Sunday, August 3, 2008

the times they are a-changing back

So a historic decision has been made in the Vohra-Andheri (E) household.

Some years ago, fed up of the page3fication of the TOI I decided to move to the Indian Express. It wasn't easy because all my life newspaper matlab TOI just like orange boleto Gold Spot. But if the Parle factory could change its goldspots to bisleri surely I could change my paper? In truth, I went back and forth - to the Express, then back to the TOI until I finally made the transition in 2003.

I stuck with the Indian Express for the next few years, even though it got thinner and flimsier and less and less satisfying. So what if the main paper was iffy - at least Newsline was good I'd tell myself. IE was the default choice of the progressives.

Then in 2005 the Hindustan Times which I used to read and like in Delhi, came to Bombay and without thinking I switched, relieved that I had a way not to give in to the insistent promotions of DNA and Mumbai Mirror.  And I was quite happy with it for a while - it was a meaty paper with lots of interesting, provocative columnists and enough about environment, film, art, archaelogy etc. I didn't even succumb when Meenal, the editor at Mumbai Mirror said to me -'you don't get the mirror? Ok,I won't say anything.' although I felt a bit guilty given I write for them. Well, three years on, it's not quite so rosy. The papers gotten thinner than Kareena Kapoor. The columns are a bit centrist and shrill. They don't even really have an editorial of any gravitas. The supplement is depressing. They have tonnes of mistakes of language and of fact - recently in some article on porn the Milos Forman movie was referred to as Larry Flynt vs. Larry Flynt - when the real title is The People vs. Larry Flynt (as a google search would have confirmed). And even the initial campiness of Under Honey's Hat has gotten very ho hum and not fun.

So today, standing at the door, paying the newspaper bill, complaining - aap Tehelka itni der se kyon dete ho etc. - I slipped in the words I never thought I'd say - kal se roz ka paper Times of India.

I get the Times on Sundays and I've noticed that it's really improved. I see it at other people's houses and I do feel its changed in the opposite direction to itself. And one can just not read the Bombay Times.

Now there's been no change in the ownership, the basic philosophy etc. of the management so what's changed I wonder? I tell myself political growth lies in not being rigid but in responding to the reality as you see it.

We'll see what happens - tomorrow being the first day of my changing times.

11 comments:

ajay noronha said...

..n me, i just get them both - toi n ie :)

Space Bar said...

here we get the Hindu and the Deccan Chronicle which has always been the ToI of Hyd long before B&C turned up. Frankly there's very little to choose between any of them. Individual columns/articles are readable at uncertain intervals.

Now I read blogs. :D

Anonymous said...

Hindu try karein..... you will miss the gossip and the sales in town. But once a month..... Literary review!

parotechnics said...

Anonymous: the literary review is tempting indeed - but I always feel the HIndu may be so PC? Also, I worry becoming so disconnected from what's around, cocooned in a progressive world and beginning to think that that's reality.

However, let us see how this tryst with The Times goes. I may yet change again!!!

chamcham said...

hey just do what I do - I get 'em all and don't read any!

parotechnics said...

chamcham: been through that phase too but it creates far too much anxiety and I start dreaming of the unread piles of newspapers and bai keeps asking - bangaar kab bechna hai and then I start thinking of the environment etc..

Banno said...

This is so familiar. And my newspaper-wala is fed up of me, as I switch from TOI to IE to HT to DNA to AA to all to none, and back again. And the fact, that he is a bit of an idiot doesn't help either. And then, I keep making vows to myself to not read the paper in the morning, but can't quite get there. Yet.

chamcham said...

no no we must all read the paper(s) in the morning. There is some good reporting occassionally, or at least some decent fiction everyday. For example, I (without knowing too much about it) am convinced that these recent serial bombs-that-didnt-go-off were fairly fictional, and that the idea of SIMI being some outfit harbouring terrorist masterminds is DEFINITELY FICTIONAL. It's something to do with the form of the stories: too neat and precise. Events are usually messy, and terrorists (a word as abused now as "detainee") are normally never caught, so huccome they found all de bombs mista modi an' huccome evrything happen so fast lak in da movies. Oops sorry Paro forgot this is your blog!! It'll be all my fault if they come and get you now.

parotechnics said...

Don't worry chamcham, I've said enough things that the fascists can (mis) use, so it won't be your fault ;). Ok, now off to watch the after midnight news stories of aliens taking morning walks in Bikaner etc.

THis ParticulaR Parvati said...

I have never done this in my life, switching newspapers. ever since my childhood i've seen only Hindu at home, whether in Bokaro steel city where my dad was an engineer at SAIL (i mention this cos, growing up in bokaro was a very "cocooned experience" away from the then famous illiterate, crime filled BIHAR, now Jharkhand) or Bangalore where i studied for 3 yrs or in TRIVANDRUM where I've been living from past few yrs.

I've seen other newspapers at the dentists, doctors, libraries n railway stations and i cant help feeling better for having HINDU cos i feel none other paper can be as satisfying as the HINDU. Now i may be BIASED. it may be conditioning but i still love my HINDU although now as it is changing with TIMES (pun intended) i dont seem to like the increase no. of full page advertisements n nonsensical info (rarely) in its supplementary papers.

But now , i think i should also try other newspapers, what if I'm still living in an alternate reality that probably doesn't exist. however I dont think I can ever buy a TOI and Malayala Manorama . I so totally hate these two.

i should mention TEHELKA, its sad to see that our magazine shops in trivandrum keep only abt 2-3 copies of TEHELKA. Ever since i got my first copy, i havnt missed any cos this is where i find some of he best writings ever . (Paromita, pardon me , my language)

Its so much painful sometimes, to read some unbelievable political n social articles.

hmm anyways, i think i digressed a lot from the topic. Sorry Paromita. I took so much of ur space.

parotechnics said...

Parvati: Yes I get Tehelka too and think it's reasonably good. As for which reality is more real - it's all maya in the end isn't it. And by the way I don't own this space. It's free , so take as much as you need!