My newspaper vendor has an absurd habit of delaying the delivery of the paper when it's most awaited. When the city or coutry has suffered a catastrophe the previous day and early next morning, we eagerly wait for this lad to come knocking on our door, he seldom turns up before 9. Sometimes we are left thinking that probably he takes all his time to read the paper before he goes around delivering them!
Saturday, the 10th of December, the day after the AMRI Massacre took place, was no different for this not so amusing habit.
As soon as we got hands on the paper we found ourselves comparing the written articles with the information disseminated on the television broadcast. The death toll, casualty figures, timelines were compared at a glance. Expressions grew grim, eyes became wider in awe and heads nodded in from side-to-side, as if 'commenting' on our helplessness.
I noticed how the entertainment supplement was left untouched for quite a while. Instead, our heads were immersed in heaps of information reflected in charts and tables and graphics- all the tools used by the editors to make the details comprehensive.
Later in the day when I sat in my College library reading the articles beyond the headlines, I saw the contrasts that were rampant through out the newspaper.
On the left side of the centrespread was a blown-up picture of a lady being comforted by her relatives, and several other images lined it along the sides reflecting the different states at the point of action on the previous day. As your eyes moved along the spread, on the right side you'd spot a full page advertisement wherein a young boy claimed how "happy" he was about cracking a certain exam because he had attended a certain coaching centre! Now that's what you call the various colours of life! The conflicting images didn't end there. On another page, with similar heart breakig images, you could see a fairly big advertisement of a new mobile phone which was apparently
"The Amazing Everyday" phone.
How amazing was this particular day for the 89 (or so we are told!) people who died?
I'm not sure how this situation can be changed or the Editors do anything different on this note. But it certainly does not seem quite right. On one hand we criticize the short span of public memory and here we are - being fed advantages of an Internet pack,being informed about a film show and the list goes on!
What do you think could serve as an alternative? Should the newspapers declare it a 'No Ads Day' on these occasions? But no, according to some people readership increases markedly after an incident of this sort. So, how can the opportunity be lost?
Are we losing all sense of morality or is there an underlying solution somewhere?