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Archive for July, 2007


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So what was it? The biggest break I have ever had since I started blogging?

My work has kept me off all the things I like to do whenever I have some time to spare. It reminds me of my “fresher” days when, on weekdays, I used to come home for 8-10 hours. I used to be busy. Now, apart from being busy, I am under stress. As it has dawned upon me, I have realized that there is a difference between being busy and being in stress.

A couple of times, these last few days, I did log-in to the dashboard of my blog. I reached out to write. I stared at the “Write Post” screen and it stared back at me. I had that time to jot in a few lines but somehow I lost the courage to overcome that small block that I had stumbled upon. I wanted to write, write something but I failed. You know, its one of those things that I have always told to people who want to start blogging– you can’t force yourself to write. Until it comes from within, you don’t want to write. Even if you try to, you can do it once, maybe twice but not forever. Then there is this problem of “who-reads-my-blog-anyway” mindset. It’s one of the most difficult things to deal with. Together, these reasons are collectively responsible for most of the blogs biting the dust.

Since it is seldom that I do personal rants here, it becomes all the more difficult for me to come over phases like these. I am more comfortable talking about socio-economic cycles prevailing in the society and that requires that I keep a tab on matters related. I fail here again, (lack of) time being the culprit.

My problem is that I take my reading, writing and traveling too seriously. It has been a part of me always and I think of these activities as my extension. It discomforts me and I feel guilty when I am not able to do justice to these.

I talk about it all the time, I know, but these days software writing has become such a mess that I wonder, at times, if I’d like to do it all my life. The few people I know, who are qualified enough to give an opinion on it, laugh at me. They find it funny that I still consider the possibility of being in software all my life. So I have a feeling that somewhere down the line, I’d find myself at crossroads. But I hope that I’d be able to take a cue from the experience of these guys who are so sure about shifting off from software now and who, by then, must’ve dealt with the same kind of situation(s) I’ll be dealing with, during my time.

So what I have been up to then? These days, I am converting my sleep hours to currency notes, subject to the discretion of my manager, of course. I am selling my sleep,thats what I have been up to. I know a lot of people are probably doing it too and they don’t have a problem with that. They say, in a way, I am living the American dream.

But I want to read. I want to write. I want to take a week off and go to the sea. I want to sleep.

Written by aditya kumar

July 30th, 2007 at 1:19 am

Posted in Blogging,Personal

Supplementing the Supplement

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There was a recent story on CNN-IBN about a murder in broad daylight in East Delhi. What was peculiar about it, from the journalism angle, is that they showed scenes of the dead body lying on the street. There was no panic situation (as there is, in times like a bomb blast) while the camera focussed on the dead body, as if it was a commodity to be screened long enough for prime time. As reported, the police had failed to turn up before the press found out about it and there was no one to take control of the happenings at that point of time.

I think this is where journalism crosses the line. It is this line that electronic journalism needs to honor but fails to do so. It’s disappointing and perhaps alarming that the news channels find it so difficult to respect the dead. In a bid to fill the prime time slots, these channels go overboard. There have been enough voices raised by bloggers and by a few journalists of the “old school” kinds but clearly no one is listening.


All this while, the print media is dipping to lows of a different kind. Print media houses are essentially organizations that intend to make profit and they need to target a particular audience if they are to be in the market. In a bid to capture this audience, newspapers tend to disassociate with values they earlier stood for. The writers and articles that once formed the elite of the newspaper are compressed and done with in two pages.

So what we have, in the end, is basically something like those 10 pages that come as a “supplement” to the main newspaper. The first and the last pages usually have photos of skimpily clad women and news of their (not so) private affairs. I was in Delhi and I think it was in the mid-90s, initiated by The Times of India, that the “supplement” started to come 7 days a week with the main newspaper. A few months later TOI had eaten into Hindustan Time’s share. HT couldn’t bear it for long and what soon followed was a total overhaul (thats what they call it) of the look and feel of Delhi’s most popular Newspaper. Changes didn’t restrict themselves to the supplement. The whole newspaper, soon, had hardly any relevant news.

I know some people who start their morning reading the supplement first. I know some who read just the supplement. Now, many would say that this is what the people want. People asked for it and thats what they are getting. I think that argument is crap. People never asked for it.

It is not the people who have been calling the shots. It is the publication itself. You take up an aggressive marketing stance. Then, you feed people with the most irrelevant news that you can find on the planet and you continue feeding them that. You go to schools and you distribute the newspapers with supplements, free, to kids in the name of education. The kids grow up and by that time they are so used to your newspaper that…well, they start reading only the supplement. Then you claim that this is what people want. And, this, is just one way of doing it.

Even then, my problem is not with how a newspaper looks. My problem is that the quality of writing that makes up the newspaper is not of the standard an editor can look up to. I don’t have any problem with the photos that take up most of the space but I am concerned with the quality of the text that lies in the space that remains.

Another point: Blogs are serious competition to newspapers. Blogs vis-a-vis Newspapers; Not as sources of authentic information but for something as basic as quality of prose. The difference between the reader that you were 10 years ago and the reader that you are now is that you have less time to read. And if you spend most of that time reading blogs, shouldn’t Mr. Newspaper editor be concerned?

Written by aditya kumar

July 7th, 2007 at 9:09 pm