January 29, 2012

Have you started reading The Hindu yet?

I was pleasantly surprised to come across the commercials that were asking common people GK questions at the airports, railway station, parking lots and malls. What does ATM stand for? Who is the Vice President of India? Who is the successor of Rantan Tata? That evoked a very matter-of-fact response- Actually, his son, Mukesh Ambani! LOL! What is Tahrir Square? A shape, like circle :P! And they followed it up with questions like What is Hrithik's pet name? Who is the actress known for being Size zero? And well, everybody knew the answers to those questions! And they all got the same question after that- Which newspaper do you read? Then come the stock replies- beep-beep-beep- all the dumb looking people mouthing, you guessed it-  Times Of India. There are multiple minute long ads, with a good background score, crisply edited,  that make a fun watch.  And to add salt to the injury, they tell you to read The Hindu in order to "stay ahead of the Times"! Ouch!
I personally don't think that people who read ToI are essentially dumb. The paper just has been packaged well to make it appealing to a casual reader. That does not mean that ToI would not talk about Cyrus Mistry or the Egyptian crisis. Just that, people probably reach for the supplement for the gossip more than looking at the headlines. On the other hand, The Hindu has more "stuff". And that makes you read the headlines and all that goes along with it.  I am a recent "The Hindu" convert and can vouch that the paper does wonders to  your vocab and general knowledge- only, only if you read it line by line. A cursory glance at The Hindu would not do you much good. You might as well read any other paper and get the same information.
But out of all this, what gladdened me was to see The Hindu taking pot shots at ToI. The newspaper has recently had a management change and looks like they are set to change their image from being the laid back "no fluff-only stuff" paper to an aggressive paper that wants to assert that it is the best. May even prompt a lot of people to take to reading The Hindu. It now remains to see how ToI responds to this. This is Fun! 

January 23, 2012

Of rivers and plastic bags

I am sitting in the train and waiting for it to reach Mysore as soon as possible so that i can do something to satiate my craving for an evening snack. My calculation about reaching home by half past 5 on a Saturday, right in time for chai and snack has gone amiss. The train started off late from Bangalore and is running behind schedule. And my stomach doesn't really like it and growls in response.
The sight of Srirangapatna is heartening- 1. Mysore is not very far off. 2. It had been a while since i had gotten to see Cauvery at Srirangapatna. Since my regular travel happens early in the morning or late evening, i normally do not get to see the river flowing by. It used to be a favorite activity during childhood to see the river, notice the rocks and wonder during summer at how this sparing water body feeds an entire state. Or marvel at the gushing waters in monsoon.
As i was reminiscing and staring at the water, PLONK went two plastic bags from the next compartment, straight into the river! While i wanted to give a piece of my mind to the people who threw it in, I held back, wondering whether it would be of any good?! They would probably ask me to point them to the dustbin that was glaringly absent in the compartment. Also, i have had bad experiences in the past when the person i was giving advice to would stare at me as if I was the person on the wrong side. And i would get some collective looks from the onlookers all of them giving away what they are thinking- "This girl has gone crazy!". I dunno if it is crazy to tell someone to use the dustbin and not pollute the river with plastic bags. It should not be. The river is the lifeline for so many people. It is from that river that you get your water for consumption daily. So please think twice before throwing plastic bags with trash into it. If there is no dustbin, you can always leave the trash under your seat in the train. The cleaning people will take care of disposing it. Water bodies should not be your dumping place. Please give due consideration to the environment. It needs effort to sustain. And that effort should come from each and every one of us.