The year that was.
When the city stood as one
The public hearing at the UT guest house on December 23 turned out to be quite an event. For once, the City Beautiful, long reviled for its “cold and unconcerned” residents showed that it has a heart, and a very warm one at that. The guest house played host to a sea of people, who included schoolchildren, out to save their city. The bureaucrats, who had called the meeting a little after lunch were visibly stumped and went into a huddle to decide their future course of action. A little bird tells us that they even requisitioned some warm brownies to brace up for an earful from the gathered residents. Needless to say, over 90 percent of the people put their foot down and said they did not want the flyover. The feeble whimper of opposition came from a motley group of BJP workers and some people with decidely pro-party leanings. But while the nay-sayers had a long list of reasons, carefully presented on slides and reams of papers, the pro-flyover lobby came empty-handed. If the Latin saying that 'Let he who shouts the loudest be heard first' holds any water , the nay-sayers should get their way.
Babla: Friends without benefits
Guess who was the lone wolf at the meeting? Well, it was none other than councillor Devinder Singh Babla. The rabble-rouser for Congress party decided to join hands with BJP on this issue. A little bird tells us his reasons are very personal -- his SUV does not like the Tribune roundabout. The minute he takes it there, it stalls. But other, less charitable people have started wondering if he is building bridges with parties other than Congress. You see, last month, he put up a picture of Gurpreet Ghuggi, the Punjabi comedian and former AAP leader, striking a pose with his family at Babla residence. Or is he just being sab ka dost.
Minister with lips sealed
We don’t know what is with Haryana sports minister Sandeep Singh, but he seems a tad too jumpy about the media. Before the elections he kept his distance from jounos during his campaign. His fans made excuses for him, saying he was a man of few words and was not adept at political lingo. But it’s been a while since he was anointed a minister and he still runs scared of the media. At an event in Panchkula earlier this week, he kept the media brigade at bay even though a large part of the function was a televised address by the chief minister. Finally, they decided to boycott the meet. A person in his inner circle says the newly-minted politician was directed to keep his lips sealed by the people at the top when he joined. And they seem to have forgotten to unseal him. Being a disciplined sportsperson, Singh clams up the moment he sees the word ‘Press’.
The boxing bureaucrat
There is more than art and culture to Vijai Vardhan, the Haryana bureaucrat behind the restoration of the Mughal Gardens at Pinjore, and the annual heritage festival. The suave officer is also quite handy with the boxing gloves. The other day, he decided to remove his sweater and try a few punches. Guess he was plum pleased with his ring practice, for he was quick to share his picture with well-wishers. Vardhan sure is fighting fit at 58. Salman Khan, you have competition.
Of a runaway buffalo and P’kula cops
The Panchkula police seem to be taking a leaf out of Britain’s poet laureate ST Coleridge—remember the lines “He prayeth best, who loveth best, bird, beast and man.’’ Only that can explain them painstakingly uploading an FIR about a runaway buffalo. Sources in the police say our soft-hearted Haryanvi cops were touched to the quick when an indignant farmer approached them to lodge a complaint about his runaway buffalo. The doe-eyed beauty, he told the cops, had been making eyes at a neighbouring ox for a while. The other day when he was away, the bovine uprooted the peg and eloped with the hunk. The cops, who are often reluctant to register an FIR in cases involving homo sapiens took no time to register this case. Talk about being partial to cattle. Who says Haryana needs any gau rakshaks?