It all started on a rainy day in Kanpur in 1996 when I was 10 years old. I was running a temperature and had missed school. There was no power in home and I was just sitting idle when my dad came from the market and handed me a magazine.
It was Sportstar and the cover was about the recently concluded Sahara Cup won by Pakistan. The picture on the cover was of a smiling Wasim Akram holding aloft the cup. I read the entire cricket section in two afternoons and got instantly hooked to this weekly magazine.
And thus began my tryst with magazines. It continues till today and should be a part of my life until I stop having the need of feeding my soul.
I read Sportstar almost non stop for an year. The magazine covered sports in general. Cricket being the most popular sport in India took the lion's share and I must confess that I rarely, if ever, read any story, other than those featured in the cricket section.
In 1997, I switched to Cricket World. It covered cricket in detail and I loved every piece of it. I even subscribed it for an year!
But Cricket World lost its sheen soon after my subscription expired. By late 1998, I returned to SportsStar.
It was in late 1999 when Cricket Talk was launched. It was a truly international magazine. No other magazine on stands could compete with this stunning weekly. It had an altogether different and refreshing take on Cricket coverage. It was a large sized magazine with crisp pages and life size pictures. I felt so fulfilled after reading each of its issues.
However, the magazine had a very short run. By mid 2000, it was mired in controversies with respect to its publication. It soon lost credibility and shut down.
There was a dry run until 2002. I used to buy an issue here and there but nothing regular touched my hands. In 2002, I subscribed to India today and Outlook for 2 years and these two magazines remained by companions till 2004 when I passed class 12th.
The next four years in my engineering had very little presence of magazines. I started reading books, mostly non-fiction.
In the last 2-3 years, I have come back to magazines. The Caravan has been the most amazing gift for me. Its a narrative journalism magazine and its content and styling rivals that of Cricket Talk. Apart from that, Economic and Political Weekly, India Today and other magazines fill my room these days.
Let's see where the world of magazines takes me.