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IMG_20170312_135654Just what is it with men and newspapers, I wonder?!

By the way, if you are a man who folds your newspaper and keeps it in its allotted place after you are done with it, then be advised this post is definitely not about you. So let the hackles fall back flat. There, now that the little matter of libel lawsuits beginning to brew in heads has been nipped in the bud, lets get back to talk about newspapers and (Just about here you can give free rein to your imagination and picture me doing an eye-roll.) MEN.

Everyone knows men simply have to read the newspaper first thing in the morning or else the earth will stop spinning on its invisible axis and we’ll all fall off into space (or wherever, don’t catch me on scientific facts like that, after all I am just a woman). Now you know WHY it is you’ll find the men with newspapers in the mornings (and in the evenings too), while women take care of cooking, washing, children and a million other things around the home before they rush off to work and after they return in the evening.

Now. In case you are a homemaker, you can stake claim to the newspaper once the man is out of the house. That is (here comes the rider to that), if there is no mother-in-law around to grab the newspapers from you and send you off on an errand to do something or other from among the Hundred And One Absolutely Necessary Things That Mothers In Law Need To Get Done Urgently When Daughters In Law Sit Down To Rest. No kidding. There ARE such things, one among them being, ‘Go and check whether the fish has thawed’ and ‘While you are at it, scrape some coconut that we don’t actually need any time soon’. But I digress. Not thawed fish and mothers in law, or even scraped coconut, but newspapers and men, is the topic.

In more than five decades of my inhabiting Planet Earth, I have come to the conclusion that SOME (by which of course I mean a VAST majority) of men are mentally not equipped to fold the newspaper the right way when they have finished with it. Opening the newspapers is easy enough for them to manage on their own, but the dexterity needed to fold the newspapers back the right way is sadly found lacking in this supposedly superior gender. Higgledy-piggledy, with leaves out of place, or missing altogether are some of the ways newspapers are found after men have read them.

Not only that (and this is a more serious charge from my point of view), the men also seem totally clueless just where to keep the newspapers after reading them.  They leave them just about anywhere, spread on chairs, tables, cots, sofas, floor, in briefcases, out of briefcases, ….you get the drift. They are even found wet and soggy in bathrooms. But the men (SOME) will never put them in the newspaper-holders scattered around helpfully for the very purpose of housing newspapers, or put them away in the Newspaper Graveyard, some old cupboard or part of the house where all newspapers go to await certain death of being sold to the raddiwala.

My father had this quaint habit (still has, for all I know!), of walking to the door of the dining hall and throwing the newspapers he had read, down on the floor. Never mind if others hadn’t yet read the newspapers. The newspapers would be folded inside out or to whichever page he had been reading last. He may even have cut out portions he wanted to preserve. And after all this, as his final act, he threw the lot on the floor for us children, or our mother, to pick up and keep them away.

What was funny about the whole thing: Sometimes the newspapers would still be lying on the floor when father came by after a while because none of us would have had reason to walk that way. But that never mattered, because we’d be scolded anyway, ‘Don’t you have eyes? Can’t anyone see the papers lying on the floor? Can’t you lazy people pick them up and put them away?

As a child I resented the injustice of it all.  YOU are the one who threw them there. YOU are the one who came by and saw them before us. Why can YOU not pick them up? Fair enough, isn’t it? Of course, I never asked those questions. Did I want my head chopped off or what? As a grown up though, I find it ridiculously funny how SOME grown up men cannot see the ridiculousness of their own actions. Or how they are blind to the fact of others being intelligent enough to see through their ways . Anyways…

In my own house, I have a cute little green newspaper-cum-magazine-holder, just the thing for the daily newspapers to go take a well-deserved rest after the day’s toil of being read by various humans. But the newspapers never find their way there. How will they? They don’t have feet or wings of their own. They don’t have the wherewithal to find their own way. They are inanimate. THEY NEED TO BE PUT THERE.

IMG_20170305_093501Alas! They aren’t. They lie abandoned on one of the chairs until feminine hands (mine) get around to picking them up and putting them away where they belong. Or else it has to be such time as the mood strikes the One Who Diligently Reads The Newspaper From First Word To Last (Hint: Not me; I am the ‘modern woman’ who gets her news from online sources), which could well be a few hours later, the next day, or not for quite a few days. At least in my case they aren’t too higgledy-piggledy. Thank God for small mercies! 😉

©Shail Mohan 2017