Sunday, April 12, 2009

On magazines

Dear Readers,

Yesterday, at the supermarket, I picked up a local women's magazine: Femina. If I am not mistaken, this is now a 50:50 joint venture between the BBC and India's Timesgroup which also publishes my favourite newspapers Times of India and The Economic Times. (Unfortunately its website www.femina.in does not seem to work).

Their "Letter to the editor page", does not contain any email/address to which letters can be sent. There is a tiny box on this page inviting an sms poll on the current editon - without the number to which the sms should be sent. AARGH....

While Reader's Digest has been a staple diet of the family and is still very much a part and parcel of our lives, my mother somehow outgrew Femina and stopped subscription perhaps when I was in high school. My first cheque of INR 10, was thanks to this magazine. I had won a Cadbury Gem's contest on - Find the missing number.

Since then, Femina has changed over the years. It is all about gloss and glamour. There are no kiddie's pages. There are no short stories. There are tons of advertisements on makeup and clothes. Somehow I felt lost between an advertisement and an actual article. I have picked up this magazine off and on, even in the past, but doubt that I will pick it up again. I am glad we no longer subscribe to it. It is just fine to pick it up once in a while, when all your brain wants to do is look at glitzy photographs.

True, Reader's Digest has also changed. There was an uproar when they decided to carry advertisements on the backcover. But the content has remained more or less the same. I still love it. Yes, articles are more contemprary but the usual stuff which I grew up on: Book section, Word Power, Laughter the best medicine, Humor in Uniform, All in a day's work remains. A few articles are more India centric which is a nice thing.

I now came across a news item that Forbes has launched Forbes Women (Forbes, itself is yet to hit the stands in India, hopefully it will sometime soon). I doubt that Forbes Women will be launched in India soon, but at least I can read the online version of it.

I loved reading: How a sweater changed my (business) life or vieweing the video by Beth Brooke, Global Vice-Chair of Ernst & Young on the global crisis impact on women. I could not agree with her more, diversity in the decision making process is the need of the hour. We need people who in a constructive way, challenge the existing norms of thinking and help us reach more meaningful, more beneficial decisions. Perhaps, women can contribute in a big way in such a decision making process.

Can we have a "magazine of substance for women in India", instead of just paying lip service to "women of substance" which is what I find is generally done.

For now, I am just so glad that the internet provides me with an opportunity to read up on diverse views and yes, Forbes Women has been bookmarked for future reading.

Have a nice Sunday.

Best,
Lubna