sheriff doesn't have to flash a badge or be faster on the draw. She might
have to sing at all official ceremonies, though. That's how the banter
went at the institution of Kolkata's new sheriff, singer Suchitra Mitra,
last week. At 76, the feisty, free-spirited exponent of Tagore songs is
ready to take on a new role. "One never stops learning," she
told a crowded Calcutta High Court sheriff's chamber. "I think this
is going to be one more new experience for
me." As an artiste, Mitra should be grateful her new job doesn't
have a nine-to-five schedule. There's not much workload either: she has
to merely put her signature on arrest warrants and court documents. But
as Kolkata's first woman sheriff-there hasn't been one since the post
was set up in 1774-Mitra sees her commitment to women's empowerment as
a priority. And there's an annual privy purse of Rs 20,000 for charity.
lot of money for a titular figure. Kolkata and Mumbai are the only two
metros that still have a sheriff, but neither seems to want to do away
with the post. "You can't just wish it away," says deputy Biswajit
Mitra. "It's instituted under the High Court Original Side rules."
It might be less complicated to keep it. And having Mitra around certainly
Of A Workshop
TRICKS: Mumbai IITians compete to master the art of computer hacking
wonder if we're doing the right thing, giving them such ideas," says
Vinayak Borkar, with the air of a magician who's just revealed his best
tricks. But substitute "tricks" for "hacking techniques"
and you have a small army of wannabe hackers. Brimming with insights offered
by Hacked, a hacking workshop at IIT's three-day Techfest in Mumbai last
week at their, close to a 100 computer geeks gleefully slid behind keyboards
and roared off on dubious cyber pathways. The task? To be the first to
break into a LAN (Local Area Network) in a three-hour open hacking session.
Second year student Sandeep Bala was the first (in 45 minutes) to yell
"Crax" "Eureka" in IITianese. But the organisers weren't
happy with him though and revealed that "he bypassed the lab systems
and simply went to the main computer centre and did his work from there".
Talk of ethics at a hacking session.
HARMONY: It was one of those rare concerts at Chennai's Music
Academy. For father-daughter sitarist duo Pandit Ravi Shankar and Anoushka
Shankar (below), it was their first performance together in the city,
organised by M S Subbulakshmi's music and dance resources institute Samudri.
The younger Shankar belted out compositions "the way she was taught",
prefacing one in faultless Tamil: "Now I am going to play a keertana
as a tribute to my mother. Pardon me if I err." When the maestro
took over, Anoushka looked on reverently. "I thought it unnecessary
to introduce Anoushka," said Shankar as an afterthought, "you
all know my darling daughter well." The applause said it all.