Friday, December 29, 2023

Living life in restaurants

Photo: Bridgesward/Pixabay

Philip Rosenthal, the American television writer, producer and creator of the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond and presenter of food and travel documentaries I’ll Have What Phil’s Having and Somebody Feed Phil, says: “We live life in restaurants, it’s the centre of social life, where we celebrate with family and friends, make new friends, travel without travelling, and of course, eat.”

That is so true. We go mall shopping and eventually head for the food court. We go to the movies and eat popcorn and ice cream in between the scenes. We go to a coffeehouse and huddle together over laptops, coffees and croissants. We break for lunch and share our meals in the office cafeteria. Not to mention all the dinners and parties we have with family and friends in restaurants and outdoor venues.

We live life in restaurants because in a way life tends to revolve around food and conversations. It’s where people unwind, deals are struck, proposals are made, relationships are broken, jokes are told, laughter is plentiful, special occasions are celebrated and fresh memories created.

So much beyond eating happens in a restaurant. From celebrations to heart-to-heart talks, it’s the go-to place for social and emotional rendezvous, making new connections and deepening old ties.

In the few hours we spend in restaurants, we forget our worries and share joyous moments over food and drink with the people we meet without travelling. In that sense restaurants are a comfort zone of food, relaxation and pleasant familiarity.


Saturday, December 23, 2023

The day I stopped reading newspapers

Before Covid-19, I used to read a dozen newspapers almost every day—an old journalistic habit. Now I read none. I had cancelled the only newspaper subscription I had even before the pandemic. I miss the paper, not for the news, but for wrapping things.

These days I read news online on my laptop, mostly via media websites and aggregators; though I'm not always happy with what the algorithms throw up. Both in terms of the news content and the way it is reported.

For example, I have absolutely no interest in reading an "Exclusive!" about a couple of actors arriving in some city for someone's birthday party. Paid news? Or paid algorithm? If there's such a thing.

Also, like the palm of the hand, there are always two sides to a story. Unfortunately, that's often not the case. "What does the other side have to say?" The news report doesn't tell me. Probably because the other side wasn't asked. That's not fair.

My tab is a very convenient place to read. I have downloaded a few apps—Mint, The Economist, Moneycontrol, FT (London), Reuters, Bloomberg, WSJ, The Guardian (UK), BBC and CNN, The New York Times, Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, AP News, Pocket and The New Yoker—which more than feed my curiosity for news stories and features, and other stuff. Some I subscribe to; others I read what's available for free.

In a way I have become my own news aggregator. Curating and gathering news, views and perspectives that I want to read. No longer bound by the limitations of what was often a depressing front page.

© Illustration: Arturo Navarro/

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Clash of the Press Titans

If you simply enjoy humour, you will get this. If you're a part of the media, public relations or communications field, perhaps even more.

*    *    *

One evening, Press Release and Press Note met in a bar. After a few drinks, Press Release, more cocky and boastful of the two, got up to leave. And then, a funny thing happened.

Press Note: "Where are you going?"

Press Release: "To shoot myself off to the media. I have several deadlines to catch."

Press Note: "Oh, that reminds me, I need to grab the media's attention, too."

Press Release: You? Seriously! A waste of time. You sit here, drink some more, and figure out who you are and what it is you do. Here, it's on me."

Press Note: "Hey, I know who I'm and what I do — you condescending jerk!"

Press Release: "Do you? Do you really?! I don't think so!

As Press Release turned to leave, Press Note, as boiling mad as a boilerplate, got off the stool and lunged at him. The two grappled and rolled on the floor. Headlines were torn, datelines were ripped off, quotes were shred to bits.  

Three journalists, drinks in hand, stood watching the feuding pair in the circle of cheering onlookers, some of whom were placing bets.

"There's our front-page story," one of them said, whipping out his phone and taking pictures.

"Yeah," replied another. "I can see the headline: WORDS FLY AS PRESS RELEASE AND PRESS NOTE CLASH IN HILARIOUS BAR BRAWL"

"Wonder who's gonna issue a press statement," said the third.

© Prashant C. Trikannad