Newspaper launches are never easy, especially in markets such as Chennai where you have a fully entrenched leader, who, for all practical purposes, has not faced any meaningful competition in a while now, and one who controls the trade with its so significant ability to influence everything connected with it. Nevertheless, having fed on Dainik Bhaskar's now legendary launch in Jaipur to challenge Rajasthan Patrika while at IMT, I am certainly keen to watch this round.
We stopped taking a daily newspaper at our house few months back. Plain and simple, web appeared a good alternative option. And personally speaking, the left leaning thoughts of the Hindu did not resonate with me. Last six months have been without a newspaper for me.
Cut to 1988. I was in Delhi and a school student, and Times of India was the morning breakfast with R.K. Laxman's cartoon being the opening bite. It was lobbed with clinical precision into the balcony of our 4th floor apartment by the delivery boy who would barely slow down his cycle. The Times was celebrating its 150th birthday (or sesquicentennial, if you please) and they had a counter at a fair in Pragati Maidan. I do remember getting a few giveaways from there, one of which was a black colour table calendar,something I really treasured. I remember following Jug Suraiya's column and wondering what he drinks before he starts writing his oh-so-hard hitting satires. And I continue to wonder so!
Cut forward to 2008. I am looking forward to April to resume my newspaper subscription, this time it is the Times of India. My only worry is that when I travel to Delhi and see today's version of the newspaper with photos of half naked ladies, I certainly feel this is not the same newspaper that one respected so much two decades back. I hope their Chennai edition is not a replica of Delhi but has an identity of their own. I also hope it is not so pathetic as their Patna edition.
The only certain good news perhaps is that buying newspaper would become cheaper for sure. The TOI has already initiated a price war by offering launch offers that make receiving the Times of India almost free.