After my third restless visit to the verandah on the morning following Diwali, my husband impatiently enquired, "Are you expecting someone?" "Am I? As if you don't know whom I yearn to see the first thing every morning (besides him of course)," I replied somewhat irritably. "Oh! Your dear newspaper is on post-Diwali leave and won't be able to keep its routine date with you," he said. He had had his revenge.
How can I even forget this cruel reality of life that, after a day of lighting I'll be devoid of enlightenment? Even at the risk of sounding inhumane and ignorant of the fundamental rights of our diligent Fourth Estate to enjoy a festive break, I must admit that, I have not been able to fathom how to spend a day without my lifeline, the daily newspaper.
Morning brings along a sense of curious anticipation, of being the first one to meet the world ensconced in the words and pictures printed across crisp white sheets. The newspaper is a colourful canvas which brings alive a kaleidoscope of news, events and representations which though not always pleasant are true, nonetheless. It's an endorsement of our emancipation, our right to freedom of expression and a potpourri of facts and opinions.
Every morning, the poor newspaper is darted like a missile onto my first floor verandah by the zealous hawker. On days the landing fails, it falls flat on its face on the ground floor awaiting its retrieval by an anxious me. I dread rainy days that not only dampen my spirit but also my dear newspaper, quite literally. Nothing spoils my day more than a rain-soaked newspaper and the painstaking effort that goes in delicately reviving it page by page. During the storm, my only genuine concern is for the modest newspaper boy, will he be able to make it or not? Do you think it's an obsession? No, for me it's simply adulation.
You may argue that with the 24x7 availability of the electronic media, be it television, mobile, internet, who waits for the newspaper. Have you ever savoured the sight of a dew-bathed flower, soaked in the magic of a misty dawn, or tasted freshly baked bread, because only then you can understand the true romance with the printed word.
Nothing parallels the exulting experience of holding a miniature representation of the world every morning interacting with you in an authoritative black font, myriad pictures and attention-seeking headlines (informative but not sensationalising like its electronic counterpart). And it's not only the news, a newspaper brings you a realistic take on socio-economic-political issues, literary pearls, health, education, lifestyle updates and dollops of entertainment. In short, it is the quintessential food for the mind and the spice of life.
Coming back to my predicament, I was wondering how to relish my morning tea without its loyal accompaniment, the newspaper. That's when the previous issue of HT Brunch came to my rescue. I had very intuitively saved it for the imminent dry spell. Eventually, it was newsprint only that came to my rescue and donned the mantle of lifesaving oxygen, thrusting life into a day without my lifeline.