Smell the weathered old pages. Just feel the parchment slide between your fingers as you turn the dog-eared pages of your favourite book. The endorphin rush and familiar feeling of comfort is one no booklover would ever trade.
Alas, delighting in the joys of snatching up a brand-new paperback or even the morning newspaper has lost its charm for many. We talk to a cross-section of pune citizens to do a reality check.
Leah Prakash is a freelance content writer who guiltily admits that she has no patience for daily news. “Well, my father keeps me abreast of any breaking news, but I don’t ever pick up the newspaper. You can call me a hypocrite for writing myself, but hey, my work is strictly for digital marketing purposes so it has value.
“What good does reading news do apart from wasting precious minutes! It changes every day anyway, so if I haven’t seen today’s stories, no one’s the wiser”, she explains.
Shila Joshi, a mother of two has another view. “The state of the nation’s newspapers is pitiable. Coming from a conventional household, we do have a daily print subscription, but extensive advertisements and paid news have ensured that I don’t give it a second glance.
“My husband does read it before work, but I stick to mobile news applications that offer me the headlines in seconds. Our newspaper is then used to store flowers and vegetables in the refrigerator each day”, she laughs.
“It’s not just newspapers, people today are pulling away from books”, fears Ashish Naik the president of ‘Lekhan’ a city-based book club.
“We seek to induct every curious young mind, yet most of our members are seniors. So, I’m afraid the love of books will die with my generation”, he rues.
Quite confirming this, Akshay Limaye proudly confesses that he detests the written word. The student of Bachelor of Arts in Modern College states that he has no interest in spending hours turning page after page of a novel when he could be gaming.
“The best books get made into movies anyway!
I did watch Half-Girlfriend and Two States, so I tell my friends I’m a fan of Chetan Bhagat”, he guffaws clearly showing that millennials now seek entertainment in gaming rather than immersing themselves in an author’s imagination.
Salil Zalte begs to differ. “Reading a paperback is an entire experience in itself”, says Zalte who is currently relishing the joys of introducing his nine-year-old granddaughter to the works of Enid Blyton and Amar Chitra Katha alike.
The quinquagenarian firmly believes that ‘hi-tech’ gadgets like Kindle and PDF readers on smartphones just detract from the pleasure of reading. However, his views are firmly opposed by granddaughter Shreya who has begun her book journey with a shiny new Kindle (thanks to Papa dearest) much to the chagrin of her grandpa.
The love of books this duo shares is sadly alien to many in a city where books gathering dust on rusty library shelves outnumber the minds intrigued by the magic of words.
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