I might not have read newspapers at all if the things they wrote in them weren’t so far removed from things that personally matter to me. Some of them are mildly entertaining; some are shocking; some are familiar from last night’s channel surfing; some set off thoughts that gain new dimensions as the day wears on. A lot of them are banal and don’t stick.
A sample of headlines from the international section in today’s issue of my daily newspaper:
UK govt says BBC is independent
Online, it is described as ‘quasi-autonomous’, ‘authorised by royal charter’ and ‘operationally independent of government’. See? As independent, incorruptible, unbiased and totally balanced as Themis! We just have to ignore the ‘quasi’ to accept the UK government’s claim!
Four PIOs named to key US House Committees
These three beaming people brimming with happiness – and the fourth guy appearing to be calculating his next move – have apparently reached one of their life goals. Time for some wheeling and dealing, TV appearances and impressive sound bites; also a chance to make a difference, until their relevance fades, as it surely must.
Indian princess, known for role in UK women suffrage, to get blue plaque
Sofia was the daughter of the pre-teen king Duleep Singh who was forced by Dalhousie of the East India Company to ‘gift’ the Kohinoor to the British queen, Victoria, and then exiled to England after they took away his kingdom.
Sofia lived and died between 1876 and 1948 in England worrying about lots of things, one of them being the UK women’s suffrage, for which they are now fixing a blue plaque on her old house. Her other worries and troubles tell another story, like what it meant to be an Indian-German-Ethiopian-British person growing up in England.
IMF junks Pak’s revised debt management plan
The plan is called Circular Debt Management Plan. Circular? Like a Ponzi scheme?
Maybe they should drop that word. It conjures up an image of a snake swallowing its own tail, ouroboros, symbolizing infinity, suggesting that the loan will never be repaid.
Eye on China, Philippines gives US greater access to its bases
Great headline – no need to read the article at all! Game in progress. Ball in play. Another String of Pearls in the making.
Zelensky wants tougher Europe, Putin evokes victory over Nazis
Ukraine sees itself as being attacked by Russia, while Russia sees ‘the collective West’ (as it calls it) as attacking it. Perhaps the Pakistani word circular applies here? I wish this circle could be opened and flattened into a straight line with a beginning and an end, across which diplomatic talks can be held, and the matter resolved . . .
But, no. The next headline says what is happening instead.
Banks in Iran and Russia move to link their systems to counter sanctions
Meanwhile, elsewhere . . .
Australia to remove British monarch from banknotes
Looks like they politely waited for the British queen to pass on and hoped that the new king would understand that they needed to give their indigenous people their due – finally.
And the rest of the news:
Bangalore traffic, Rs.530 crore due to the police for our collective traffic violations!
Man bludgeons wife to death with dumbbell, alerts police
Case of the missing passports of a family of four from Australia
Aero India show coming up
School uniforms for RTE kids
Improved railway stations – yay!
Full-page Ad: Deepika and Ranvir endorsing a grocery store
Elections, ECI, freebies, surveillance cameras to curb malpractices
Axing of trees planned on Sankey Tank flyover
Movie reviews – all three movies reviewed today got four stars – nice!
And, after a long time, there’s no mention of the Supreme Court collegium on the front page, so maybe it’s sorted, or shoved on to the back burner
Analysis of budget
Supply of weapons to Ukraine from Europe
Then, the Tech page of alphabet soup and neologisms:
AI: where are we today?
Mixed reality headset battle heating up
Google testing ChatGPT rival
We are looking for cloud engineers, DevOps, AI and ML engineers and full stack developers
Next, the sports page:
Lots of cricket and football. A little of archery, hockey and golf. A tiny column on races, with a list of strange horse names.
What have I gained by my perusal of the newspaper for half an hour?
As a retired person regarding life from the sidelines, I get a sense of where I stand in relation to the outer world, like a sailor who has dropped anchor a little distance away from a busy port but is keeping the port in sight. It helps me ascertain that the anchor has not dragged and set me adrift in the open sea, which is my inner life.
Like figures carved on stone in bas-relief, my thoughts get defined better as I process what I read, chipping away, shaping my opinions of the world I live in. To me, this daily reset is necessary.
2020 was about COVID, 2021 about Afghanistan, 2022 about Ukraine-Russia, i.e. they didn’t fit into a regular news cycle but went on and on. These are a part of the collective experience of being on Earth at this point in time. They give me a sense of belonging, of being a part of something bigger than my little life.
These macro-events are balanced by the small things that vary a little every day, yet remain comfortingly the same – things that keep life from being all about the impersonal big issues amplified in newspapers. There’s work to do, friends to meet, books to read, music to enjoy, movies to watch, places to go in town and beyond, different kinds of food to sample, time to bond with family and friends . . .
8 thoughts on “the daily newspaper”
Dr Vatsa : I have been “struggling ” for a long long time to summarize my readings of daily newspapers — u have done it so well for me. Hats off to you. Namaste 👍 🙏 Please blog at least once a week
Good one !! Too many people, too much of earth occupied by humans, too much destruction and consumption- it’s got to break.
Pleasant weekend read that echoes many of my thoughts in an elegant and considered way. Counters many current vicious narratives without colliding head on.
Enjoyed the read!
Very entertaining round up of the daily…
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As always there was a gentle smile on my face.
Very well written/ summed up
Good to find people like you who can read beyond the facade on the media….
for the heck of it I go through the headlines of 3-4 newspapers everyday (because I have too much time 😉) and what fun it is to find them often contradicting either each other or even themselves after a few days… but the public memory is short lived and they get away with whatever gaffes they commit…
and meanwhile we are hurtling through space on this tiny rock lost in our own s..p..a..c…e…
Well written Dr Shyamala and reflects the thoughts of most people reading a newspaper today. Truth be told, I also check the Obituaries – and look for the date of birth. Inching….