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The Buzz in Big Cities

Wedding to wait, Cup final first

This is one boundary many cricket lovers will find to hard to score. Ajit Padwal got his April 21 wedding postponed to watch the April 28 World Cup final, uninterrupted.

Fiancee Rohini, 33, doesn’t share his enthusiasm for the game, but she was gracious enough to give him the go-ahead.

A Sachin Tendulkar fan, the 35-year-old is no ordinary buff — he was a classmate of the Master Blaster in Kirti College in 1990-91, when they were in Class XI and XII.

The couple were supposed to leave for their honeymoon to Kullu Manali on April 23. “There would have been a few ceremonies and a puja. This meant I wouldn’t have been able to watch a match from April 21.

“Initially, the two families didn’t want to postpone the wedding, but I convinced them. If I can enjoy my marriage and the Cup, why not ' Our relatives and friends can also watch matches in peace,” says the Dadar guy. If India wins, the honeymoon might get postponed till the champs come home. Rohini could be on shaky wicket.

Funds rain, not clean water

The prestigious Osmania University women’s college, known as the Koti Women’s College, appears to be going high and dry. Last week, 90 students ended up in hospital after drinking contaminated water in the hostel.

For a college that has drawn the UN’s attention, and a huge grant, for renovation and preservation work, the sight of sick girls being wheeled out was sad. The 110-acre college once housed the Viceroy.

University authorities blame it all on a cash crunch. “The government has reduced its grants and colleges have to survive on their own funds,” says Suleiman Siddiqui, vice-chancellor of Osmania University.

But students, who have filed a police complaint, aren’t convinced. Neither is the inspector of Sultan Bazar police station, which is probing the case under Section 336 of the Indian Penal Code. Civil rights activist Jaya Vindhyala says the hostels should be shut down if clean water can’t be provided. A notice from the state human rights commission has also been sent to the college management.

Licence to cheat

The capital’s much-abused auto-rickshaw drivers are striking back at critics, and by their side are activists best known for their use of the Right to Information Act. The drivers have long been notorious for either rigging meters, or worse, refusing to use it at all.

But, in a city-wide campaign, the drivers argue that the Delhi government’s refusal to increase fares leaves them with little choice but to be corrupt. “How do we remain honest' Salaries of MLAs have doubled (a reference to a recent Delhi Assembly decision),” scream blue and red posters pasted behind the vehicles. The auto drivers also cite the increase in CNG prices to build their case. Fares in Chennai, Bangalore and Pune are higher, they say.

Rakesh Agarwal of Nyayabhoomi, the NGO which made the posters, says the campaign aims to highlight the auto-drivers’ point of view, not condone corruption.

Delicate rescue

The city’s K. K. Nagar area had a surprise visitor recently — an Australian owl. But as the rare guest swooped on a tree, its wings got entangled in kite thread.

Some locals couldn’t bear to see the plight of the bird struggling to break free. They immediately rang up the fire-fighting squad, which rushed to the spot and pulled off what might have been their most delicate rescue.

What was unique about the bird’s appearance was its heart-shaped face and dark, engaging eyes. The firemen took good care of the owl, handing over the winged visitor to authorities in the state wildlife department.

Chennai: Movie buffs have a lot in store this month-end. French films, made by women directors, will be screened by Alliance Francaise of Madras from March 26 to March 30 at 6.30 pm. The venue: Sathyam Cinemas, off the arterial Anna Salai, in central Chennai.

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