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Today I shocked the L&M by asking for the newspaper of the day.

He usually leaves it on the dining table after reading, its pages neatly folded. For some reason the newspaper never makes it to its intended ‘home’, the magazine-holder which stands about two feet away from the table. The green colored magazine holder had caught my eye at a fair some years back. It now looks old and shabby, but I do not have the heart to throw it out. Maybe I will when we eventually move from this house, but till then it will have to do.

Anyways, putting the newspaper in it and taking away yesterday’s paper to the join the pile in the back room is my job. If I miss doing it the holder gets an in-advanced-pregnancy look and I hate that. The L&M’s idea is more on the lines full-term-delivery. Nothing annoys me more, so I have taken it upon myself to clear the magazine holder as and when I clear the dining table.

Today when I looked for the newspaper after my breakfast it wasn’t on the table. That’s nothing. Some days the newspaper is taken to the study for a more thorough reading. On such days I usually leave it be to make its way back. So that’s how things stood between me and the newspapers. But today departing from ‘protocol’ I called out to the L&M asking for the whereabouts of today’s newspaper. ‘What?’ he asked from inside the bathroom where he was busy shaving. I repeated my query.

A moment later he was outside looking quite dazed. The lower half of his face was still covered in foam and in one hand was the razor. “What did you say?” he asked disbelievingly. I repeated by query a third time. “Newspaper? But WHY?” There was a look of utter bafflement on his face. I knew what it meant. He was thinking, ‘But she never reads the newspaper!’ Probably right then he was trying to recall the last time he saw me with a newspaper in hand and concluding, ‘But that was a decade or more ago!’

The newspapers and I parted ways since quite a while ago. To those who judge me for that and think I do not follow the news at all (and I have had plenty of them on my back) my reply has been the same, I do get to know all the news (that I want to read), and much before any of them, just that it is not from a physical newspaper. The L&M’s amazement came as no surprise, but it was funny alright and I laughed. I could see that curiosity was killing him and I told him why I was looking for the paper.

So now, finally we come to the reason I was looking for today’s paper. The L&M had told me in passing while perusing the paper earlier in the morning about this ASI who went out of his way to do a good turn to a young man and I wanted to read it for myself. The youngster was to appear for an entrance test along with hundreds of others. Apparently everyone was required to have an extra copy of their photo along with the hall ticket. But this young man had missed carrying one and was not allowed into the examination hall..

The inspector on duty outside the venue was a decisive man not about to let a young man’s opportunity be lost. He immediately rang nearby photo studios to find one that could get the job done and drove there in his own vehicle, had a copy of the photo made, returned and gave it to the youngster enabling him to enter the examination hall and write the test.

It was a heartwarming story to read on a dark rainy morning. But believe me, the sensational headlines that filled most of the pages has once again really put me off newspapers. So maybe I will next read one after another decade. πŸ˜‰

Β© Shail Mohan 2021