Agree or not, reading Newspapers is also an Art.

A person I know can spend a whole day with the 12 or 16 sheets of a newspaper and its supplement, not even taking his eyes off to eat, drink, blink or breathe, though I suspect he could do admirably without the last. As the day progresses, so does his angle of inclination with the ground, starting from upright position on the chair and slowly descending to the horizontal, at one with the ground, with a pillow to support his chin.

His Sundays and other holidays are dedicated almost wholly to newspapers, other distractions like Television, Socialising (online or otherwise) etc. being almost next to nil. Very often one would find a cigarette dangling from the corners of his lips, lit or not – indeed, I doubt if he could bring forth sufficient energy and time to light it, so caught up as he is ‘between the lines’. That is perhaps the only luxury he permits himself.

I, on the other hand, skim through the headlines in 5 minutes, taking in next to nothing and remembering not a word of it ten minutes afterward, unless a really eye-catching piece of news which deserves a second glance catches my eye. So disgraceful is the way I miss important headlines that many a time I have had to re-open the newspaper to read the biggest, boldest text in the front page, that the whole world was by then talking about.

For a person like me, newspapers are a real waste of trees, and the best way information can seep in is through channels like Twitter where the uncensored, unguarded and unconfirmed news, observations, analysis and related items are delivered to our doorstep – whether we ask for it or not.

A mix of breaking ( or broken or destroyed or reborn, as the case may be ) news filter in through the Twitter Timeline, of Earthquakes – IPL – Death of Prominent personalities – Drought – marriage, divorce, others – European League – digs at other Tweeps – Floods – Terror Attacks – Accidents – Discussions… anything that is worth 140 characters. Just the right thing for those who need to taste the river called Information, without needing to drown in the knowledge.

So impressed was I that there still exist bipeds who honour the ages-old custom of reading, that I asked this acquaintance of mine, with a touch of open admiration in my voice, “How in the world do you manage to cling to the Newspaper for hours? Don’t you just die of reading the fine print?”
“No,” he said, “I read it in rounds.”
“Rounds?” I asked, thirsting for more.
“Yes. I read the big, black, bold headlines first, also the news associated with the pictures. The second round is dedicated to smaller headlines, the third and final round to the finest prints.”

I gave up, unconvinced, uncomprehending and unaltered, and left him to his pastime.

The only victim of this apparently harmless indulgence of his and so deserving martyrdom is the newspaper itself, which finds itself crumbled beyond recognition by the time he is done with it.