Morning Bliss

By Devi

If there is a time of the day that is sheer bliss then, it is the early morning hours. Omar Khayyam's idea of bliss may be "a book of verse, a jug of wine and thou" beneath a tree, but mine is a peaceful hour with my favourite newspaper in hand, stretched out in an easy chair with a cup of steaming coffee by my side. In Vizag we have the added bonus of being able to watch the splendour of the rising sun. Milton was said to have looked at nature through the spectacles of books (unlike Wordsworth who I suppose looked at it directly!) but surely he must have loved the sea and watched the glorious sun when he wrote lines like these :

"The Sun in bed curtained in cloudy red,
Pillowing his chin on an Orient wave...."

With or without a magnificent seascape to gaze on,  a good newspaper, a cup of good coffee and a precious hour of solitude are a fine way to start a day. I read three newspapers before the day is done but the morning one has to be "the" newspaper. Any newspaper will not do. Some people like to be dragooned by strong headlines and sensational reporting but I like to be left alone. I have an inherent suspicion of any newspaper which is obviously slanted in its news coverage. During the course of the day, I do read one pro-establishment paper and another anti-establishment one, but the first thing in the morning I like sober, matter-of-fact news coverage which gives plenty of information and leaves the reader to form his own conclusions. Half-inch headlines, often wholly unwarranted are not my idea of a morning newspaper.

The master of the house likes to get up late in the morning. He is in a hurry in the mornings and only glances at the headlines. He would like to put away the paper for a leisurely reading later in the day.  But nine times out of ten, he is not likely to find it again.  Things used to be much worse when the house had fuller occupancy. There were our teenage children, their friends, sundry aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.  Breakfast was a gusty affair with the youngsters putting away dosas and puris by the dozen, everybody talking, peals of laughter ringing out and newspapers all over the place. The newspapers there after hardly looked like themselves, buffeted around so much.  If the kids had a go at them, by afternoon they ended up in unrecognisable bits and pieces. The cook in those days would ignore the stack of old newspapers and snatch a sheet of the current paper for use in the kitchen.

Actually the newspaper which makes my early morning hours so blissful is a bone of contention in the house, the cause of minor skirmishes. So far no one has been able to enforce a code of conduct with regard to the handling of the newspaper.  The son of the house detaches the sports page and carries it away.  The daughter will snip and cut anything that takes her fancy. The voice of the poor master of the household is a voice, "Crying out in the wilderness" falling on deaf ears. "Please, please, keep the sheets neatly folded so that others also may read". The fact is that even before the vandals in the family have a go at it, today's newspapers come in several loose sheets. Half the sheets are not placed inside the main sheet. The newspaper boy flings it over the gate, the sheets end up flying in all directions. If it had rained the previous night, we have soaked newspapers which need to be ironed before they can be read.

There is a wide spread belief that every copy of a newspaper belongs to all humanity irrespective of who pays the subscription.  One has only to travel by train to see how total strangers borrow and keep your newspaper before you have a chance to read it yourself.  Next door neighbours are always on the alert for the arrival of your newspaper and send for it the moment it lands on your door-step.  Well, you philosophise, good neighbourly relations are more important than reading the newspaper immediately. Of late, after the TV news coverage at night, it is no longer the major news worthy events round the world that claim a reader's interest (by the morning, they are old news).

I keep an eye on the country's politics, (never a dull moment with our athletic legislators ever in readiness for the long jump in crossing the floor) read sport commentaries, book reviews and of course the editorials.  But what I love best are the little pieces of news in small print tucked away in some corner.  This is what avid newspaper readers do, not just the headlines and news analysis but the whole paper - nothing is too trivial or uninteresting.


Back to Eve's Domain