Sunday, March 29, 2009

No News edition 14 - My World

Dear Friends,

Welcome to read the 14th issue of No News. From my childhood printed media has been an obsession for me. Except for the regional newspaper Mathrubhumi, it was rare to get and read variety of news and views. Periodic visit to the local libraries and occasional visitors from outside brought a change to the routine by adding pages of The Hindu or Illustrated Weekly, which was considered for the elite. The quest for reading continued as I grew older. As I moved on, it was happy hunting whenever I travelled to distant parts of India to explore the print media there and the style they released it. It never stopped even after reaching here. Gulf News, Khaleej Times, Gulf Today, and even those smaller editions, some of which died an early death.

Year 2008 saw a remarkable change in the newspaper industry by the release of THE NATIONAL. Print media became much more competitive and what was earlier a quick reading and throwaway task has now become a routine of devotion to complete the pages from start to finish. It is quite a task indeed for those who love to read. Several occasions pages have to be kept aside for week-end readings, which again saw quality output coming in to increase the knowledge power of word. Indeed, word power can be world power and it is one of the reason, I regularly read some columns without ever missing it. Mr. Saleh Al Shaibany was one such writer with Khaleej Times, whose articles brought huge interest amongst readers during his time with KT. Mr. Collin Randall is another journalist who generated literary interest with his commentary on English grammar and it’s usage. Although, very recently he has changed his base from UAE, he has continued his column in THE NATIONAL titled “my word”. As usual he allows debate on definite usage of English language each time. This time it was on the usage of comas and their need while writing.

To be or not to be is a question we ask several times when we write, read or do a thing. It happens in the grammatical usage too. As an advocate of TQM and Positive Thinking thoughts and deeds, I always contemplate for the liberty of right deed towards a right result. No matter whatever you do with orientation towards a positive result for you and the society, do it. In the case of comma too, just like an old person gasping for breadth while running a race as age catches, a comma can be lived with or without in usage styles. It all depends on how you look at things from various angle at different times. For example, if you are in the good books of your management, and you start an activity to control the number of drivers in rotation, it will be projected as brilliant and cost saving. Whereas, if your boss’s wife required a driver and he is not available on time for her due to your cost control measures, you are in line of fire.

Several times what we feel strange may look as necessary for someone and routine for some other. The other day a news item appeared about features of a Toyota Fortuner 4x4 and it’s lady owner who uses it’s ample luggage space for keeping about 40 pairs of her shoes. It was amazing to me. But, when I thought about my own car boot, fitted with a small picnic chair, my own digital camera and video camera kits, tripod, battery chargers, a full fledged First Aid Kit, fire extinguisher set, a pair of cricket bat, stumps, balls, badminton bats and a few bottles of water and a pair of jogging shoes, someone else may think, is he living in his car?.

It is all our on word and world and how we look at things we act up on. Talking about all these accessories, and it’s necessities, it is how we utilise what we have. For me, it is a routine to keep the battery of the photographic equipments fully charged and feel like a solider without his gun if I walk out with my camera battery down. Similar is the case of not carrying a pen, paper and my diary. I believe in the principle that opportunities come only for those who explore it.
An example is the cover page photo which is now an entry competing in the final stages of Malayalamanorama online news photography competition. It was a casual trip to the famous Athirappilli Vazhachaal waterfalls and it was like water and water falls everywhere, but not in a position to drink from anywhere. Splash of water from the falls which formed a stream and resulted in a small collection area was the only source of drinking point for some wild monkeys living in that area. It was his looks in the eyes and the style that captured my attention as he was drinking to save his life from danger of being attacked for fun by the tourists. It came handy now when the newspaper came out with a competition related to the Save Water – Water day on 22nd March. Talking about these competitions also reminds of a sustained effort which is required. A winner will be decided only after continuous online voting opportunities for one month. Contestants have to remain competitive and focussed on the objective of winning to remain in the race.

Winning is not the prime thing but it is to attempt for the win which is significant as far as I am concerned. Life is full of diversities and differentiations for each one of us. However, the space allotted to us is the same each day, i.e. 24hrs x 60 minutes. The weather, job, familial conditions are all in one way or other complemented to cater to our requirements and the resultant achievements signifies how we utilised those precious units.

Take the example of plants in the small balcony my mother maintains at home here. It is the same area for all tenants but we have a huge collection of Thulasi and other flowering plants and now even growing tomatoe, which are ready to harvest. What not?

Coming back to the commas, colons and semis, from the ancient time, “English” and the language has been munificent enough for taking onus to explore the civilisation across and guiding them to peril or prosperity. As in every field, it is how we utilise it each situation. In reality, I believe it is the cause for the true word order or world order which has united distant corner of the universe by it’s singularity and diversity. For me it is always to aim for positive word. I pass it on to you too.

God Bless and have a great week-end.

Ramesh Menon

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