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.