Croak for rain
Sir — The Regional Meteorological Centre, Calcutta, uses the latest technology, bought with public money, but frequently makes wrong forecasts. It had forecast rain on the evening of May 5, causing Calcuttans to bite their nails even more over the fate of the IPL match between KKR and Pune Warriors. But the weather turned out to be nice. I suggest that frogs be used in the meteorological centre’s laboratory. Their croaking is the best sign of coming rain. Using them would be more sensible than relying on expensive machinery.
Arijoy Mitra, Calcutta
Sir — The Telegraph needs to be selective in choosing its interviewers, especially when it comes to interviewing legendary figures like Manna Dey (“Today’s singing has no class. Myself, Rafi, we belong to some other class...”, May 6). Manjula Sen’s interview of Dey was in utter bad taste. Sen seems to have given full play to her mischievous nature by writing frivolously about the maestro’s ailments occasioned by old age and the suffering caused by his wife’s demise. Further, she has highlighted parts of the conversation not relevant to the main topic of discussion.
Sanjay Sarkar, Calcutta
Sir — I have been an admirer of Manna Dey for decades. And yet I find his comment, “Today’s singing has no class. Myself, Rafi, we belong to some other class”, uncalled for, if not chutzpah. Dey is a legendary singer, and given his credentials, can very well be a music critic. But he cannot be both simultaneously. Showing contemporary singers in a poor light goes against professional decorum.
Dey is perhaps caught in a time warp. In the 1970s and before, singing was hardly a performing art — people used to sing reading notations opened before them on the harmonium. Competition was scarce as the number of professionals was restricted, with the managers of a few gramophone record companies and the heads of the All India Radio controlling entry to the trade. The listeners could not decide what to hear — the AIR made the decisions for them. After listening to the same songs every afternoon on “Anurodher Asar”, people started loving them. The lyrics hardly struck a cord in the hearts of the common man.
Dey may brag, but statistics do not lie. Today, when people have unlimited access to CDs, iPods or FM radio, competition is tough. How many times a song is listened to determines its popularity. Did such a concept exist in Dey’s times? After all, how many copies of his albums have been sold? Because “today’s singing” — a phrase of contempt in Dey’s lexicon — can ignite the imagination of common men, they identify with it, and go out in hordes to buy the records.
Tapan Pal, Calcutta
Sir — Having M.K. Gandhi’s face on Indian currency notes of all denominations is, to put it mildly, monotonous. Surely, there are people from Indian history who have, in their own spheres, been as famous as Gandhi had been in the arena of politics? A personality cult is repugnant in any context, and more so in a democracy.
Money is important, but then, I seem to remember reading somewhere that money is the root of all evil. Did we take the supposedly saintly man’s permission before tying him up inextricably with filthy lucre? Besides, would a little variety as to the choice of face do us much harm?
Suranjan Roy, Calcutta