Tuesday, 15 January 2013

On the Priorities of Different People

I had not originally wanted to `wash this dirty linen' in public. My only excuse for having changed my mind is that I have got into a `habit' of posting stuff on my blog on saturday mornings – initially only alternate ones, and almost weekly of late – and I have been preoccupied recently with other math-related work, and only have this somewhat half-baked piece available on hand. It has to do with `my column in ToI' being `taken away' from me after more than a year. I realise it is a free country and people can and should make their own decisions. But the reasons for their doing so continues to baffle and irritate me.

The beginning of the end came when the editor whom I had been in contact with all along wrote a few months ago saying he was finding it increasingly difficult to veto the prevalent desire among his senior editors to drop my column for various reasons - from the effect of the fluctuating dollar-rupee equation on the rising cost of newsprint, to my excessive use of `I' in my pieces,.... As an exercise, I compiled a list of (at least two) headlines announcing the news items that their editorial board had decided to carry, instead, on the Trends Page, where my column used to appear in happier days, on each day of one week in mid-September:

20: (i) US woman breastfeeds dog to feel motherly
(ii) Sleeping posture holds clue to your personality?
19: (i) Mom sells breast milk online, docs ring alarm bells
(ii) Dolphins can stay alert for 15 days
18: (i) Crazy about making money? Go for a jog to blunt the urge
(ii) Skipping breakfast leads to junk food craving
17: (i) Attractive people have desirable traits, ...
(ii) Every hour of TV you watch shortens your life by 22 minutes
16: (i) Boss smiling at you is bad news
(ii) It's official: vegetarians outlive the meat-eaters
15: (i) Spray `love hormone' to beat alcohol addiction
(ii) Coffee can slash cancer risk (together each pair takes more space than my column used to.)

I asked my editor if this was really what his Board
considered more vital or absorbing matters than those discussed in my column.

Judging from the several months' silence that has been the answer to my mail to him, I gather they are!

People I meet on the streets ask me why they do not see my column anymore; and I tell them the newspaper has stopped carrying it for their own reasons – and feel slightly embarrassed in so accepting defeat! In future, now, I can tell them to read the gory details of this transition on my blog.

What I would be very pleased by and part of the reason for my writing this piece is if somebody reading this would weigh in with somebody of some editorial clout to come forward and say `here, come publish your stuff in my newspaper/magazine'.


  1. I have met a lot of people with perspectives that are unique and rare. I believe internet is democratic enough and has enough 'print space' for all of us to express our thoughts. And i think you agree on this point too.

    What should newsprint be, is a debatable topic just like what cinema/art should be,but assuming that you are entitled to some print space is not in the general direction of 'a more inclusive and accessible society'.

    All i want to say is that being baffled is understandable but i dont think they deserve your irritation.

    1. That is what I said: different people have different priorities.
      I guess I get irritated because I am fairly sure that a majority of the people would have the same priorities as me.