Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Why I Hate Hindu

Have been wanting to write. But could not think of anything that was not threateningly personal to some people. And life has taught me that it makes sense to keep the bakar to myself. Finally, as I was reading this in the top stories section of a newspaper, something in me got as gleeful as it could have gotten.

I subscribe to The Hindu. The no-nonsense newspaper that reports only news worthy of "reporting". So there would be 2000 word articles on health legislation in US, decline of pluralist thought in France, hung parliament in Serbia and time based extrapolative effects of the bhootmange massacre. Heavy stuff, eh? Yes, I admit, I am the masochist of the newspaper world! But every once in a while you need to know if Jade Goody is in India or if Amitabh has a thing for Vidya Balan! It is for this noble reason that I go tap-tap today!

I have a confession to make. I am, for no evident reason, missing Delhi times (To a lesser extent, the Delhi edition of TOI too) today. Those insightful discussions on the glam world, the 3.5* rating for KANK and the delightful pictorial representation of all data. My favorite was the article just after the CSO (Central Statistical Organisation) had estimated that the GDP growth rate for a particular quarter was in excess of 9%. There was this accompanying graph interposed on photograph of a girl with a tantalizingly short skirt with the caption: "Rising Hemlines: GDP growth rates move northwards." I remember Dilip Padgaonkar (TOI, Editor in Chief) justifying this by "a newspaper needs to get the attention to the important news items. We encourage usage of visual aids, as research has proven their efficacy."

Alas! N Ram of Hindu never gets to see this research. The only photograph I cannot forget from last 3 years of uninterrupted Hindu subscription is that of a punctured skull of Veerappan! Sad sight it was. No wonder I prefer to borrow TOI from my neighbours for covering shelves etc. Hindu, the dork it is, never betrays the human penchant for chak-mak gossip. One of these days they would come-up with a small article on Shivaji. But that is about it. No stories on Rakhi Sawant (the one that got the puppy), Elizabeth Taylor-Arun Nayyar wedding, John Abraham being mistaken for Antonio Banderas etc. How can a self-respecting human being exist without all of these? TOI, HT and party have this wisdom and Hindu does not! Someone please tell the content team at Hindu about the embarrassing situation that I am in, when my more informed peer group gossips about the Akshay-Salman tiff over the over-friendliness of Akshay towards Katrina! One look, only one look at me, amidst that conversation would convince Ed. Ram to revamp the entire content management strategy! Remind me to photograph myself, next time it happens.

On a serious note, Hindu sucks at sports coverage. Wonder why they cannot get some of the sportstar people to write every once in a while. Baaki sab to thik hai!


Prashant Modani said...

I agree with you on several counts!

There is something yuck about Hindu, that I just survived on The Economic Times during my 31 months in Chennai. I remember there was a time in those 31 months, a school caught fire, and it lead to 76+ children burnt/injured. Agreed a glum news, agreed headline material... but pictures of scarred, burnt, dismembered bodies on the Sunday edition??? Those pictures greeted me on a Sunday, where Monday blues had hit already. (When you have the pleasure of working in Citibank and that too in Chennai, That happens!). Of course I had a horrible day ahead (As a child also, horrific pictures take long to go out of my mind). That was Sunday, The Hindu continued to publish photographs on Cover page of the incident, on Mon, Tue, Wed - photos of mass cremation, those who survived lined neatly on hospital beds, white linen, with red blots...

On Wed, I called the newspaper wallah and told him to stop giving me Hindu. I bet the photo's continued for more days, maybe moved on to page 2 or page 3.

Which brings me to another point, Don't be surprised if on Page 3, of Hindu, you see a article (with photo of course) of a water tanker that hit a cow... (a news that I had read almost every week during the time I subscribed to Hindu), I have a feeling, for Cows getting hit by water tanker, they have a pre-set template. They just change the name of the place, water tanker details, time, date etc and there you go - article for tomorrows Page 3 ready!

Lastly, even their font looks disgusting! They have made their newspaper all color, following TOI/HT - but it’s their editors and creative directors who have to emerge out of their definitions of how a news paper should be! Then again, maybe they do not need to, because their primary audience resides in South India, where I guess this is what they look for (which is why till Apr 2006 there was no TOI in Chennai, I do not know what the status is now).

I like TOI, Delhi Times, ET. HT is just a wannabe TOI!
I like starting my day with a page with nicely used graphic and colors, Pretty faces on Delhi times, There is nothing wrong in spicing up the news, we do that to our food too - don't we? I don't like bland food.

Prateek said...

Dude, i love hindu (the article was in the usual sarcastic vein!). I love its no nonsense approach to news. I like the coverage sans all the sensationalization. I hate TOI family of newpapapers with all the hatred that I can muster. That paper is truly and absolutely crap... not even worthy of wiping you-know-what!

The like the news as it happened and not spiced up version that the TOI and the popular news channels dish out. Because more often than not, the perspective of the average newsperson is not worth the time of most people!

Each sq inch of space in TOI/ET is on sale. Any discerning person would be able to figure out the same. A newspaper without a conscience is can cause more harm than a witless newpaper. And Hindu is neither - that is the reason I love it!

Prashant Modani said...

you were being sarcastic!
I am embrassed now! :-)

narasimha varma said...

Go put your towel back on your head and stop complaining!

Prateek said...

too much comment maara hai bhai! Total TOI style!