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Reading is not a dying art.......
Jun 15, 2008 02:52 PM 4904 Views
(Updated Jun 15, 2008 02:55 PM)

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Usha is so engrossed in the story of Ram and Veda and eager to know whether he accepts the American, Thevera, as his daughter-in-law that she is oblivious to the pandemonium created by her kids who are having a wild pillow fight. “I am an avid reader of magazines and these kinds of short stories in the Woman’s era are a good way of understanding the changing psyche of our society, ” says Usha, coming out of her trance.


This is the era of the Television, the epoch of the internet; the age of the Superwoman who manages both home and work with equal aplomb yet reading magazines has not become extinct as one would believe. There are many women out there who are hooked to reading magazines habitually but the prohibitive prices of the magazines have reduced the buying rate and given an impetus to the circulation library trend.


Interestingly, K.Appa Rao, a diminutive, unassuming old man with a beret on his head and a genial smile on his well lined face that has seen almost 60 summers, came up with the idea of a door to door circulation library, catering to the reading habit of many women


and a few men too in the city, way back in 1970. He is still going strong and traverses


on his bicycle from his home in Bhavanipuram to nearly all the major colonies


in the city from 1 town to NTR


University,


Satyanarayanapuram to Patamata. He started out with this innovative idea when


he saw that his wife liked reading magazines and borrowed them from the


neighbours as they couldn’t afford them. Then came into fruition--Sri Taraka


Rama Circulation Library, named after the legendary NTR himself, as Appa Rao is


a great fan of his, and carries his picture in his wallet and has watched 350


of his movies till date.. He charged ten rupees monthly when he started but now


with the rising prices of the magazines it has come to a hundred and thirty


rupees.


His homespun cloth bags are


like a magic hat from which he pulls out a plethora of glossy magazines in


English, Hindi and Telugu. You name it and he has it, from Femina to Good


Housekeeping, Swati to Sitara or Gruh Shobha to Sarita. His customers, spanning


the age group of 25 to 60, look forward eagerly to his thrice weekly visits,


when he refurbishes the old magazine with a new one. He visits Eluru too once a


week and has a number of valued customers there too.


Bored with the never ending


saga of Tulsi and Mihir Virani or Prerna and Anuraag’s nth marriage, Joginder


Kaur feels that reading something more sensible is better than watching the ‘K’


soaps dished out by Ekta Kapoor everyday. She says, ” Reading is so satisfying and magazines help


me hone my cooking skills and also keep in touch with the catty gossip of


Bolywood along with some stories and health tips too.”


For Krishna Kumari its like


killing two bird with one stone as she likes reading magazines and plus in her


own way is helping out an old man earn his daily bread. “Magazines come at a


premium these days and could burn your pocket but borrowing them is a


pleasure, ” says Krishna.


Pramila religiously follows,


the travails of Iqbal’s son, Irfan and his wife Venella of Chakravakam and of


how Kalyani, the village belle is treated shabbily by her husband Ramu who


keeps her in his consort’s home as a maid but doesn’t deny the fact that the


idiot box is an obsessive addiction but reading is a welcome relief and helps


me to keep in tune with the times.


Sasi, a PG in interior


decoration loves to go through all the pictures to check out the latest trend


in interiors as well as fashion and especially as she is a pet lover goes


through the pet care pages with extra concentration. Her personal favourite is,


‘How I was cheated’ in Woman’s era as it exposes the modus operandi of


conniving people against the naïve and gullible female species.


Neeta is a busy entrepreneur


but squeezes out time to leaf through the pages of Good Housekeeping as she is


also house proud and even finds time to experiment with the exotic recipes


given in the magazines to tickle the taste buds of her family.


It is heartening to see that


reading is not a dying art but has been alive all along. Reading is like a silent conversation and it


is rightly said that people die but books never die and they are more like a


hospital for the mind rather than the body.


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