More and more students may be opting for English literature and media studies in Delhi University, but if you happen to see a GenY girl or boy with a book outside class, chances are it'll be pulp fiction.
According to a random survey by IANS, students, in their leisure time, don't really go for great literary works and instead prefer easy reading.
"I can't call myself an avid reader. I think one has to squeeze in time to read, but academic pressure ensures that we adhere to scholastic modules. That pressure to perform is mind-boggling," Lovingson Mathew, an applicant for the media studies programme in a college in Delhi University's south campus, told IANS.
"Rather, youngsters are interested in reading the latest pulp fiction," said Mathew, who has read all of Chetan Bhagat's books and other college sagas. "These books are easy to read. My friends read the same," she said.
Meghna Nanda, who wants to study journalism for her bachelor's degree, began with Hardy Boys in Class 6 and 7, and has just finished reading the contemporary romance, "A Walk To Remember", by Nicholas Sparks.
So move over Shakespeare, Dickens and Chekov. Pulp fiction and even personality development and self-help books are in. And this is ironically true of journalism and English literature aspirants too.
"One cannot be a journalist without reading. Reading magazines and newspapers should be a daily routine," said Tarjeet Sabharwal, a professor of journalism, Delhi College of Arts and Commerce.
"People these days do not want to read. Colloquial literature cannot impart the skills needed for such courses," Sabharwal told IANS.
Some begin to read books beyond their academic texts as late as in Class 10 or in some cases after their Class 12.
Nikita Gulliya, an aspiring student of journalism at Delhi University, told IANS: "I started with 'Goosebumps' in Class 10 and then moved on to the 'Twilight' series. I also read Chetan Bhagat and Sidney Sheldon."
Delhi University aspirant Sanskriti Chawala told IANS: "I have never read a book in my life other than school course books. Finishing my course books takes all my time."
Mittali Mishra, professor of English at Lady Sri Ram College, feels the course curriculum in school does not encourage the reading habit. "The Central Board of Secondary Education does not inculcate the habit of reading among students," said Mishra.
"Reading has also taken a backseat because of technological advancement and internet. Knowledge can be accessed at the click of a mouse, why read?" she said.
Kohinoor Pundir, a BSc honours applicant, said: "I hardly get time to even think of anything else but mathematics. I can't even think of reading story books."
Personality development and self-help books find more takers among the young than literature. Jyoti Mathur, a BCom honours aspirant, has read "How To Influence Others" and looks for similar books.
"Self-help books help one to become organised," Mathur said.
Sophomore Meenakshi Nag read Enid Blyton in Class 3, but the number of novels she has read so far stands at 50.
(Megha Mishra can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)