Volleys between two PRIPs
Vanakkam Chennai was full of lighter moments. One was a witty exchange between two giants — two PRIPs — Rajendra Saboo and Kalyan Banerjee.
While chairing a TRF seminar on polio, where Banerjee was given 20 minutes he said he’d rather give his time to the others and put on stage a galaxy of speakers who’ve done path- breaking work on polio prevention and corrective surgery.
One of them was Saboo, and as Banerjee invited him to recount his experiences, particularly in Nigeria, Saboo said, “If you want me to start from 1979, it’s a long, long story. How much time do I have?”
“As long as you want, but we’ll finish in five minutes,” quipped Banerjee.
“Ok, five minutes … by my watch,” was Saboo’s return volley.
At the DGN seminar, RIDE Manoj Desai recounted the address by PRIP Kalyan Banerjee at the GETS and when Banerjee asked the batch of DGEs whether they are ‘Smiling Sheriffs,’ they announced, ‘No Sir, we are ‘Speeding Sheriffs.’ “Speeding Sheriffs … but they took their time to say that they were ‘speeding,’ ”
A DGN wanted to know if they should refer themselves as ‘Speeding Sheriffs’ or if they can change their name. Desai immediately replied, “What is in a name? If you’re motivated, you can call yourself anything. This is my way of motivating you. Are you motivated?” Pat came the reply from the DGN: “Yes.” “Then I can go?” asked Desai, before addressing the session!
Expressing concern over the growing politics in the Rotary Districts, PRIP Kalyan Banerjee suggested to RIDE Manoj Desai to institute a Peace Award to recognise the most peaceful district. Responding to his suggestion, Desai countered, “My job is made more difficult with one more variety of an Award. Now I really wonder if I should occupy this seat (RI Director) or not.”
3 brekkers, 4 lunches
PRIP Kalyan Banerjee in his address to the DGEs at the GETS ‘warned’ them saying, “As DGs, and in sheer honour of the job, you will be well looked after, well-fed, thoroughly spoilt — three breakfasts and four lunches a day in different houses … Keep your weight in check.”
Fine or Fines
Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu’s speech on the Swachh Bharat campaign was peppered with rhyming phrases and punch lines — all of which had the audience in splits (in contrast to the serious note with which he started his address). Recounting his visit to Singapore, he said that commenting on the spic and span condition of the country to one of his aides, he had said, “Singapore is a fine city.” His aide quipped: “Singapore
is a ‘fines’ city too.”