Thursday, January 24, 2013

Newspaper Mornings

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The routine drama of daily life is mostly structured like this:
Getting up in the morning,
morning chores,
breakfast,
getting the daily bus to work,
forgetting to put the signature in the attendance column,
screeching at the maximum voice to students who hardly believe in the prospect of listening to another young person who boast of being a teacher,
having the same tiffin for lunch,
dozing off in the afternoon light-hours,
taking the same bus back home,
thinking about the benefits of exercise and regretting over not getting enough time for workouts.

Image Courtesy: Google
In an attempt to make a difference, I started a new habit lately: buying news papers every morning at the news stand, where I get the bus to college too, inside the old bus stand.

I always held the argument that news papers in Kerala never learnt how to balance news from different areas. Most of them have a surplus political content. In one of the conferences conducted by one of the leading Malayalam dailies, with a literary bend, a speaker said “politics is sold here like hot chocolate”. I don’t know how fast the sales of hot chocolate are, since I never tasted one. You know, it’s not a very popular drink in Kerala. Perhaps, too much of chocolate could burn you to ashes under the sun flames turned full swing. He also mentioned sports and said the reason why most of the news papers spend more space for sports is the salability of sports. I wonder again how true that statement could be in a state where sports is not even an optional subject in schools and where stadiums bring only corruption money into the wallets of politicians and no sportsmen.

There is a very evident paradox here. But isn’t a paradox the marking feature of this state, Kerala? Just think…Kerala is the first state in India to acquire complete literacy. [Or so people like to believe and governments advertise] however, one cannot find any other state in India with such a large number of school and college working days stranded due to strikes by politically motivated vicious students union gangs.
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The paradox the news papers follow is in no way surprising. This is precisely the reason why I do not get much closer to news papers. However, there is one change I noticed in recent months. Perhaps this situation is just the microcosm of the world’s semi-civilized-hypocrisies.

There are many national dailies that have recently spread out their branches in Kerala. And some of them are in English language. A few of them show the real balancing act, cancelling out the caustic political news smokes with their art, books, and international pages. It’s true; there are some news papers that give pages to art, books, films, fashion, etc. I am more than happy to find such a news paper. Still, I may not mention its name here, as it might cause a case of libel for using their name without their permission.

Image Courtesy: Google
The news paper I am talking about is South India’s largest selling newspaper. So I have something to do these days, off the track, out of the routine—buying the paper in a hurry from the news stand and running for the bus with the paper still in hand. The crispy feel of the paper in my hand and the smell of ink are delicious. Then the feeling of keeping the pages steady inside the bus—that too is remarkable, although I do not generally attempt to read from inside the bus. This particular news paper, I found, do not boast of a high-class language. It has just simple sentences and may be even repeated statements of the same news. I would call it ‘bus-simple’. I mean, the language doesn’t demand a continued and focused attention for more than a few seconds. So it is highly apt for reading while traveling, especially in Kerala (pathetic story—it’s for another time). That is why it is ‘bus-simple’.

But when I think about routine, I am a bit concerned. What if this new habit of buying newspapers became a routine?  
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