When I was little, I used to devotedly observe my father’s morning routine. He would wake up at 6 AM, get ready, make his way to the breakfast table and open up a newspaper. For the next half an hour, he would flip between pages and read articles while eating his food. As I grew older, he made great efforts to instill this habit in me too. It started by encouraging me to do the word searches, reading the Saturday comics, completing the crosswords and eventually reading the headlines. Although at first I absolutely dreaded opening up the newspaper, it eventually became a habit and a good one at that. Now, at 21, I mirror my father’s routine, and I too open the headlines each morning and flip through the pages.
What really entices me every day are the beautifully written stories in The Globe and Mail, termed ‘First Person’ articles. These are written by “regular people,” not journalists, and are sent in to the newspaper to publish. The articles are unique and tell each person’s different story. There is no one topic or specific narrative that the stories follow, and each day I am in awe of and become inspired by the writers.
Recently, I read the article “It’s funny how Mom’s annoying kitchen habit is now my own”, written by Arundhati Dhara. In this, Dhara describes her mother’s extensive collection of yogurt boxes, or ‘dabbas’ (as known in the Indian community), and the lives they have. She explains that, like the Hindu concept of reincarnation, dabbas have many lives. From holding leftovers to potluck contributions, they are passed on from household to household. Dhara looks back at her mother’s habit in retrospect and now finds herself making her own collection of dabbas. The article was wonderfully written, and I found myself reflected in it. It made me think about my mother and her dabba collection. It was amazing seeing a representation of the same lived experience as mine written and expressed in a beautifully put-together narrative.
These first-person articles always leave me with a smile on my face, having learnt something new, and even finding shared experiences with strangers from across the country. In retrospect, I am grateful for my father’s push towards developing this habit.
Even now, in university, although I do not get newspapers delivered to my apartment, I still open The Globe and Mail website each day and scroll to see the day’s ‘First Person’ articles. Although I do not see my father every morning, we still call every day to discuss what we read and keep the habit alive. Though we may be miles apart, such a minuscule act of reading these articles has sparked conversations between us and serves as a reminder for me that no matter what stage of life I am in or where in the world I will be, we will always share this little anecdote.