otherwise he said he would stop my scholarship. I had to work hard day and night to satisfy my teacher.”
This prompted a student to ask Kalam, “Nine out of 10 students want to be like you. How do I become like you?”

“Develop good friends… only good books can be your good friends. As you grow up, interact with great minds and discuss with your teachers in schools,” was Kalam’s recipe for success.
Abhay Kumar, Patna

Self-praise
Politicians love to hear others heaping praise on them. But with Uttar Pradesh chief minister and BSP supremo Mayawati, it’s the other way round.

Mayawati, it seems, loves to indulge in self-praise. She recently brought out a booklet describing the life and contribution of Dalit icons like Narayana Guru, Jyotiba Phule, Chatrapti Shahuji Maharaj, B R Ambedkar, Kanshiram and, of course, Mayawati towards upliftment of Dalits.

The booklet appeals to the Dalits across the country to follow the path shown by these leaders. The booklet also lists the sacrifices made by Mayawati for the Dalit cause. No wonder the BSP supremo finds nothing wrong in erecting her own statues alongside other Dalit icons.
Sanjay Pandey, Lucknow

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