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   With newspaper prices steadily rising (September 8, 1991)

With newspaper prices steadily rising, I visualise the day coming very soon when nobody, except the very rich, being able to buy a full paper. People will have to share a paper.

To give an example: Say there is a building with 20 flats and the families residing in the different flats decide to buy ibe copy of The Times Of India between them and share the expense. As it so often happens when such groups are formed, one of the tenants refuses to join the group, saying that he cannot afford to even share the paper. And, in any case, thre is nothing to read in the Times. So that leaves 19 families with one paper.

The next point of dispute is: who gets to read the paper first? It is suggested that the paper should be passed on in alphabetical order. But this is considered unfair, as people with surnames like Amroliwalla, Amalsadwalla and Andrade will always be reading the paper first, and by the time people with names like Tinaikar and Variava and Yusufbhai get the paper, it would be night…or the following day.

Another suggestion is that people living on the ground floor should get the paper first, then the first floor, the second floor, and so on. But that also is considered unfair, because people residing on upper floors normally pay more rent than those on lower floors. So why should they be made to suffer.

It is finally decided that each family gets one page of the paper. So the TOI, which is on an average 20 pages (minus Ascerif), gets divided among 19 families. The 20th page is given to the watchman, because he likes to do the crossword.

There are still some problem. One of them is: Who gets the front page, which has all the news, and who gets the edit page, which has no news?

One suggestion is that the front page should go according to the new presented on it. If the news is of pandemonium and walkout in parliament, it should go to the gentleman on the third floor. However, since this is a daily news item, the front page would be going to him every day. Also, if the news is that the government is confident of securign Mr. Doraiswamy's release immediately, the front page should go to the gentleman on the sixth floor. But this also being a daily news item, the same problem arises.

Finally, it is decided that lots should be drawn each month and the lucky winner should get the front page for theat month. The rest can watch the news on morning Doordarshan.

There is one more major problem: Since the raddiwalla will not accept single pages, who gets to collect all the pages and sell the complete raddi each month. Since the tenants have failed to conclude on this point. It has been decided to refer the dispute to The Times Of India's ombudsman.

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