RAMYA KRISHNAMURTHY writes from Bangalore: The quiet revolution at The Hindu in Bangalore continues. With Parvathi Menon taking over as chief of the bureau, the door has reportedly been shown to her predecessor Arakere Jayaram. Informed sources say the paper’s editor-in-chief N. Ram telephoned Jayaram today and indicated that the time may have come to part ways, and the rumour on Infantry Road is that Jayaram, whose encyclopaedic knowledge of current (and past) affairs is legendary, may have decided to seek voluntary retirement at the end of this month.
KANCHAN HARIHARAN forwards a “poem” that was written when The Times of India first decided to “charge” its clientele for editorial space, a couple of years ago. Author unknown. ‘Frankie’ in the verse is the venerable late Frank Moraes who headed the daily for many years after independence, when the Jains took over the management of the paper.
THE OLD LADY OF BORIBUNDER
These were signs of the times, they said
When the good guys saw the bad ‘uns tread
Ground that was for eons thought sacred
Don’t do it, they beseeched, they pled.
The old lady of Boribunder
Charming and graceful she was known to be
For a century she strode a world of disorder
Taking the day, the month, the year with equanimity.
Til the boys moved in with a facelift to her breast
Turning the old hag into a harlot.
The old picture on the wall, of the Editor with the pincenez
Frowned at the rouge on her cheeks—it wasn’t becoming her regal lot.
Old Frankie had seen first the tearing down of the Grecian walls
Then they got the stink out of Laxman‘s quaint cubicle
The cash registers rang with the whistles and the catcalls
As a whole new generation got the sales up in a twinkle.
Aw, Shucks! said old Frankie
Whot are they doing to dear girlie
Can’t we see, he wailed, that it’ll spell her demise, apart from living misery
Isn’t there something called editorial sanctity?!
The old guard sat and watched, bemused
Oh, those good TamBrahms and paan-chewing bhais were confused
‘Course, they didn’t dare quit a good thing when it was a-goin’
They shrugged, and carried on, to their fortunes a-clingin’
Even as the old lady’s flagged and soured�
Only, they couldn’t spit no more on the elevator floor�
Old Wagle still trudges to the Press
To serve the grand old dame as he has, from the fifties
From working the treadle and now the CNCs
For half a century.
And as the forests of Borivli
Gave way to the monstrous Muscovite matchboxes
Bombay moved from the stately town with a soul
To a mealy-mouthed Mumbai that had starch on its shirt, dross in its heart.
The bad boys chomped on their cigar at the Land’s End lobby
As another landmark, The Taj, hosted them sullenly.
Well, the new-gen blew its cheeks and monies
With poverty lurking in the soul, and no discomfort at the sleaze.
And as the Taj looked yonder across the wharf at Boribunder
There was a tug at its heart
At the tear that dropped
From tired Frankie’s old bruited eyes.