The last time, in March and April 2007 to be precise, yours truly covered the proceedings in the Legislative Council and watched our learned legislators make total asses of themselves from the press gallery with an indulgent eye.
The Legislative Council, may I add, is the exalted Maharashtra state equivalent of the House of Lords. No swearing happens here, no picking up and hurling of furniture that is not nailed to the ground, and no major decisions are taken here. The most that happens by way of protest here is that legislators in the Opposition stage a walk out over points of mutual disagreement with the ruling combine.
There were only two bright spots in the Budget session as seen from the ringside in the Council. One was Nitin Gadkari make an impassioned and extremely witty (also well-researched) opening speech on the RR Patil - Tasgaon episode. The other was Siddharam Metre saying that the government had no information on whether any such site called Google Earth existed, which elicited some laughter from the press gallery and looks of amazement from the Opposition.
All throughout that one month of sitting there and getting my brains befuddled with things I knew nothing about, then racing to meet ministers to understand certain points in the break, writing at break-neck speed as the action unfolded below, I remember wondering, "What is MB doing in the Assembly?" Both MB and I attended the Session for the first time in our lives, and he was happier than I was at the opportunity. While at UNI, he hadn't ever been given the chance because wherever a political beat reporter exists, the others can hope to get in only via cold-blooded murder or some such subterfuge.
But the whole point of working in a bureau is that there are no beat reporters, so you end up doing all the big stuff and the small stuff and race miles ahead of your contemporaries in terms of knowledge and experience. And another point of working in a bureau (which I have recently unearthed) is that I will not be covering the Council this session.
Yes, me hearties, yours truly will be covering the Assembly this time. Yay to me.
So now its back to researching a lot of stuff in two days' time, learning new stuff about a new House (which has green carpeting while the upper House has red), learning to identify one legislator from the other, and filing stories after getting a daily research time of 10 minutes.
Good fun, if you're in a good mood. Bollocks, if you're not.