If you ever look at slam books that we used to fill up at school, (I do not know if they exist today), the most common entry for ‘One thing you hate most’ would be ‘hypocrisy’. I too wrote that and really meant it. Even today, if given a chance I would perhaps write the same thing. However, as I stood facing the mirror in my hotel room, my hypocrisy stared me at my face.
I have always been fascinated by the use of impeccable English. Growing up with The Statesman in Calcutta meant that you are introduced to ‘Good English’ at an early age. When I went to Pilani, I suffered from the lack of availability of The Statesman in the morning. The very logical substitute was The Hindu. And then it happened.
One day when I went home on a vacation. I was scandalized to find The Telegraph in our house. A tearful mom told me that Dad was fed up with the declining quality of The Statesman and had finally made the painful switch. It was one of those moments when the family comes to the brink of a collapse. A sacrilege of such magnitude was unheard of. In our house, the tradition always was Ananda Bazar Patrika and The Statesman with any two other Newspapers which were allowed to be experimented with. Dad had broken that tradition. The Statesman did not feature in the four newspapers kept on the centre table.
Today I realized that consumerism had gotten hold of me long back. Even in the high and mighty days of The Hindu in Pilani, Jopy and I would not fail to scrutinize the Page 3 of The Times of India. The Asian Age was too loud, The Hindustan Times was not yet ‘there’, The Hindu would never have anything like ‘it’ but TOI seemed to have got the right mix that attracted us every morning. In Bangalore, along with The Hindu, I would regularly receive the feeds from The TOI. We all called it The Slimes of India, yet we all read it. As the Media Manager of IIMB, my greatest hob-nobbing in the print media was with The TOI, the ‘Tam’ in LG made him lean towards The Hindu.
And today, even with a chance to settle for The Hindu or The Statesman I actually am fine with The TOI being slipped under my door every morning. Before the day’s hard work I do not mind reading a paper which is not too heavy and yet I would never endorse it in public.
Something I would term as hypocrisy.