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Newspaper Nostalgia

Within 24 hrs of arriving in Bangalore, I am back at the domestic airport to catch my flight to Delhi for a short, weeklong trip. While checking in, I picked a copy of the Deccan Herald from the check-in counter. For some inexplicable reasons, glancing through the newspaper brought back some fond childhood memories (the fact that I am headed back home probably contributed to it). A long time ago, Dad used to work for a leading Indian daily (Indian Express) and one of the perks of his job was free copies of the newspaper in the mornings. While he was there, we never felt the need for subscribing to any other newspaper. Sundays mornings used to be a special occasion of sorts – we would not only get the Sunday supplement of the English daily, but also copy of a local Hindi daily published by Indian Express (“Jansatta”/जनसत्ता). Both my parents used to work and so Sundays would be the only day when they would have time for browsing through the both newspapers; the rationale behind subscribing to just the English daily during weekdays. Both me and my sister would wake up leisurely and congregate at our parents’ bedroom for our morning dose of newspapers; which we would devour right till early noon, after which mom would beckon us for breakfast (a little family tradition that continues till date, especially when I am back home for a Sunday). The Sunday supplement was especially cherished by us for the colorful comic strips it would carry. We were still too young (neo literates) to fully comprehend English and so Mom would translate each comic strip and read it aloud for us. Be it Mandrake the Magician or The Wizard of Id, mom would go over them all while maintaining an extremely patient countenance. Of course, thanks to the subtle nuances of the English language, a lot of those strips would make no sense to us, nonetheless, we insisted that they be read out to us each Sunday.

After a long career at Indian Express, Dad switched jobs and that also brought about change in our morning newspaper. We changed to The Hindustan Times. It took us a while to overcome this change and while we were still not educated enough to point out differences in journalistic merits between the two papers, it still felt like an unnatural choice. Hindustan Times has been our family newspaper since then. We did experiment with The Times of India on Sundays but abandoned it soon. Of late, that paper feels more like a promotion vehicle for The Times Group - a distasteful tabloid with sorry reportage and even worse selection of stories – than a leading daily. Asian Age, is now our Sunday supplementary reading (it does have a tabloid feel too, but nothing beats their International coverage). It has been ages since I read a local Hindi daily though having just finished this blog, I am tempted to convince my family for subscribing to one on Sundays (I am also tempted to brush my Kannada past its current state so that I can browse through a local daily here). And yes, I strongly recommend Deccan Herald if you are tired of Times of India/Asia Age – it is refreshing to see good clean sensible reportage sans rhetoric or titillation.

posted: 11.4.04

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