The Fourth Estate delivery every morning to the door steps of most homes in the God's Own Country has been almost non-existent for over ten days now. Kerala is supposedly the only 100 percent literate State in our Union, and it has quite a lot to do with the news papers and men's quench for news. Most homes have a pattern of reading the news paper as well, with the alpha male in the family normally having his first go at the news and then the kids and then the lady of the house, while on her commute or maybe in the evening. But everyone invariably read something or the other out from the thin foils with the carbon imprint, imparting the so called 'news' to tease man's appetite for knowing.
The agents, who administered the home delivery are now on a strike, like most other group and organisation in the State, of enlightened masses, who knows the benefits of numbers. The news paper agents in charge of the delivery of the news, imprinted on thin foils, wants a higher share of the profit that the Management is making with the Fourth Estate and they have resolved to not performing the deliveries, unless they are offered a higher percentage of the profits.
I tried read the newspaper online for some days now, but it is not as appetizing as the thin foils which I could hold on to. The online version of news, seems so impersonal and my sacred ritual of reading the news paper or rather browsing the paper for my favorite pages, has taken a serious hit back. I am up-to-date with the issues that is making news, like the Army Chiefs bribe accusations and the Ministry of Defenses, defense taken regarding the allegation. I know the Italian tourist and the Member of Legislative Assembly from Odisha is still under the captivity of the Maoist and the State is on a negotiation to get them released. The merchant Italian Ship, Enrica Lexie, from which shots were fired, which resulted in the death of two fishermen from the Kerala coast is still lying in anchorage at the Cochin Port Trust and the Hon'ble High Court has stayed its sailing for 3 more days.
The news, I am updated about, through the TV, through the internet, through my friends regarding their areas of interest, like the news about Indian cricket team losing yesterdays T20 cricket match against the Porteas, based on the Duck-worth Lewis calculation. But the gathering of the news or rather being enriched with the events happening around me is not happening, vide the medium I best prefers.
My household have endured this strike by the newspaper delivery agents, without much complaints till now, but then there has been days when an eruption has been heard from my dad / me / or a random guest, regarding the strike. In a society where everyone is aware of their rights, very little can be done in-spite of all the eruptions, unless you want to put an end to the little discomfort yourself and be made free of the feeling of emptiness for not having read the newspaper daily.
I woke up a little earlier than usual and armed with ten rupees, without brushing my teeth or changing into a more accepted dress-code, I set off on my rickety bike to the news paper office, to buy my two newspapers and make my day have something which has been missing the last few days. There was not much of a line waiting for the paper and the guy sitting behind the desk, didn't even bother give me a second glance, when I passed him the ten rupee note and said, "oru Hindu, oru Mathrubhumi" (one Hindu, One Mathrbhumi).
Armed with my little cart filled with events around the world from the past 24 odd hours, I drove back home to be greeted at the gate with my Appa, having in his hand a copy of the two newspapers I had just bought, by paying the tenner. He looked at me and said, the neighbor who works in a newspaper has agreed to get us these two papers on his way back from office, after the night shift, till the agents call of their strike. So you needn't ride everyday in the morning to get the dailies. I tell him back, that is wonderful Appa, but in case we didn't have this alternate arrangement for getting the newspaper delivered, I wouldn't have bothered much about having to drive in the morning. I don't want to be held at ransom, by not having my newspaper delivered everyday. I would rather take up the discomfort of waking up 15 minutes earlier and go get the paper from the press, than wait for the strike to be over.