Saturday, November 20, 2010

Woman's era

When I was a kid, I remember two English magazines for women used to be popular. One was Femina and the other was Woman's Era. Of the two, Women's Era was my favorite since each issue used to feature at least 5-6 fictional stories and I used to be a story junkie those days. See, I even used to read up all the stories in my English textbooks as soon as we picked up new books for the school year. Thus, Woman's Era (WE) was my favorite since it featured far more stories than the non-fictional-article-rich Femina.

However, it did not take me much growing up to realize that though the stories in WE were plentiful, plentiful in quality they were not. Most of the stories featured English which sounded like it had been written by someone with a Standard 8 education (with English as a second language) - for all I know, it *had* been written by such authors. Many sentences and phrases sounded like they had been literally translated from some other language. The pictures accompanying the stories mostly matched the stories' written quality.

Soon, I started reading the stories more for the unintentional  humor the English usage sometimes provided and also to hone my English grammar police skills. In my immediate family, all the lady folks have this tendency towards grammar-policing. I tell you, we can get pretty annoying when we "gently" remind someone that it is whether not weather and it's and its are not interchangeable.

Once I moved to the US, my WE reading came to an abrupt halt. We used to get WE back home from the circulating library and obviously, the US did not feature circulating libraries which included WE in its collections. Soon, WE and its stories got relegated to some distant corner of my brain.

Then, during one of my India vacations, amidst all the eating, relative-visiting and function-attending, I glimpsed a WE on the coffee table at home. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it now featured a glossy cover with a decent layout and the pages were also of better quality. I had a slight twinge of nostalgia though, as I thought of the WE of yore and how so many things change as life goes on.

Then I browsed to one of the stories. Photographs had now replaced the amateurish drawings which used to accompany the stories earlier. I started to read the story. And slowly a smile spread itself across my face. In spite of the all the fancy-shancy packaging, WE was still the same. All the Standard 8, English-as-a-second-language authors were still very much on board.

I tell you, it is such a great comfort to know that no matter how much the rest of the world marches on by, some things will never change!

6 comments:

Anita said...

:) Ah, I rem those days. Though, I must say that even the unintentional humour was not entertaining beyond a point. What was unfailingly entertaining was the personal queries column. Think the world's most bizzare people used to write into it and WE, of course, gave the kind of replies that Hindi serials these days use as story lines.

Doli said...

hehehe I used to read WE for the same reason!! I used to love stories and any form would do for me - even the bad grammar :D

Archana said...

Sindu - totally agree about the personal column!! I think they have a separate dept to churn out those weirdo queries!!

Doli - hahah!

Roohi Bhatnagar said...

Hey I have recently started giving serious thoughts to writing and submitting stories. Found your blog while searching for WE :) nice write-up. do visit my blog and give ur views abt it though i update it less frequently :)

RESHMI said...

Woman's Era is one of my fav magazines.since Im a literature student,i love stories published there.very much enjoyable.Hope they keep on publishing lots more.........

joseph said...


very nice article on womens's Health and beauty magazine