Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Newspaper times.

I have a habit of reading newspapers everyday. I started reading it from the days my father used to read “The Statesman" when we used to live in Calcutta before it became Kolkata. Moving to a small village called Pallassana, in Palakkad, Kerala, where the newspaper agent could not provide us with English newspapers as he could not get one for us everyday, i started reading the Malayalam newspaper “Malayala Manorama” and then the “Mathrubumi”. This opened up a different world to me. A world seen by Malayalees and written in Malayalam – This was alien to me but gave me a window to a new world and helped me learn to read, write and speak Malayalam well. Looks like I was meant to learn Malayalam and see the world that a Malayalee sees through the Malayalam newspapers.

I went back to reading English papers when the agent started to get “Indian Express” everyday in my village after many years. I then moved on to read “The Hindu” when I went back to Kolkata for a brief period because my father used to subscribe that instead of “The Statesman” as he believed that “The Statesman” had stopped reporting good content and that “The Hindu” was by far the best daily journalism in the country. I benefited from this decision as well. The Hindu had many eminent journalists who wrote about various matters of great national and regional importance with great insights and honesty. They also had great command over the English language and I was at the receiving end of both good journalism and good English everyday.

I moved to Bangalore to pursue (I always wondered why does a career need to be pursued? Isn’t there a better word/usage for it? ) and then moved on to reading the Deccan herald and then the Times of India, in Bangalore. Few years later , I was introduced to color newspapers by the Times of India and that certainly made my news more colorful. The language and the content were substandard as compared to the Hindu and the Statesman but made up for it through liveliness and diverse content(that’s my justification for not reading better papers!). Moreover it was cheaper and ‘cool’ to be reading The Times Of india (TOI) than when ones claims to be reading the Hindu! (Yes!! Reading newspapers, and that too TOI was cool! Unlike now when reading anything on a paper form is so un-cool!!)

I am now in China and I read many more papers and magazines on the net everyday. This includes the before mentioned ones and some new ones like the Economic Times, Economist, The South China Morning post, the Xinhua Daily and The Strait Times . One reason i read it on the net is because i get i free and can read it anytime I have feel like reading by just connecting to the internet. A newspaper paper in China costs 7 RMB to 10 RMB here daily, which translates to 50 to 70 rupees per paper per day. I have been habituated on spending in the range of 2-3 rupees a day for a paper all my life and find it appalling to have to pay 70 rupees for one paper. Moreover I don’t understand why a newspaper would cost 70 bucks a day in China where they invented the paper and the printing press and mass production and mass consumption (read as 1.3 billion potential readers) should make things much cheaper as it has done it for all other Chinese goods!

There is one more reason why I read many papers (yes it is still called news ‘paper’!!) even though it is the bites and bytes version! , that is due to the law of averages. I feel and have proven right in many instances that, the more options one has, the wider variety of views one has on same and different subjects. This is better than just one view. Interestingly news papers here all show politicians smiling, great government programs for social & economic development health care and public welfare, and infrastructure and general development in big bold columns with smiling politicians endorsing them. Achievements in the field of technology, science, healthcare, business etc are always the headlights - owing all this to the great Government of the country.( now you must be getting the drift I suppose?).

I have also realized that there is more news available on blog sites on the net where Chinese share their views freely and the newspapers rarely report what one could find on the various blogsites. Lets just say that News will find its way to interested readers, one way or the other.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Demo-crazy vs auto-crazy?

Talking about democracy, examine this. If the family is the basic pillar of society on which a nation is built on, shouldn’t democracy and its tools be integral parts of the family establishment according to Indian conditions? The Chinese would disagree though!!.Why does the grandfather or father have to be called the head of the family when they are retired and need help to manage their daily lives themselves? Why cant anyone be the head of the family by popular vote! Why not the youngest daughter in the family or even the maid – they are the most popular and powerful ones one amongst us anyways and will win most votes if they stood for election to the ‘head of the family’. Isn’t that how we Indians select our politicians and leaders to run our country – sheer popularity and power. Need not necessarily have the skills and knowledge for governance! isn’t it?!

Shouldn’t we draw a ballot and elect the head of the family every year or every 3 or 5 years as needed to propel the family towards its goals. These need to be defined clearly or else there will be groupism and more candidature for elections and thus reducing single majority for creating the ruling body. This will then result in an unstable leadership as seen in the past cases of our governance in our country.

Shouldn’t we have five year plans, economic policy, law and order, justice and punishment, defence, education policy, environment policy, revenue plan, expense plan, retirement plan, development plan and the myriad number of controls that are used by any governing establishments for running its daily chores.

Shouldn’t we have 'A Mission Statement', 'A Vision Statement’ ‘family etiquette rulebook’, a constitution, a penal code, a judiciary, a ministry for each matter of importance to the establishment etc, and also an opposition! I can be the opposition anytime!

Shouldn’t marriages in the family literally be marriages of convenience arising out of diplomatic need and to further the family’s social, financial and personal standing rather than be matters of the heart or of the stars (read astrology).

Shouldn’t defence policies be towards building defence mechanisms like the Nuclear warhead type secret and lethal WoMD. For example secrets about the neighbors secret liaisons, and other secrets that can damage permanently and heavily.

Shouldn’t families maintain appropriate diplomatic relations within the extended family and society in general and pass arbitrary aggressive comments in the media (read social functions and apartment association meetings) against ones enemies/neighbors (aka Pakistan and China) from time to time to keep the relationship or the lack of it simmering on the boil.

Shouldn’t family members have dharna’s in front of the kitchen (read food and beverages ministry) if the food cooked is not what is expected by most members, dharnas in front of the master bedroom (central ministry) for all matters of larger concerns, wife’s cupboard (finance ministry) for reforms and spending, wife’s side of the bed (read home ministry) for general law and order as rightful means of protest and demonstration of demands.

Shouldn’t matters regarding career and social life be according to professional and social ‘norms’ (read as considered to be correct by the large public) as against the widely used and abused current form of ‘according to one’s will’.

As seen in many cases normally, we are democratic at will – that is truly democratic isn’t it. But is it? By virtue of this democracy, don’t we become autocratic and impose our will on lesser beings and on situations where we can and hence cease to be democratic. So how can we claim to be democratic? Is this choosing of ‘I’ll do what I feel’ democratic (free spirited will deciding for oneself and not controlled by other factors) or is it an autocratic one that means that I will not follow ‘norms’ and ‘status quo’as I don’t believe in democracy, I believe in autocracy and hence my behavior reflects independent will.

Food for thought? – Maybe!

Free will or free wont!

Free will or free wont!

Advice from elders go like this - Raviley ezhunnette, nerathey kalathey kuliche karyangal cheythukoodey! Now that means why don’t you get up in the morning, and do something early! I never understood why they wanted me to get up early in the morning to do ‘something’. I felt that I could do the same ‘something’ noon, midnight or pre dawn and still accomplish lots or more than what I would by doing it early morning. And I get to sleep through the morning too!

Nerthey kaalathey kedannorangi nerathey eneetuoodey – I like that part of the statement. It means nerthey (early), kaalathey (morning) kedannorangeettu (sleep) and get up and early is the part that I don’t like! Ha Ha!Talk about bending stated facts or stating bent facts huh!

Another one goes like this - Choododey kazhichoodey? Thanupichu pacha vellam poley aaki endhina kazhikkaney! Some foods are tasty when cold, and I think I like some stuff cold! They can eat food piping hot if they like!

Not that I don’t like getting up early or eating hot food. I just don’t feel like doing it then. Remember the days when I used to wake up at 5.30 Am and leave home by 6.00 to play shuttle with many of my comrades in arms, or when I used to eat hot beef chilli and parotta at 3.00 PM everyday for lunch at Kollengode Shakunthala hotel? Well what do they know about choosing convenience over so called their own version of ‘wisdom’!!?? So where did democracy go in the scheme of things in a family. Why does democracy have to be only part of nations/states governance.