A Reader’s Dilemma

This new year, I resolved to be better informed. I contacted the local newspaper distributor, a stationery pasal, and subscribed to a newspaper. The next morning, I had a fresh bundled-up paper on my hands and with an almost revered sentiment; I started to flip through it.  Pages after pages of news – news that I would have probably remained indifferent to if the only thing I did on early mornings was walk out of that gate.

The front page headlined stories of impunity, human rights violation, rape, political stagnancy and incompetence, a huge corner for a branded watch, or a car, or a company, and a colorful footer. I am not a huge fan of the front page. The front page definitely demands your attention – from the photographs that cry out to you before you even begin to read the caption to the big-font texts that say “this is pertinent, you must read this” – but upon a closer scrutiny, all it does it redirect you to other pages. But for a newbie like me, I savored each and every word of the page because all this was new to me.

I felt like I was on an excavation trip, digging up dirt and ending up in a dump. All I read were news of murder, corruption, robbery, forgery, intimidation, suspension, protests, deaths, attacks, and accidents. My cup of fikka chiya went cold like my nerves. I had millions of questions like I always do, and like always, they remained unanswered. The con of this concept of news-reading is that you are never satisfied. You never get your answers because at the end of the day, it is a paper you are holding onto dearly. But wait! How can I be such a skeptic. I am not just holding onto a mere paper! This is an amalgam of voices – surely a paper cannot reply or rebel but a voice can. It is convenient to be pessimistic about these news that we read but the point of news-reading is not just getting answers but also discovering questions that you would have never asked in the first place.

As I fumbled and stumbled in this journey to the centre of the news-verse, I came across the Op-Ed page. The page that does not just report news or state facts but conveys opinions and arguments. It is a taraju that weighs ideals, ideologies and idiosyncrasies of “the system”. It perhaps does not really give a verdict but is capable of giving you a sense of where that verdict is leanings towards. To be honest, I was disappointed with this page. Some of the writings were redundant like a hamster’s ride in the merry-go-round that does not stop; redundant discourses and redundant attempts at pointing out alternatives. Voices that have ceased to make a difference. That is when I began to question about who reads this page. Corporate house managers? Politicians? Professors? Students? How do these opinions matter? Whose opinions are these – select few? Do not get me wrong, I believe that the Op-Ed page is a page of utmost importance in constructing and deconstructing discourses, shattering myths, and establishing the power of freedom of speech and expression. I can only hope that as my new year’s resolution continues, my faith in this page is restored.

And all of a sudden, out of nowhere, you are hit with glitters and glamour of industries like movies, sports, and the likes. From being serious and thoughtful, my thoughts are distracted by the news of divorces, patch ups, trophies, and amazing shots of victories and loses. For a while, I feel dazzled and unable to understand where I am. From rape to red carpet, victims to victories, murder to movies; I no longer am sure how I am supposed to feel about the world I live in.

Is this section of the newspaper supposed to act as an anesthesia to all the reported wounds and woes? I am amused because of the way the newspaper was structured, from being almost urgent in its tone to being lax and almost indulgent. I fail to understand why it is this way. Why would I want to read my day’s horoscope if I have already read the day’s horrors? I am not trying to be dismissive about this section because I know that they are also equally important parts of this world that we live in. Perhaps, what is required is a more sensible approach to how they are reported.

By the end of this schizoid trip, I was unable to grasp the severity of the situation. Is my world about to crash down; this world that is full of crimes and injustices (and in addition, people with power but no will to change) where the polluted air is not only the only thing that can suffocate you? Or do I simply walk away with a little bit of glitter and a crossword puzzle that will keep me occupied?

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2 thoughts on “A Reader’s Dilemma

  1. Seriously our country will be like this for a century,don’t know for how many generations. We Nepalese we don’t have that kind of passion in our blood for a change. You might say I am totally negative but believe me it’s true and ain’t gonna change anything. Unless Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore born in Nepal again …

  2. I am not a regular reader of your blogposts, but I have some of writings which were published in the Republica. And of all that I have read, I like this piece. I don’t know when I will be able write like this, but I am practicing. Thanks for the good writing.
    -Lokesh

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