January 26, 2007

Keep people in mind, please!

This happens to me often.
I find myself walking down the Marina Beach road on the eve of our Republic Day celebrations, when people are erecting platforms, unloading chairs, decorating the sidewalk and cleaning the statue of Mahatma Gandhi.
And then I tell myself I should be at the parade on January 26.
And invariably I am not.
I had guests from Sri Lanka this week and they were very eager to be at the parade at the San Thome end. They kept the date. But I think skipping the event and getting snatches of it on TV made sense.
If there was one irritating feature of the 2007 parade, it was that loud Thamizh song which was played for every other performing troupe that scampered before the VIPs who were sitting under a shamiana off the beach.
Like a worn out LP record stuck in the groove, it assaulted the audience and limited the zest and creativity of all the young people who performed for this special occasion.
And then pops a question - for whom are these parades? How much of it is for ordinary people?
The mixed lot of floats and the march past of the members of the armed forces can fascinate onlookers but how many people can really enjoy the cultural events of this parade?
In early January, the Chennai City Police celebrated its 150 anniversary.
This was indeed a landmark in its colourful history.
The police, among its many events, held an exhibition. One which people of this metro should have had the opportunity to visit.
But the show was held for a limited period and on day one, the security, the high-profile functions and the regulations, discouraged many enthusiasts from enjoying this show which traced the history of the metropolitan force.
This was a great opportunity for the City Police to reach out to the community or even involve it through its numerous police stations in the neighbourhoods.
But all that was done was to deck the stations in streams of buntings and serial lights.
A travelling exhibition which stopped at all police stations would have been a great exercise for the occasion.
Even the Madras Port, which celebrated its 125 years, hosted catamaran races, a marine exhibition and conducted tours of the port for schools. But the port managers limited these events and the people of the city did not have the opportunity to appreciate a landmark institution of our city.
Perhaps this is the cause for the 'disconnect'. Between institutions and the people.


Anonymous said...

Open letter to all free newspapers

Dear All,

Sorry for the group mail. This is being written mainly to spread awareness of the sterling work done by Adyar Talk. Such efforts must not go without praise.

Every Saturday morning, the person delivering Adyar Talk takes care to deliver the paper at the doorstep of each flat unmindful of the flights of stairs that needs to be climbed.

Except for last Saturday (when the paper was carelessly left outside of the grills), I always find that my copy of this wonderful free newspaper - i.e. Adyar Talk - has been carefully pushed through the grills so that it lands exactly on my doorstep.

Since the the gaps of the grills on my flat gate are quite small, it is difficult for certain rogues to put their hands through and steal my copy of Adyar Talk.

Unfortunately, except for Adyar Talk, all the other free newspapers are carelessly left downstairs either on top of the mail box, or on the seats of the 2 wheelers parked near the gate.

In this part of Besant Nagar (Flat No : M 102 , 30th Cross St.,), certain "rogues" are openly pilfering the free newspapers as soon as they are delivered. These papers are then hoarded and sold for weight. You should see the proliferation of old newspaper buyers in this particular neighborhood. Perhaps they are even inspiring these "rogues" to pilfer the free newspapers !

Tons of trees chopped down for the paper industry, millions of litres of ink produced, journalists, editors etc. wearing out their health by trying to stick to deadlines ( at the cost of their personal lives even !), advertisers eagerly awaiting customers to their newly opened shops ( hoping that their ads have been seen), ...... all for what !

All these efforts just go down the drain, because of the above "rogues" who are callous enough to pilfer freshly printed newspapers (some containing the cream of journalistic talent as well as vital social messages such as ads for Helpage India or the nearest 24 hour pharmacy that offers home delivery of medicines at unearthly hours).

It is also heartrending to see some of the finest newly opened shops going out of business because their ads were not seen by the required number of people. Some of these shops have a lifetime of savings invested in them and losing this money may negatively impact entire sections of society.

Except for Adyar Talk, one has to go without the other free newspapers for weeks at a time !

It is simply not possible for me to wait and watch from the window as other work has to be done.

Letter boxes are also not a solution since these papers are too bulky to be put into the letter boxes. We do not have the space also to install bigger letter boxes. Moreover the doors of some of the letterboxes are loose on their hinges mainly because of the free newspapers forced in through the openings. Using such force has worn out many letter boxes over the years and their doors are literally hanging on their hinges !

The only solution is to tell your respective delivery boys to carefully push the free newspapers through the grills of the gate of each flat.

Many complaints have been made in the past, and for 1 or 2 weeks, I find all the free newspapers on my doorstep. But, except for Adyar Talk, from the third week onwards, the free newspapers are once again left carelessly downstairs.

You may ignore this mail, if you do not mind your freshly printed newspapers stolen as soon as they are delivered, hoarded and then taken straight to the waste paper mart.

I have given up trying to ensure that the papers are not stolen.

At least I can count on one newspaper - Adyar Talk - to keep us updated on the happenings in the neighborhood.

It is also obvious that Adyar Talk's advertisers must be getting the maximum response to their ads, since these wonderful people take great care to ensure that every flat in the neighborhood get a copy.

In future if Adyar Talk becomes the number one choice for advertisers, the reasons may be very obvious.

Thanking you for your time,
Faithfully yours,

P.S. Sometimes, several members of one family take individual copies for themselves. This happens due to lack of communication amongst themselves. i.e. when one family member goes downstairs to take a copy, he/she fails to inform the others that a copy has been taken for their flat. So what happens is that the other members also go downstairs to take a copy, thinking that they are the first to take a copy !! Ultimately one family ends up with multiple copies !!!

When such mistakes happen, hardly anyone takes the trouble of redistributing the extra copies to other flats. And ultimately these extra copies end up you know where !!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. D' Souza
We are regular readers of Adyar Times and appreciate the efforts very much.

I was wondering if does Adyar Times has a website of its own in the internet world. If there is one, please do inform us at your blog, so that people out of station would also have an opportunity to be in touch with Adyar.

Thank you once again
With Best Regards,

Anonymous said...

@ Mr. K

You may love Adyar Talk just because it is pushed into your window grills.
But now it is your turn to listen to me.

1. Adyar Talk does not really update on the happenings of our neighbourhood. It talks on national issues, movies and the editorial displays the editor's language skills and nothing else.

2. The fact about the free newspapers stolen is applicable to all the papers. I pity Apollo Times when I find the pages scattered in my car park, every week.

3. The syncronisation with the locality matters a lot for these newspapers. I find Adyar Times is doing what exactly a community newspaper has to do. Even a letter to the editor bears a photo, which goes well with the fact.

4. The navigation through pages is perfect in Adyar Times. I feel a happy reading on the weekend, instead of a feeling of reading a text book which I get while reading Adyar Talk.

Your comment only reflects your disappointment of not getting a copy of Adyar Times.

H. V. Sundaresan
A reader of Adyar Times and Adyar Talk

Vincent D' Souza said...


Now I am happy there is a lot more debated on community newspapers, even if the issue is all abou circulation and who pushes well under the door!

Feedback is welcome. Circulation is the biggest challenge for a free newspaper and we grapple with it week after week.

Anyway the good news is, a e-paper version is on the way and the best community newspapers of India, ours, will be available to the world.

That should be good news also for our legion of fans out there who kept asking for a web site. The web site wil also follow. But it will be different.

To reveal this - every day, there are at least a dozen people who search the Net for Adyar or Mylapore.
And log on to links that bring them to us.

Feels good to have so many fans.