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Tuesday, Sep 18, 2007
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Rakshasas then and now

 What is the difference between rakshasas of yore and those that exist today? The former had many heads and ferocious features. The latter look benign in their suit and tie. But their job profile is roughly the same, according to Vatal Nagaraj. Giving away awards to a random set of people at a programme organised by a private organisation to mark the birth anniversary of Sir M. Visvesvaraya, Mr. Nagaraj was his usual entertaining self. While rakshasas moved mountains and drank up rivers, the suit-clad rakshasas make tanks and other water bodies disappear to make way for housing layouts, besides eating up cement and sand meant to lay roads. To compare engineers of today to Sir MV, as the discussion following the award ceremony was supposed to do, did not make any sense, he said. Mr. Nagaraj even suggested a wonderful solution to fight corruption among engineers: make an extra allocation for “other expenses” along with every “official” allocation. Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Krishna, who was among the awardees, sat looking completely non-committal.

Crime and punishment

 The city is never bereft of incidents of crime on a given day. There is usually an accident here, a stabbing there and everyone in a newsroom is content that the city and its days are the way they know them. But, when this reporter came to office on a night shift, a grim-looking boss and an agitated crime reporter relayed the most disturbing bit of information: there was not a single instance of crime reported in the city that day. Not a single incident! What this means is that the usually nonchalant night reporter had to be on alert in case someone decides to mar the peaceful day. Numerous calls to police control rooms elicited no titbits. Television news channels ran some soft stories about this and that. Calls to friends in other newspapers also did not help. Finally the clock struck one and the night shift ended, needless to say on a restless note, dreading the next day’s newspapers.

Bageshree S. and Swathi Shivanand

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