Saturday, January 5, 2013

End of an era

One of the earliest memories I have of reading is the fresh smell of the newspaper - delivered each day at the crack of dawn. When I was a little boy, I used to spread the newspaper on the ground and read it. I could never get comprehend how appa and the big people could read it holding the newspaper up - it was just too big for my little arms. From the floor, I graduated to reading it on a table and then finally I could read the newspaper like my father could. In between, I realized why tabloids were so easy on the arms and shoulders - and that was an interim step.

The newspaper made my day - each day - for the past many many years. During my travels - I found it so difficult to not have access to a newspaper. And for a long time, I would come home and read all the newspapers of the time I was away. Especially after our summer vacations in Kerala - I have read through newspapers for a month. 

When I woke up early to study, the newspaper's arrival was a good time to take a break. When I had to attend a function I was not particularly looking forward to, the newspaper gave me company. During long train rides, the newspaper was always at hand. I remember early morning fights and strategies to be the first one to lay our hands on the newspaper - sometimes going so far as tracking the newspaper vendor to the earlier delivery point and getting it from there.

There was no better way to enjoy coffee but with a newspaper. There was no way to enjoy long travels but with a newspaper.

My parents impressed upon my younger brother to read the newspaper like the elder brother (me). Reading newspapers was a sign of intelligence, said others. Read the editorials to improve your English, seemed to be a golden rule.

But, over the last few years, I have largely got my news, views, analysis on the internet. Also, the big deal of news getting published in a newspaper is no longer true. As Clay Shirky says, publishing is just a button away.

The internet is also a great place to get the news that you want to read about. If I dont want to read about some latest movie and its latest item number, well, I dont. Just because those who run the newspaper want to pander to all the demographics that supposedly read their newspapers, doesnt mean, I need to subject myself to it. And what the editor thinks we should be reading, may not be what I want to read. The internet allows me the freedom - and besides the internet has some of the best editors ( my twitter feed and my google reader subscription for instance). And in these days of zite and flipboard, which are essentially, curated newspapers of my interest, the newspaper is, well, passe. And English, well, again, there are a million better ways of getting there for my kids.

So, that is it...the end of an era of newspapers being delivered at my home atleast.

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