Infocus

  • Right Connections..!
    Robert Clements In our great country not many awards are won through merit or hard work, most are won through right connections! The stationmaster of the local suburban station came and stood by me, leaving his office in the capable hands of his assistant, “ There’s an award for the best kept station,” he whispered to me, spitting a wad of red betel nut leaves onto the platform. “Interesting,” I said as I watched the red juice flow over the concre
  • Unlearning During a Lockdown
    Simone Galimberti Inter Press Service Children all over the world are having tough times while coping with the consequences of the pandemic but the circumstances affecting them in the Philippines are even more daunting. The learning crisis that has been affecting millions of vulnerable children deprived of their education throughout the lockdown as schools remain shut, is probably its most visible example whose resolution will require strategic vision, long term commitment and a
  • Jes' Keep Playin'..!
    Robert Clements Players win, players lose, players prepare, players practise, players get hurt but players get up. No matter what the outcome is, players keep playin..!. After years of hard work, Thomas Carlyl finished the manuscript of his book and gave it to a friend to read. The friend's housekeeper mistook the manuscript for trash and threw into the fire. When she got the news, Carlyl's wife couldn't hold back her tears. His friend stood trembling, and Carlyl h
  • Amazing Spectacles..!
    Robert Clements If I’ve started writing late today, it’s because I spent the last hour or two, searching for my writing glasses. Now there’s something about searching for them;  you need another pair to search for this pair, and somehow or other, the spare pair which I keep handy for such occasions, disappears on such occasions! Which brings me to the fact that some manufacturer has a gold mine waiting for him, if he makes a pair which appears when you want
  • Green Grass on the Other Side..!
    They were quiet as they came back from their neighbour's house with their little one fast asleep on his father’s shoulder; they’d gone over for dinner, and the husband had noticed his wife growing quiet as the evening progressed, “What’s the problem?” he asked her as they let themselves into their own house. “Nothing!” said his wife quietly. “Come on, out with it,” he said gruffly. “What’s the use, you&rsquo
  • Said Zahari: Unsung Mandela of Press Freedom
    Jomo Kwame Sundaram Inter Press Service  Have you ever heard of a workers’ strike or similar labour action for press freedom? And how long do you think it lasted? A day? A week? A month? And where and when do you think this happened? Workers strike for press freedom Six decades ago, in 1961, Said Zahari, the editor of the Malay language daily, Utusan Melayu, led a strike of journalists and other employees. The protracted strike, in both Malaysia and Singapore today
  • What Politicians Who Lost Are Doing..!
    Since elections are over I decided to visit some of those who had stood for the elections and lost and find out what they were doing, “Where is your husband?” I asked the wife of an independent candidate, who had lost his deposit in the last ten elections he had stood in. “Busy preparing his victory speech!” she said, a pleased look on her face. “But he’s never won till now?” I asked surprised. “He gives the speech to all who vot
  • She Won in Nandigram..!
    Robert Clements Yes, Didi did! Most often battles are won by valiant and brave fighters who give up their lives to win a war. An army advances but from a particular vantage spot a sniper shoots relentlessly at the same forces, pushing them back, and gunning down their best, one at a time. At that anxious moment, some brave trooper steps out, walks up to the commander and says, “I’ll take that sniper down!” “You’ll lose your life!” says th
  • Is It Well With Your Soul?
    Robert Clements One of my saddest moments at any concert was hearing a quartet of four men, singing, “It is well with my soul” It wasn’t the song that made me sad, nor the way rendered, it was the fact that one among them had lost his young daughter and was still there with his three friends proclaiming to the world, that even in grief, his soul was in tune with God. There are times, when we want to sing, that it isn’t too well with our soul, when we feel
  • Little Woman..!
    I don’t know what the results are going to be tomorrow, with exit polls varying in their proclamations but whatever it is, we in our country will not forget the picture of a small, diminutive woman fighting against the mighty power of the centre, with all its army and machinery to boot. She did not balk at the size of the opponent, but decided to fight head-on! And with the fight turning physical, even had to campaign on a wheel chair, but campaign she did. The world is ful
  • Just Another Woman..!
    She was beautiful! She was Pakistani! She strolled over to where I sat, on the banks of the St Lawrence, just before it rolled into the Great Niagara. “May I sit here with you?” she asked. “Sure,” I said and made place for her on the wooden bench. We sat still and watched the giant river, and in the distance the mighty roar of the majestic falls. “Are you going back to New York?” she asked. I nodded. “May I travel along with you?”. I n
  • Rise Up and Win..!
    Robert Clements And as Covid lays low, not just lives but jobs and businesses and there is a feeling of despair all around, I decided I would fill today’s piece with quotes from those who spoke about failing, getting up and fighting, again and again and again. “Our greatest glory is not in never falling; but in rising every time we fall!” Oliver Goldsmith. “Courage and Perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties and obstacles vanish
  • No Victory Processions..!
    Robert Clements The three men looked at each other fearfully, “We are being called murderers!” whispered the chief to the other two, “How ever could a court call us that?” “Next, they may hang us!” said the junior of the three, “I have an allergy to ropes, especially when they are round my neck!” “Your allergy might last just a few seconds!” opined the third man. “I don’t want to die!” said the juni
  • Speed Breaker Psychology..!
    “In our country,” said the important looking official, from the transport department, “the speed breaker is a symbol. Do you know the kind of training the speed breaker makers undergo? “No,” I said. “I thought they were just ordinary masons.” “Ah, how little you know,” said the official passing a group of road repairers and giving them a smart salute, “they are a special team. See that man with the red cap in the middle,
  • Partnership or Settling Her Down..!
    “Bob, please look for a suitable boy for my daughter!” said the voice of an old friend of mine on the phone. “So your daughter has finally decided to get married?” I asked surprised. “No, but I want her to settle down!” said the mother. Settle down! What a sentence; more like a death sentence than anything else; it’s like saying that whatever she’s been doing till now has been wild, uncivilized and barbaric, and now since thos
  • Living In A Lousy Place..!
    Robert Clements He was a cheerful fellow, with a wide grin as I came out of the airport. “Rough flight?” he asked. “You bet,” I said as I got into his car. I was there to address a group on the role of the press, I looked around at traffic jams and crowded roads and said, “My Bombay’s become a lousy place to live in, how’s it over here?” He chuckled and asked. “You want a story while I drive?” “Shoot!” I said an
  • Lockdown Evolution..!
    With the second major lockdown being imposed all over, there is a growing concern among renowned doctors of WHO, which after Donny Trumps frequent outbursts against it is not taken as seriously as they were once were. I chanced to be there in my imagination in one of their meetings. “I foresee evolution taking place!” said the orthopedic member of the prestigious organization, “As man starts sitting in one place for such long periods, slowly he will not need the us
  • Not Just Fancy Legs..!
    "Doesn’t he love showing off his fancy legs!" I said loudly at the park last January. Loud enough for my companions to hear and they sniggered as the bald man in faded white T- shirt and shorts walked by at his incredible speed. The weather last January had been cold with temperatures touching 8 degrees and we all walked our morning rounds in our tracksuits and woolens dragged out from boxes, generally opened only when going abroad. It was a little later in the day
  • Change Your Frying Pan..!
    Every once in a while we see someone with a far of look in their eyes, jaw locked with resolve and face steely with determination. The world laughs as they try to sell some far flung, huge, unimaginable idea. And then when we have all but forgotten them they appear again, millionaires or billionaires who have succeeded because they thought big. When Henry Ford decided to produce his famous V-8 engine, he chose to build it with the entire eight cylinders cast in one block, and instru
  • The little I know of late AM Gokhale, IAS (Retd)
    Dr Viu Meru Dimapur Blaise Pascal, the French mathematician, physicist, inventor, philosopher and theologian is supposed to have said that we should not expect to meet more than one or two honest people in our life time. I think I met one in the late AM Gokhale IAS (retired), even though I cannot say I know him well. He was someone who made you feel good and comfortable in his presence. As he is gone now, I am remembering two encounters with him that made lasting memories for me. H