When I entered the austere, white concrete reception hall at the Times of India (ToI) printing press in Bangalore, filled with plastic chairs, I stopped in my tracks for a moment. Could this press, I questioned, really be the largest facility of its kind in all South Asia?
But India is a land of contradictions - between the rich and the poor, the traditionalistic elderly and the trendy youth, the unemployed masses and the IT moguls - and as is usual in India, there was more to the place than met the eye. The plain, unassuming façade of the Times' printing facility belies the complex journalistic mechanism housed within the 10-acre premises.
There are many prolific journalists from my ancestral country who write for and edit newspapers and magazines read worldwide. But for every Aroon Purie there has been another writer here in the homeland who didn't know the difference between 'there' and 'their.' I've seen local newspapers with typos in their front-page headlines. And it makes me a little sad, because I know India can do so much better.
The ToI, however, does the Indian journalism industry credit. Having gone during the past decades from an output of 7,000 copies per night to a production of 120,000 copies per hour, it even boasts an impressive online edition (and it's a widely accepted fact that online newspapers are better than their print counterparts).
The plate-developing darkroom at the press is revolutionary in this part of the world. Walking by the vats of cyan, magenta and yellow ink, being dwarfed by the Home Depot-style warehouse stacked stories high with bales of blank newspaper, holding the next day's paper in my hands before it was released to the public – it was humbling and awe-inspiring to witness the printing process at ToI with my own eyes.
But no newspaper can ever take the place in my heart reserved for my favorite publication: Silver Chips Online.
Editor's note: Sonalee Rau, who moved to the city of Bangalore over the summer, blogs about her life in India in the "BangaLore" series. For past entries, enter "Bangalore" in the Quick Search box.
Sonalee Rau. Sonalee (suh-NAH-lee) is a chipper Chipper and a would-be magnet junior. She spends a great deal of time playing tennis (Blair is red hot), doodling, reading, quoting famous people, quoting not-so-famous people and lamenting her inability to play the piano. She is also a big … More »