Flyers In My Soup
by Tejas Nair
Jug Suraiya once wrote a column in TOI about the proportion of news and advertisements in newspapers nowadays. The front 2-3 pages have gigantic snippets of an automobile or a wrist watch brand or worse some construction developer singing its own wild praises. Then there are dedicated classified pages on weekends. Not to forget how there was a special 4-page paper stuffed with TOI’s bundle on the eve of Akshaya Tritiya which claimed to have all info about the occasion; it was filled with advertisements. I understand how nicely it generates revenue for the newspapers. I even understand Volkswagen‘s bizarre ad technique of placing a sensor-based sound chip in one of TOI’s editions. I also learned how a 60-year old lady fainted after she grabbed that edition from her veranda in the morning only to hear a gruff voice-over. They annoy, all right but it is when the local newspaper distributors add to the nightmare.
Everyday, for years now, whenever I open the main paper of TOI at least 8-10 flyers slip out. Last week it so happened that I was enjoying my tomato soup when I decided to read. I kept the dish to my left on the couch, grabbed the paper from the teapoy and turned to my left to get a cosy posture. Four flyers dived into the bowl like few daredevils did last month from Burj Khalifa.
The first one was a black and white, extremely low quality flyer advertising some camp nearby giving out “free” thyroid check-up for 501 rupees. The next was in solid navy blue printed on bonded pastel paper; some developer in Dombivali requesting ideas for a township. 2 flyers of the same kind, there were. Next, a white & pink leaflet publicizing a women’s gym with a well-built man’s photo on it. I wonder what it was suggesting.
So they all found haven in my soup for few seconds before I studied them and slipped back in where they came from, owing to the fact that raddiwalas give you 11 rupees for a kilogram of these newspapers. Shamelessly stingy, eh?
2 points to be noted here:
1. The local newspaper boys do not have the sincerity of slipping the flyers correctly in every newspaper. They are getting paid for it but they insert 3-4 flyers in one pack to reduce their work, which further limits the reach of the ad.
2. Beat the newspaper on a wall a couple times before you place it on the breakfast table or teapoy. All the flyers that happen to be waiting inside to sip on your soup or milk or tea will know where they actually belong. Or better, do what I do with those innocent flyers; they deserve the recycler.