Positivity rate is down, but don’t go mental just yet!

As the positivity rate comes down, are people going into depression?  Does it mean that people in India are more depressed?  After all, positivity is an important factor in mental health!

Why should we be concerned? According to a study conducted for the NCMH (National Care of Medical Health) reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO), India is the most depressed country in the world, followed by China and the USA. India, China, and the US are the most affected countries by anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder, according to WHO.  Who says it is important, not what is said – or is it both?

According to the study, at least 6.5 percent of the Indian population suffers from some form of serious mental disorder, with no discernible rural-urban differences. The only difference is the electricity, roads, schools, and the internet. The average suicide rate in India is 10.9 for every lakh people and most people who commit suicide are below 44 years of age. Shocking, isn’t it?

Though there are effective measures and treatments, there is an extreme shortage of mental health workers like psychologists, psychiatrists, and doctors. As reported latest in 2014, it was as low as ”one in 100,000 people”. That statistic must have improved by now and even more so in the last two years, as there are no exams to speak of.

Beyond depression, Indians, in general, are an unhappy lot – India ranks 139 out of 149 on the index of happiness according to the World Happiness Report 2021. So, there is unhappiness aplenty – but is it because our brains are the smallest in the world?  Why this question?

Researchers including those from IIIT Hyderabad developed the first Indian human brain atlas which revealed that India has some of the smallest brains in the world. The study found that there is a significant difference in the shape and size of the brain between Indians, Chinese, Koreans, and Caucasians. In fact, the brain size of Indians is smaller in height, width, and volume in comparison with the western and other eastern populations.

The study, published in the journal Neuroscience India, was a collaborative effort by researchers Raghav Mehta from McGill University in Canada, Jayanthi Sivaswamy and Alphin J Thottupattu from the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Hyderabad, and R Sheelakumari and Chandrasekharan Kesavadas from Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology in Kerala.

Small brains are an unlikely cause of unhappiness, because we have also, the sharpest ones in the world – we can find a loophole where there is none, create a complex web of laws that are meant to regulate, but are always chocolate to one section of the people or the other and create a sense of anxiety about something that we want to be a cause of anxiety for our own goals. Chocolate always heightens happiness – so a small brain cannot be the cause of the unhappiness – it must be something else – searching for the cause might keep us happy and less anxious for a while I guess.

Anxiety is aplenty – because questions abound…what will the next announcement at 8 PM bring? what will happen to me if I tweet like the bird in my backyard about the bird in someone else’s? what if I express dissent outside my marriage? will I ever get the experience of going to school, making new friends, writing an exam, and bringing home (in fear) my report card? Will Covid attack me frontally or now that I’ve made my choice of vaccine and paid for it from my meager and dwindling resources, or will it attack me sideways? will I have to go back to the office now? how will I cope in the office without my spouse being around me telling me what to do all the time? How will I dress from head to toe, when I’ve thrown away all my pants because they no longer fit and were no longer required on Zoom? And how will I learn to put up a pretence of enjoying my work?

Thank God though for the mask – it covers up more than my mouth for me! Enough for me to become Bi-polar – one personality outside and one at home!  The transition though could be rough – another cause for anxiety! And Social Distancing – I was unused to it before Corona and having stayed at home so long- even more so after Corona! Will I lose my sense of touch like I did my sense of smell and taste during my attack on Corona? And the media does not speak about Good Touch and Bad Touch anymore. I guess – They are out of touch!

But beyond Anxiety and Bipolar Disorder, are the voices I hear telling me to fill up my vehicle’s petrol tank every day; that I might save a rupee or two with which I can buy a bit of a coin – which raises another question – should I or should I not? Maybe in the end I won’t get my bit out of it but be bit…. Are these voices real or am I schizophrenic?

Anxiety is not depression and is quite natural in an unnatural world, but it can progress as quickly as Covid spreads to the lungs without an invitation! So, what is this depression caused by? Hopefully not suppression or repression, though there’s that to consider too – that would be Piling it on when the pressure gets too much if you get the drift.

But there are other factors to consider. The rise in Petrol and Internet costs perhaps? The latter depresses during a lockdown and the former after the lockdown is lifted. Then they combine to reduce lives to one of Hallucination – of being somewhere while staying at home.

Internet packages come and go suddenly – there was a covid 19 pack with free vaccination (one dose only – you’ve got to muster your own resources to take the second one, once you receive the first one – something like a bank loan – you take one and can’t pay it back – they give you another one to keep you going in the hope that one day, they will be rewarded with a payback!) That pack was replaced with a Post Lockdown pack that like the face pack has already washed off!

When Virat reaches a century everybody in India cheers so loud that Twitter dare not call it manipulated, but we don’t hear the crowd, (there are a few exceptions of course, like always) cheering for Petrol and Diesel when they crossed the milestone recently. Maybe the crowd is waiting for a double century?

Fuel Prices seem to have a will of their own – they are upwardly mobile, with great aspirations to reach Rs: 200 per litre. (Having been in the 70s for a long time, they must be seeing the ball very well) And they are continually active – everyday they exercise their muscles to stay strong – except during an election when they strictly follow the model price code – no variations at all!

So, people are caught on the wrong foot (thankfully, don’t have to use it too much) whenever they drive – They tend to idle more than drive, or they drive around in circles – There’s no parking as parking basements have been converted to shopping malls, there more one-way streets than stairways to heaven, and commuters find themselves in a perpetual roundabout. If that is not a cause for depression for the driven population, well what is? But there’s one section of the people, who must be seeing red more than they do the real colours of the world – those in the transportation sector who are caught between a rock and hard place. They cannot raise their ticket prices/freight prices daily based on the billboard at a petrol pump! Can they? 

So, a loot of causes for un-happiness and un-mental health – Will a change of mentality help? Maybe it will… the positivity rate will go up and that can have a cascading effect – which one? You choose!


This Article is written in a lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connect with any such real-life event or character, rest assured its purely coincidental.

Image by Noupload

An interest-ing proposition!

Loan me a loan without a moan said Arjun – my common man, not Laxman’s – to the Neta and he got it; Arjun was happy beyond much of his normal belief when he heard the announcement.  He had cause to be! His whole family had suffered Covid attacks, he had lost two – his parents and gained two – twins, in the last one and a half year of the pandemic and sporadic lockdowns.

All brands of his wallets, including the leather one, were mostly empty (the emptiest word in the English lexicon – you remove all letters of the word, and it will be completely empty, and that’s exactly how he felt!) – half its contents gone to improve the health of the healthcare sector, and the other half to boost the line of credit that no one could follow to its source! More so after the end of the moratorium last year.  Right now, he was in-sanatorium.

His small eatery just outside of his house – his own thankfully, was shut down half of that time and his income had dwindled to the extent that it now resembled a Vada with an extra-large hole! The one he couldn’t sell anymore. The one he couldn’t make also, because of that hole in his wallet.

Like his once-famous Vada, he fermented overnight, and seeing his cupboard bare, he kept repeating to himself (nobody else cared) “who moved my cheese?”. Only the invisible virus heard it and just grinned and mutated without a care in the world – for it had found new reasons to say “Cheese”! It didn’t really care that the newfound Cheese had grown a fungus too –  one that resembled a rainbow!

And this time, he knew the Chinese were not responsible, nor would they take responsibility for having moved it around. But that was only to be expected. They didn’t last time too!  And nobody else was willing to or could bell the bat!

But Arjun and his family suffered. Their cupboards were bare; indeed, they could barely move the hand to mouth, let alone sideways to other mouths. Their freezer was frozen in a time before Covid, the door kept open for it to air its grievances!

For Arjun the variables were becoming too many to handle – the twin tragedy and joy at home; and the frozen dessert of a locked-down eatery. By now the only thing that was not a variable was his stress. It climbed onto him like the mist does a mountain. And he tried to remain calm, following all the recommendations for safety from new variants – rubbing alcohol frequently first on his hands and then using it appropriately to sanitize his mind…. Soon he would run out of that safety outlet too!

For the virus, it was the variants! They even called themselves by Greek names – it seemed they were really scared of their origins coming to light or being highlighted! given that Alex Hailey’s novel “Roots” was fast becoming a novelty all over again.

And then came an announcement that warmed his heart, and threatened, pleasantly of course, to refreeze his freezer!  Though previous announcements about such announcements terrified him because of their timing, this one he looked forward to… because of the timing. He was in dire straits, and he knew for certain, he would never in his lifetime reach the Palk straits, let alone take his family across them for a holiday.

He listened to the announcement with interest! lots of interest! and he was rewarded for his interest, as were the people who activated his interest when they gave him a guaranteed loan – all he had to do was pay the interest with lots of interest! He was delighted, for now, he could make an ass-et of himself too. There was already a queue for the rest of them – the assets without a hyphen!

Why didn’t they just give it to us he wondered! I have an account and a direct bank transfer is so easy in this digital age even with iffy connectivity – no paperwork, only work. But one must work for a living or live to work – if one can find it.

So, he stood in the queue – a lovely word that is defined by its spelling – All the letters that follow the alphabet q, have nothing to offer in terms of value! He had endured queues before everywhere – at the railway station, during demonetization and recently for vaccination – so he was vaccinated against that uniquely queue syndrome – frustration within a calm exterior! Much like the paint for exteriors hides the tears within!  Guaranteed!

Never refuse a good offer, his friend would always say, and he was a grey-haired wise man.  Lots of life experience. A man he always looked up to, though he was often looked down upon.  His was also a pleasant dilemma that offered little choice, and so he took it and for a month or two he was happy.

His Vadas were again the talk of the town – the hole in them and become smaller and the Vada bigger. Customers were coming back; the twins were twinning well, and everything was on the upswing.  He reduced the use of the sanitiser even, keeping it more for his customers! And he hid his joy behind his mask – one he washed and hung up to dry, every day,

And then one day that Geek, sorry the Greek maths teacher appeared at his door and put a tough question to him. Not one that many of us can answer…

Delta Plus = ?

He thought he knew the answer – Zero – but kept quiet and tried to close the door on him. Did he succeed?

Well, if you sustain the interest you showed this week, you may find out next week!


This Article is written in a lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connect with any such real-life event or character, rest assured its purely coincidental.

Image by Tanuj Handa

Now, why would I want to get married?

Am I too old to be asking that question? Never, age is just a number they say. Am I too bold to be asking that question? Never, age just makes you humbler. Or does marriage? – I must know. You also must know if you are at that ‘come pander me’ stage – what some of us, call the companionship stage. 

Why would anyone want to get married is a question that troubled me / excited me – I can’t say which – as I saw the rising number of matrimonials in the newspaper that I read online – I don’t buy the newspaper – not anymore because the ads are mostly matrimonials… or obituaries! 

But I do read the online versions, and of course, update my current repository of knowledge through “What’s that app” called? Sorry, seems I can’t recall. Too many apps/naps that I’m addicted to in these difficult times.

The matrimonial ads themselves have evolved from those based on caste and creed – with or without bar attached, to Covid! The groom or the bride, now ask for a fully vaccinated spouse. Not sure if this is because the vaccine is in short supply, or they are scared of the C drive. Sometimes the ad content is misspelled; the big V word is sometimes spelled as “Waxed!” These ads get a lot of responses!

Others are asking if the family has access to a lifetime supply of Masks and proof of connections to obtain oxygen, Remdesivir and Amphotericin-B on demand. Still, others are offering the unpronounceable anti-body cocktail – I call it PinaColada – newly put out by Roche for the full family on request as an incentive!

But to the main question, that I put to myself – I tried roping in my companion to answer the question – but she found the question itself redundant. That is natural until I told her I was researching for an article for Newskarnataka, not an article of faith in the institution which is as strong as it was when I said, “I do” (not, please note, I’ll try!). But the answer I got, was the best I heard in a long time – Silence!

Not having succeeded in eliciting a response from a primary source, I combined some secondary research and opinions of my media friends who were all in the “accompanied” category and tried to answer the question myself – I came to some surprising conclusions. That usually happens when you talk to yourself according to Carl Jung. The name is spelled correctly by the way.

First and foremost, it is the pandemic; external movement without a mask and social proximity is restricted either by self or regulation. This is not restricted at home.  People at home are more positive, shall we say?

Secondly, Millennials crave companionship which is not possible with parents these days – the TDGI – They Don’t Get It – syndrome. So even if they resisted the institution earlier, fearing its four walls, now they wanted that roof over their heads; the lifetime supply of masks and oxygen was a bonus of course. Responses also came quicker, given that the walls now had open windows, keeping the enthusiasm for the collaborative project up.

Millennials – the ones putting out the ads – it would seem, see a chance to save on wedding expenses and appropriate the originally estimated bill for themselves from the source of such expenditure. This thought occurred to me for two reasons – I received a wedding invite by what’s app – that told me that due to the restrictions I was invited but not welcome, and secondly, the price of petrol was lunging, not just inching toward the top the Burj al-Khalifa, creating new records! 

Another reason perhaps, one more fitting to the occasion, is that the entire process can be done online – from the ad to the due diligence, the horror scope, the courtship, the negotiation, and even the wedding itself. Post that of course, the couple will go offline for a while!

I am aware, that when they go offline and the masks come off, companionship, could transform into comp-onionship, the type that brings tears to the eyes with its root cause-effect. A good example is a guy who opened his windows a little too wide to let the sun in; it rained, and he is ruined!

But it can be overcome. All you need to do, perhaps. is peel the layers and put them on a hot pan while both hold the panhandles. Coordination, Cooperation, and knowing when to hold or let go is the key. Often, it is a panhandler’s choice. The other alternative is to get the masks back on and maintain social distance – Which could lead to more ads.

That will no doubt help the media survive – it’s exceedingly difficult these days – and with it that precious institution – marriage, the only one that welcomes dissent, without dissing the dissenter!

I hope I’ve answered the question, I raised – for your sake!


This Article is written in a lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connection with any such real-life event or character, rest assured it’s purely coincidental.

Image by NatureFriend

A Tale of Two Paths

Let me warn you, this article is a long, but I can assure you, an interesting read! So, do not turn the page to the next article until you have read this one completely. Just do it!

When the Pathways education scheme was introduced in the summer of 2018, those who were dual members were offered a path for each of the clubs they were members of, a free path, which otherwise cost USD 20 (around Rs: 1450).  Others were not so fortunate and had to buy their way to a “great learning experience”, which they did not ostensibly, really mind, because in the end it worked both ways – It was value for money and money for value addition!

But what one must admire, puns intended, is that was a great motivational strategy, involved presentation mastery and was a decision that emanated from the Dynamic Leadership at the top of the pyramid of the Toastmasters organization! 

The Pathways education program was unique in that it combined both the leadership and the communication streams of the previous education programme of Toastmasters to provide a realistic and holistic learning experience that transcended the TM Meeting hall to go beyond, into real life.

There are 11 paths currently, including a recent and welcome addition – engaging humour.  The paths that pre-existed compelled you to manufacture humour from nothing, like a magician.  Some are. Some are not!  Magicians. Finding one’s funny bone among the 208 in the body, does take some doing.

But choosing a path, free or otherwise, is a difficult exercise for even the most decisive of human beings. For, the most decisive among us are often intuitive and hasty, and naturally prone to mistakes (that is murphy’s law), while the least decisive are the ones who have their feet on two paths simultaneously… hoping to shift forward movement at the least challenge. Then there those of us who choose their paths after much consultation and deliberation, with, as Steven Covey said, “the end in mind”.  We tread carefully, and steadily along that path, much like the turtle did… and we win the race at our own pace!  Our hope is sometimes belied by the proscriptions imposed by the law of nature… you win because I allow you to… but hope and perseverance are the best options for our journeys on this earth.

Be that as it may, the choice of paths and its aftermath comes down to our perceptions of where and what we want to be, of the difficulties or challenges the path might throw up, and our ability to deal with them, our fear of failure, or of success even in some cases, and infinitesimally, the cost factor…

Nothing illustrates this more than this tale of two paths…

There was this distinguished elderly gentleman, a retired lieutenant Colonel who was habituated and committed to an evening walk along a pre-determined path, and so every evening while on these travels, he espied a rather young and handsome but rather unkempt gentleman who sat along his path, with a bowl and a sign that read – “Help is what help does, have pity on me”.

The Colonel, having worked hard and led a disciplined life, over his seventy ears on this earth was not without both sympathy and empathy, but could not reconcile himself to the fact that this seeming perfectly fit young gentleman was literally begging for money and he would ignore him and walk on. But one day, his helpful nature got the better of him and so…

He stopped by the guy and struck up a conversation. Asking him why he is sitting here every evening begging when he could easily join the army. “You seem fit as a fiddle, young man,” he exclaimed. “I could help you join the army, where you will be well taken care of, even as you take care of the country. Look at me, I am a prime example of what the Army can do for you and what you can do for the country. Your path to glory, must be paved with hardship and sacrifice”.

“Well, I could, and I am grateful for your offer said the young beggar. But I do not want to,” without arrogance. The Colonel was taken aback but as was his wont, he went on, “and why is that young man?”

“Well, that’s a long story sir”, replied the young man.

“Get on with it. I have all the time in the world”, said the Colonel, hoping to convince him to join the services after he ventilated.”

“Ok”, said the young man, “it’s like this”.

The Colonel continued to stand while the young man narrated the story.

“if I join the army, two things can happen. I could be given a desk job, or I could be sent to the frontline. If I am given a desk job, that is fine, but if I am sent to the frontline, two things could happen to me. I could be injured, or I could die. If I am injured, its fine, but if I die two things could happen to me. I could be cremated or be buried. If I am cremated, that is fine, but if I am buried, then two things could happen to me, I could be eaten by ants and worms or a tree could grow over me. If I am eaten by ants or worms, it will not matter, but if a tree grows over me, two things could happen to me. The tree could be allowed to survive for a long time, or it could be cut down. If it can survive, well, that is not a problem, but if it is cut down, two things could happen, it could be used as firewood or it could be used to make paper.  If it is used to make firewood, that is great, but if it is used to make paper, two things could happen – it could be made into writing paper or newspaper or it could be used to make toilet paper. If it is used to make writing paper, I am fine with it, but if it is used to make toilet paper, two things could happen. The toilet paper may be used by a man or a woman. If it is used by man, fine; but if used by a woman… well I would die of shame,” he concluded.

The Colonel was stunned into silence. He had never met such a far-sighted man before. One that thought so carefully before choosing a path and embarking on a journey. He recalled his own path and realized that he had chosen his path instinctively!  Or was it destiny that guided him?

Well to each his own… but the end goal of any path we choose is happiness from having grown in wisdom…

Choose yours the way you would like to with great deliberation, instinctively or intuitively – But once you choose a path, tread it with determination and diligence until you cross the finish line…

Saving Private Twit

A picture containing logo

Description automatically generated

This time it is a teatime story. Read on

I was by chance privy to a private conversation between my college mate and friend Ajay and his family recently. He had invited me over for a sleepover, now that his elder brother had left the house for the NDA in Pune.

But first, let me give you some background. Ajay’s dad, a progressive but strict disciplinarian, was the head of the house and unlike the domestic situation at my place, which was more, shall we say liberal, Ajay lived in a more conservative environment, where generally his father’s words showed the way, and either way, always held sway. 

According to Ajay, his dad often took self-well-informed decisions and then put them to debate within the family. With his brother moving out, it was now left to question the decisions and he found it rather difficult because he got no answers, but a reiteration of the decision. His father was also particularly good at ensuring his decision is followed by hook or crook and he was good at both. 

He had recently taken to social media -Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and had just three followers/friends now – His wife, Ajay, and his brother. Both Ajay’s mother and his brother were familiar with Facebook and not so familiar with Twitter; they had joined the platforms at his father’s instance.

So, I was over at their house, and it was early evening; teatime; delicious snacks on the table; the shadows were lengthening across their 6th-floor living room and we were all lazing around the hall when Ajay brought up his father’s first and only tweet. He had cryptically tweeted a decision at 8 PM the previous night, “From midnight tonight, no doors, barring the main exit-entry doors to the flat, shall be bolted either from the inside or the outside” Ajay thought it would be a good conversational topic. Besides, the new rule of the house affected him in no small measure! He was, he told me later, also concerned how I would adapt to the rule. After all, I was a guest.

Ajay said,” Dad what was that tweet all about? Was that you or did you lift that quote from somewhere?” said Ajay, thinking that his dad was experimenting with Twitter, given it was his first brush with the Twit. Dad said, “it was genuinely mine. I wanted to convey my decision to all of you given our busy lives”. Unexpectedly, Mom intervened in the conversation. “What he meant was that privacy in this house shall be reasonably restricted from now on. We have genuine reasons for this rule, and the restrictions are quite reasonable in our opinion.”

But Dad, Ajay butted in, “Even the Bathroom door? Dad said calmly, “Yes, even the bathroom door.”

Now Ajay was visibly upset. He should not have been, given his status in the house. “What is the logic in that? Aren’t we entitled to some privacy? Ajay asked.  Don’t you know that the Supreme Court has made Privacy a fundamental right, and any invasion of the same, is subject to legal action? It’s even a human right according to Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which says: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy”

Given his experience of these debates, he knew two things – one, he had crossed a very thin line – you must not question Dad’s decisions, and secondly, he would not get an answer, but his dad would dig his heels in and reiterate his decision. Ajay did not even have the support of his brother now.

Unexpectedly, Dad took up the gauntlet! He said, “the Supreme court says it is a fundamental right but is subject to reasonable restrictions. I have not asked you to keep the door open now, have I? I’ve only asked you to keep it unbolted so that if there is a doubt about your activities, I or your mother can check in on them with or without your consent. Is that not reasonable”, he reasoned, calmly.

I heard Ajay mutter under his breath, “a reasonable lawmaker, judge, and executioner, all rolled into one”. I kept very still, but his dad had not heard him.

Ajay knew he was fighting a losing battle, but he carried on bravely. “What can we do behind bolted doors when you are breathing down our neck 24×7 now that you work from home, and are always awake and vigilant – at least 18 hours a day? Ajay asked.  Then there’s Mom too monitoring my activities. Her friends too. And you cannot know what I do when I go out? So, what is the use. You’ve got to learn to trust me”.

Now Ajay knew he had crossed well and truly into the opponent’s half. He had even entered the D. Trust was not a word used in the house, at least not that he had heard of… But Dad surprisingly, was in a spirited mood today – He had become a Twitterati!

“Who knows, dump someone, dump on someone while taking a dump? Let the water flow unnecessarily, it might flood the flat and affect the whole building, keep the geyser on, when not necessary, occupy space with an intention to deprive needy brethren of the same, incite others through secret correspondence from your laptop or phone, I don’t know.  They might affect our security and peace of mind”. But this is only a preventive measure. So, there’s nothing to worry about is there”? he countered.

Ajay was stumped and tried to draw me into the conversation looking for support! Forgetting (or recalling?) for a moment that I was even in the room he said, “we have guests here who may not be comfortable with that kind of a rule”.

Ajay’s dad ignored me, and looked at him sternly, “It’s our house, if he cannot follow our rules, he need not stay. But then he will miss out on Mum’s lovely chicken dinner this evening, and your math tuition to him. It’s up to him.”

I decided I had to say something, but I had to be diplomatic if I wanted to stay back! I knew which side my bread was Amulled!

I was sure Ajay’s Dad had been manipulated into putting out this rule – he had these advisors with whom he discussed most everything during his morning walk in the park, else, he must have been pricked by something he saw or heard in the house or a combination of the two. But I could not really tell him that – I would have been chased out of the house. So, all I said was, – and I thought they were real words of wisdom after I said them – “Uncle, what is public is not private, and what is private, must be public, except for the privates. Publicity is right, and is you’r right!” I sounded reasonably unrestricted I thought.

Ajay later told me that all his unrestricted activities behind closed doors, have been reasonably restricted, and he did not want to be unreasonable – he could not really – it was his father’s house.

My sleepover was uneventful – nobody pushed the door open though that fear was always there. But I comforted myself with the thought that I was being unreasonable and carried on…


This Article is written in a lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connection with any such real-life event or character, rest assured it’s purely coincidental.

Graphics by OpenClipart-Vectors

Thank you for making Newskarnataka.com as Peoples’ Media!

Spearhead Media popularly known as ‘Peoples’ Corporate!’ that started its ambitious journey into the Media world in November 2013 from Mangaluru, a coastal city of Karnataka, is today, celebrating with you, the dawn of the decennial year of its flagship media subsidiary – newskarnataka.com. This much-loved Karnataka-focused news web portal began its operations as a Kannada news portal on this very day in 2012.  

The evolution of Newskarnataka.com

That newskarnataka.com preceded the corporate setup may be a dichotomy. But like everything in this world, the natural evolutionary process that governed its establishment and has brought us to where we are today – a media house focused on and for entire Karnataka and Kannadigas around the globe, that was intended to become, and indeed has become the voice of the people, by the people and for the people of Karnataka. It was the vision of six idealistic youth that delivered this gem, and they continue to be associated with it and its development.

Its editorial independence is unparalleled in the industry, and its integrity never in question. Its response to all its stakeholders has been one of immediacy with integrity and impartiality. It is a corporate entity no doubt, but a peoples’ corporate – for the people, of the people, and by the people (all stakeholders including its 45 shareholders, over 100 contributors, its numerous advertising partners, its individual benefactors, and of course its internal team of young and dynamic as well as veteran journalists that renews itself periodically!)

The evolutionary process – a few of us internally call it the revolutionary process – has taken us on a journey that has been creative, exciting, exacting, challenging, rewarding and at some points, disappointing. But we have always remained positive in a negative world, overcame those disappointments, and stayed the course – for both your sake and ours. 

This evolutionary process established Spearhead Media Pvt. Ltd also helped establish the company’s other media products – http://www. newskannada.com, a Kannada news portal, (newskarnataka was transformed into an English news portal in March 2013), Karnataka Today, a monthly English all colour English feature magazine launched in 2015, NK + a bilingual digitally distributed e-magazine targeting the youth of the state, NKTV on the YouTube platform for infotainment shows, NKLive to cover live events, e-learning platform, verdevice – design and digital media hub, Village TV, a social initiative and SAAMS, a media study centre. It must; we live in a dynamic, volatile world… especially in the media industry – but I will come to that later.

Blessings and challenges

There is no doubt, with India ranking 142 out of 180 on the freedom of the press index developed by the Media Watchdog Reporters Without Borders, the need of the hour for India is free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism as the country faces multiple challenges. But can the media as it exists today, in its current environment provide it?  

The media industry, all of it, but especially the news media is in a crisis of its own. Dropping revenues has forced brutal layoffs and pay cuts. Advancing technology is changing reading modes and habits. Information exchange is instant as is opinion formation. The best of leather and investigative journalism (ground-level reporting) is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacles that create a pre-determined and agenda-based narrative, rather than provide both sides of a story and its back story for informed decision-making – a journalistic maxim that has long been forgotten in the quest for eyeballs and its by-product, advertising revenue!

Be that as it may, it has been 9 years since we started out. We sat down yesterday to count our blessings and enumerate our challenges – the blessings of wonderful, talented, loyal stakeholders, and gifts of integrity, resilience and perseverance amongst our team and we were grateful. 

We then also listed our challenges –  compliance with the newly issued regulations for digital media that could turn out to be a Damocles sword if applied selectively; a  drop in advertising – the market all but collapsed after series of financial reforms and this has been compounded by the COVID lockdowns; the availability of appropriate human resources – which must be consistently paid a fair wage for fair talent; grabbing and retaining eyeballs, in the face of fierce competition from digital websites, both national and local, and of course social media and other news aggregators. 

What is required? An enduring USP

Each one of us in the industry must have a USP to sustain through the climate change – from print to radio to TV to digital Media to Social Media to OTT platforms that are taking the Visual Media Market by storm. 

Fortunately, from the start, we have had one – truth endures – and it has helped us endure over time. But the future may not want the truth as we see it, but as they see it and that will be the greater challenge. Short and quick reads with headlines that say it all. After all, who is interested in the detail of why the dog wagged its tail? That it wagged will be sufficient. For the rest, we can form our own conclusions, based on our perception of the event, which in turn is based on our experiences, mindset and inherent biases’!

What then should we publish?

There is another more serious challenge that all of us in the media industry (other than social media which is populated through influencers) face in our race to grab eyeballs and keep them – What to publish and what not to. 

Man lives by his senses and emotionally drawn to anything that tickles his senses – what does that? Fear, conflict, negligence, the unusual, David vs Goliath scenarios, failure, exercise or lack of exercise of power, comparisons, and listicles that feature the best and the worst in the world and us. Reporting these events are the new normal, while the triumphs of kindness and love of the normal kind, resilience in the face of adversity, innovation for a better and sustainable tomorrow for the next generations, alternative maps of development and people power are often ignored. 

Given the realities of our times, it is best to have a balance. And newskarnataka.com has been trying to do just that – the evidence is in our special section – the regular columns that focus on travel, women, humour, health and wellness, and the best of human nature.

The future as we see it

Your favourite media group is looking to consolidate its presence in the market over the next five years – through new visually impressive, interactive, and responsive websites, a more attractive Karnataka Today magazine with more subscribers for both print and its revamped e-edition, better and more programming on its web channels, an exclusive OTT platform and more effective presence on social media which is evolving by the day. It will also look to comply with all regulations that are thrown at it, and weave a fabric of news, views and visuals that will keep all Kannadigas, wherever they may be warm, involved and committed to our beautiful state.  

We look forward to your continued support for our quality journalism. In the meanwhile, we look forward to your continued support for the cause of quality journalism through your monetary, advertising support and of course your continued readership.

Miles to go before sleep and let’s walk together to rededicate newskarnataka.com as Peoples’ Media!

Au revoir…

Brian Fernandes

Director – Spearhead Media Private Limited


A Nurse nurses

A Nurse nurses

As does a mother,

For she’s a mother too

Still the nurse,

She wakes up and sighs,

Who shall I nurse today?

A choice I have is to stay away

Nurse my baby, and pray,

That the pandemic does not stray

Into my home, my life.

As a daughter, as a mother,

 as a wife

The telephone rings

It goes, Tring Tring Tring

I know it’s the distress ping,

From a desperate matron

Whose feet are beginning to sting

I know what she’ll say

Please come over,

Patients are dying, I’m not lying. 

She’s appealing

To the nurse in me.

And she knows I’m crying.

Im dead on my feet,

A sleepless night, a wake up fight

And now a telephone ring

Just as my baby delights.

But it’s over, when

She wails and flails

I rush to her,

I’m naturally besotten

Let those dying wail!

 But wait. I’m a nurse,

A Nurse who nurses.

For us, it’s never over.

Is it a curse?

My mind  is split open

Like the ripped bedsheet

that last night,

I used to wrap that dead meat.

His family, they were distraught,

but saluted me from afar,

Next stop, the  pyre.

I went home, I held her close.

I was stuck in the mire.

I felt dire.

Tring, Tring, Tring

Duty calls, here and away

Which way should  I sway?

If I stay, I’ll be out of pocket,

My baby, she’ll cry

And all I’ll be able to do,

Is to hold her locket,

If I go, I’ll save a life,

But mine?

Photo by Graham Ruttan on Unsplash

The Medicament G15 summit: the fight to win

They met to decide the future course of action, the heroes of the fight against Covid19 second wave in India. They came from all over, but the conference was dominated by the Atmanirbhar India faction.  Generics tried to get an invite but were left out by consensus among the core group.

The Medicaments shook hands, by all appearances, cordially, and they all took their seats. the groupism evident in the way they sat (I got the spelling right, didn’t I?) themselves.

It was to be a celebratory meeting, of their joint fight against an invisible enemy that only they could see – Covid…

They were all there – Betadine, Vitamin C, Zincovit, Azithral, Doxycycline, Ivermectin, Dexamethasone, Budesonide, Remdesivir, Tocilizumab, Virafen and 2DG. Oxygen, Covax and Covisheild – the vaccines, were special invitees, but they did not arrive until the meeting was midway through its deliberations!

Covid tried to surreptitiously get an invite by attaching itself to Betadine, but it was spit out at the start itself… It then tried its luck with Azithral but was suffocated by its advances and had to beat a retreat from the driveway itself!

The Conference began with a prayer of thanksgiving and the hope of a continued crisis, that would help them transform them into saviours, build themselves a healthy bank balance and loyal following, which many of them did. The prayer was led by Vit C, who was aware of the double standards of the people in the room, but there was no other way, given the circumstances and their destiny.

Remdesivir then took the Chair. He believed he had a right to be there because he commanded respect in the market (black) and he was the main hope of the woken dead.  Oxygen tried to battle him for the chair, but the rest of the members felt he was an outsider; also, that he was helping people revive quicker than was necessary, giving them less time to contribute their bit. So, in the end, it was Remdesivir in the chair. Surprisingly, he was quite democratic in his approach; he said he would give each a chance to say their bit.

Betadine began with a gurgle, but nobody could make out what he was saying, and nobody cared; he commanded a lot of respect as he was in and out of people’s throats, often for a month at a time; he had made a fortune in the interim. But as he concluded, he voiced the politically incorrect thoughts of most of the participants of the conference, “we know, this Covid must be banished from our sight by our efforts, but what will become of us then?”

There was a moment’s pin-drop silence before others cried “yes, that is true”. Vitamin C and Zincovit, the eternal favourites, kept quiet. They were not really worried about the future, as they had their fingers in many flues, and if this one flew over the cuckoo’s nest, then it was just another fly in their ointment. But they could not say that openly.

The problem was with how the rest of the crowd in the room viewed the trio – with ire; they were aware of it.  They had supported Betadine in trying to block others from deriving benefit from Covid and earned their wrath.  They knew the handshakes and smiles were superficial.

But, to their dismay, they had let Covid slip through a few, and in the last two months, more than a few! They also knew from experience, Covid was a smart dude who would slip through when their guard was down. “He may be even with us here in this room who knows”, Zincovit said, “watching our every move”, thinking aloud!

The rest of them, who usually took care of the rest of the Covid and gave the Positives a little R&R (rest and relief) said confidently, though their hearts were quivering, “don’t worry; we will take care of him if he enters the room.  We will combine to smash him to smithereens as we always do!”.

Tocilizumab remained silent and when the din died down, Remdesivir asked him to speak up, but he stumbled while pronouncing his name, and Tocilizumab took umbrage. His chest swelled with the swelling he normally controlled, and he let them have it. He said, “you all don’t get it, do you? this guy is not going away in a hurry, and we will all have a role to play for some time. So do not get worked up. But he might change his colours and some of us might become redundant. We can’t change our colours can we”?

“He’s right”, said Ivermectin, feeling like the worm he normally treats – He was upset because he was already removed from the treatment protocol after being a protocol star for some time.  He continued, “WHO the hell does he think he is” giving vent to his personal feelings.

The Steroids in the room remained quiet. They nodded or shook their heads without saying a word. They were numb after all their exertions keeping all the eruptions they encountered, calm and contained. They really had nothing to say for they could not help with eradicating Covid, only control his shenanigans. They would, like Vit. C always be relevant, and this discussion seemed pointless to them.

Virafen and 2DG from the Atmanirbhar faction watched each one’s expressions carefully and plotted their own strategy. They were new entrants and were still finding their feet! Often, they exchanged glances, sometimes of derision, and at other times of vision. They would be the stars of the next surge. They knew it.  Their time in the sun would come.

Oxygen who had entered midway through the meet was not allowed to speak at all, because all knew he was in short supply and they considered him only as an adjunct to themselves. They were the stars, though he stole the spotlight. They were understandingly bitter.

The vaccines thought it best not to speak in this charged atmosphere. They knew if they were efficient, the rest of the guys in the room would be at their throats because then they would be out of business. And they knew they were not 100%.., yet. But they would keep working towards that goal, no matter the consequences.

Remdesivir summed it up with a smile.

Let us give him hell for a while.

Let us make hay while the sun shines,

And then bow out in style!

As the meeting came to an end, Covid quietly exited and began to mutate…


This Article is written in a lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connect with any such real-life event or character, rest assured its purely coincidental. 

Of plastic smiles and crocodile tears

Plastic is crowding our seas while any BODY, our rivers! And so, it is banned in the breach; we cannot do without that ubiquitous petticoat-shaped semi-translucent piece of daily jewelry in our hands, now, can we?

Same with the smiles these days, the ones that adorn our pretty faces, the black and white fungus notwithstanding; they are full of polyurethane, and naturally so? given the quantity of time we spend in front of the screen for selfies, online meets, performing for Videos including CoVideos, and of course when appearing on Television – the king, or shall we say Queen of all screens. (It is interactive and attractive at once!)

The screen has replaced the mirror, where the smiles were genuine feedback of how you were feeling on that day and not of, how you are supposed to feel! And sometimes they were absent or replaced by a grimace. But today, nobody even says, “mirror, mirror, on the wall, am I the fairest of them all?” because today, they know who is the fairest and a mobile or television screen helps them prove it for posterity!

None of that is possible on a screen – a display of genuine feeling has no probative value, and a plastic smile is the only way to bag it! But let us not be so negative – though it is good to be called so these days.

Plastic smiles have many advantages too; they cover up mistakes that have caused heartburn, help make new friends and rebuild broken bonds with fellow men that break again when the plastic vaporizes in the heat!  However, plastic, even a plastic smile, has only so many uses – you cannot use it once rigor mortis has set in… unless it is to bag it!

Do Plastic smiles accompany Crocodile tears?

I would say no, based on empirical evidence. One must look appropriately stricken, if not by Covid, which is quite unlikely these days, then at least by Covigrief, of which also, there is plenty going around, so there is enough of that – I meant empirical evidence.

As E-commerce grows, and E-Governance picks up – mostly in collection of dues to the government – not the other way around – E-motion seems to have caught on. Like Motion, it requires a place to deposit its displays of variety and what better place than on a screen? 

The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance that are a part of the framework that formats the way you are learning to live with the one you lost are well-known and prime candidates for E-motion, with the last stage best suited for smiles and tears…

E-motion’s USP is free tear delivery – it’s fast and effective; some have associated it with the thick-skinned crocodile – a most unlikely match, or maybe not –  and called it crocodile tears – but like (or unlike) Plastic smiles, the term is a misnomer. The phrase derives from an ancient belief that crocodiles shed tears while consuming their prey (Wikipedia). To that extent, they are true to form.

These tears flow, sometimes gently, sometimes freely, depending on how hard the vinegar dipped sponge rubs your wounded hide, and thus, your pride. You cannot hide, you cannot slide, so you tend to describe, choke when you see a Mehul – not often seen these days – and cry to vibe… 

E-motion tends to ebb and flow like the waves, and it is important to display it at its peak – for as Matshona Dhliwayo says “If you cry in the rain only the sky will see your tears.”

On the flip side, there’s also Santosh Kalwar who says, “If I can see the pain in your eyes then share with me your tears. If I can see the joy in your eyes, then share with me your smile.” 

But what if you cannot see either, only the smile and the tears – that too simultaneously?

Do give it a thought a day, until next week same time!


This Article is written in a lighter vein. It hopes to unmask your smiles despite social distancing, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you perceive a connection with any such real-life event or character, you must rest assured it’s purely coincidental.

The Viral Covid Media – a painful jab?

Covid Media is quite the antithesis of the much tele-talked about Godi Media. While the latter is full of positivity (other than of, and for Covid) the former is full of negativity about those Covid positives. That really is the paradox of our Media Today. 

Burning Pyres and Burning Tyres highlighted by the Covid Media display the paradox even more brutally. They leave you gasping for breath, literally (even without Covid blocking your airways), and before they show it to you, they inform you that what you are about to see might have graphic scenes, so viewer discretion is advised – Discretion means: You either change the channel, switch it off or turn the page. But you do neither because you are curious – the first time.  Thereafter the Law of Diminishing Marginal fatality kicks in.  

Not sure why they warn you to be discreet when all they want you to do is throw caution to the wind and stay on it. Do they have noble intentions?  maybe preventing the virus from spreading by scaring you into wearing your mask while you perform your tasks? Washing your hands off all the dirt you have accumulated during the day? and warning you to keep your distance – which you do anyway, the moment you know a person is Positive. That is a negative approach to a positive situation, but it is the only way Man and Media know?

Either way, the worst in each of us overcomes the best in the rest of us when we watch television or read the news. But then, for news to be news or for the news to be viewed – which is the primary purpose of all news, the bad is better than the good, evil, better than sainthood, and a criminal record better than serving the cause of justice. That is what all journalists are taught – Dog biting man is NOT news, Man biting dog IS.  Of course, when a dog bites man in retaliation – it IS News.  

The Supreme Court itself recently said that the Press should not be restrained from reporting. Because basically, it is Re-porting. Not creating. The line of course is thin, like between copy and paste and cut and paste! And rightly so. The press must report and ask the tough questions, but not to those watching the vaccines being packed (the opposition) as parts of the Media do, but to those but those who oversee its production – persons with authority derived from the Constitution, e.g.: do you like mangoes – that is a tough question when there is a drought for the fruit, certainly.

It is the tough questions that get the right answers, else the right will believe it’s always right, by right, and the media will have plenty to write about, barring infringed rights! This because there is extraordinarily little left, in the left pocket.   But framing tough questions might get you framed for posterity; if you prefer a live stream, better flow with it, like most do. But then you may never see an improvement in the oxygen levels, bed availability or vaccination orders in your lifetime because it will be cut short, unexpectedly!

So, it’s a choice! The remedy is a painful jab that is in short supply and with known aftereffects!   And that is the tragedy! If you Go win, you lose; if you lose, they win. Download the App! Not AAP.


This Article is written in a lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connection with any such real-life event or character, rest assured it’s purely coincidental.