I have been an avid newspaper reader- more than news, features like crossword, sudoku and cartoon strips hook me on to this old ingrained habit.
During my long professional career, I have been posted at several Mofussil centres where national English dailies were either not available or available only at the railway book stall and that too stale copy of the previous day. Of course, e versions were unheard of.
Kota, where I was posted and which was situated on New Delhi- Mumbai railway line, offered unique opportunity. It offered both the major editions of Times of India – Delhi as well as Mumbai. I would always go for Mumbai edition for it was much thicker – 24 pages minimum, at times running into 38 pages and full of ads and entertainment.
The reason for this nostalgia is the resumption of newspapers delivery at home post unlocking of Covid lockdown. The newspaper barely runs into 16-18 pages, with two pages of Mumbai Times pinned along with main paper! A couple of weeks ago, popular tabloid Mumbai Mirror that used to come free with TOI was discontinued and made weekly sans all its chutzpah and syndicated columns. Not that Hindustan Times is doing any better!
Print media was already reeling under the assault of TV and OTT and with Covid, readership largely shifted to net, where there are free sites giving real time news throughout the day!
As far as reading books is concerned, I have switched over to kindle. However, I can’t think of starting my day without actually touching the daily copy of newspaper and solving crossword and puzzles using pen. If indeed these major newspapers decide to stop printing and switch exclusively to e editions, it will be the saddest day of my life.