December 25, 2012

Newspapers: A Habit lost.

Newspaper sunny yellow
From Flick. Under CC License.
I have written about my newspaper reading habit previously. Simply put, I *used* to be addicted to newspapers. There was a time when I would read 3 newspapers daily; and not just skim through them, but actually do the in-depth analysis! But let's not start from here, let's start from the very beginning...

*The Beginning*
I started reading newspaper when I was... well, I don't quite actually remember, but I would have started reading them when I started reading comics (and that was around 4th standard). At that time I would just glance at the headlines her and then quickly jump on to the cool comic strips that would come in the supplementaries.

*Growing up*
When I was in mid school and could read Hindi properly, I actually started reading the inside pages. Well... they weren't exactly inside pages: I would come back from school, go through the front page in 5 minutes and then would just dig myself into the sports page (generally the last one). I loved reading every bit of cricket news, especially since watching all the cricket matches live was a luxury we didn't have then.

*When the addiction started*
By the time I reached high school, I had become addicted to newspapers. In the mean time, we had changed the subscriptions a number of times starting for Hindi daily "Hindustan" and finally had settling with TOI (English) and NBT(Hindi). I would just gorge on the news. First go through English Daily, then the Hindi one and then consume all supplements. And that of course meant, spending at least 1-2 hours daily doing the 'chore'.

*Full Blown*
By the time I left school my addiction to newspapers was at its top. For some reason, we started buying an extra Hindi daily. Not only would I read the news but I also the editorials. Worse, I felt that I needed to store all the *important* articles for future reference. So I set off on my mission to collect and organise all the information in the world that I encounter (Google style). I would cut-paste all the *read-it-later* articles in a register (which I never used and have now disposed). That meant, now I would have to find out at least 3 hours daily for this routine!

When I entered college, I wondered, if it was really necessary to consume and collect so much news and information? I had a large collection of articles lying around to be read *someday*, which was only growing.  So, I decided to stop this insanity. I ended the subscription of 2nd Hindi daily and reduced the time spent on the 1st one (eventually stopping it altogether). I continued reading the English daily but the busy college schedule ensured I won't spent too much time on it either. And I also stopped collecting articles for reading sometime later.

*Full Circle*
Since I started using Net@Home, my reading habit has largely shifted online (which is more distracting and hence time consuming than newspaper). And recently I realised the whole news-addiction pattern was repeating itself. I would spend hours going through blog articles, bookmarking important one, and flagging interesting ones to read later. Hence, I had to give a similar treatment to my RSS feeds, removing seemingly important sources and simplifying the list.

*Current Status*
There used to be a time when I couldn't have my breakfast without a newspaper and couldn't sleep without spending time reading blogs online. Now, I feel sad to say that I don't have time for either. Even reading the headlines and a few posts here and there, has become 'a lot'.
The kind of news (full of negativity: corruption, scandals, scams) that I get to read in newspapers nowadays, has also contributed a lot towards repelling me from news altogether.

Newspapers have vastly improved my reading skills. And it goes without saying I have learnt a lot about the world from the vast amount of information I have consumed through them. But I have also learned a few lessons for life from this habit. It's that we shouldn't try to hold on to the stuffs. There will always be more news, more videos, more music, more movies to watch (even better than the current ones). Just be content with what can consume within the time you have. That would give real peace of mind.
And, by going away from this habit, I have also learnt that there is almost nothing in this world that I can't live without (more about it in some other post).