Corridors of the Gone…….

Shehnaz Gujral
Tuesday, August 25, 2020

We often talk about the changing times. Everyday discussions pertain to the phenomenal changes we have witnessed in the past one century. Escalating the point, we feel that things have changed drastically in the past six months. What it was then and what it is now is unbelievable. Yes! Though there is no rooster crowing in the morning, yet the mobile alarm with varied ring tones from a cat’s meow to a lion’s roar wakes us up. What next? We rush to hold our mobile phone, just as a mother longs to hold her infant after many hours.

I go on a guilt trip every morning browsing endlessly and repeating the same for no reason. It is a part and parcel of our lives, isn’t it? Temptation to know if Covid-19 cases have spiked or subsided; any causalities, news on hatred, crime and politics. To make matters worse, we watch the same news item on so many channels and websites with novel stories. Fake news in the media, misinformation and wrong information just add fuel to the empty- headed spectators. Novice have become the forerunners though it’s not their forte. This transformation provokes me to retrospect if this too is inducing our Dopamine levels.

I go back to the days when every household would start its day with one, two or even three printed newspapers. Morning tea with crisp black and white printed pages would be the perfect mantra to start the day. There would be at least a few claimants to the eagerly awaited paper.

Similar genuine news published in different newspapers would satisfy the readers. Not only that, it surely had to be a complete dose for the day. Didn’t we have plenty of placid time as the next detailed news was expected on the very next day? Much awaited public exams results were published in the ’Gazette’, a supplement page for the declaration of results. As a young student, I would glue to the cartoon strips, word search and Suk udo. Keenly, we friends would rush to the library to check the answers of the quiz we had solved the previous day.

My grandfather instilled newspaper reading, which initially I disliked. Thanks to my Iron man, my Grandpa, whom I called Darji, for inculcating good reads, which to this day, is the food for my soul. Sundays were all the more interesting days as both my sister and I were given many reading tasks. Editorial was one of the must do’s and we had to find the difficult word meanings from the dictionary and record in the obsolete diaries of the past years. Enriching vocabulary section with a mini thesaurus was a collection in our scrap book. What surprised us was the weather forecast. How can someone predict rainfall, storms or humid weather! These were humorous endless debates on the validity of such forecasts. Matrimonial ads were the butt of the jokes for the day, as it would amuse us on the requirements and demands of the bride or bridegroom. Such ads tempted me to send a prank reply to one of the ads but my father’s severe eyes could never bring the wayward in me. Ironically, the hunt for my soul mate was accomplished through one of these matrimonial ads.

Glossy supplement pages on Bollywood and Hollywood with its manifold gossip anecdotes tickled us. Girls flaunted the laminated clippings of the flowing gowns and accessories of the celebrities, as their fashion magazines. Die hard cricket fans made collages with the cuttings of their beloved stars.

In a flashback, I was transposed to those brilliant times and how I wish, we could revive the epoch of printing press. Can we try to rewind, replay and repeat it on Present play?

An English teacher with an experience of twenty plus years. She is based in Kuwait for the past fifteen years.
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