THERE was a time when the public depended largely on radio broadcasts and newspapers for their daily dose of news. This was way before television and the advent of social media turned everything upside down with their instant fix and easy to access news.
One such person who grew up in the era when radio and newspapers were kings is 65-year-old Tahir Ali who is originally from the delta town of Nausori.
He vividly recalls the first time he picked up a newspaper and in those days Fiji was still a British colony, the Colonial Sugar Refinery had just left Nausori Town and Tahir was in Class Seven.
"It was my early morning duty to bring the paper to my headteacher and I would make a three-kilometre bike ride to Nausori Town to get it," Tahir said.
Later, it was his father's turn, who was a taxidriver in Suva, to bring home the newspaper after he finished working.
Apart from having access to the newspaper almost on a daily basis the young Tahir used to take his time to translate the news in Hindi for his mother and grandmother.
"Now I am addicted to it and I always start my day with it. The only time I miss the copy whenever I am out of the country. But these days I read online whenever I can't lay my hands on it," he said.
From those early days until now, reading the newspapers is a tradition for Tahir as straight after his daily readings of the Quran at 5am he will take a walk to the shop to buy the paper.
"I must go through all the pages including, 'Today's Thoughts', Horoscopes and of course the funny cartoons with pictures. They have lots of messages with good sense of humour. I always admire the editorial comments on current issues mostly in the country with lots of messages, awareness and advice for all," Tahir said.
His addiction to newspapers sowed the seeds for Tahir who now lists reading and writing as his hobby and it did not stay that way as he made reading and writing a main part of his career later in life.
The boy from Nausori went on to become a teacher, teaching in rural and urban schools around the country and sincerely believes reading and writing makes a man.
"They are my favourite hobbies, reading and writing. Reading also touches the heart and by writing one can express his feelings from the heart," Tahir says.
Tahir himself is a regular and avid correspondent to the newspapers in the country where he usually writes in to the Letters to Editor column, his favourite section of the newspaper.
"My favourite section is the open column whereby we express our various opinions on different issues. At times there are some healthy debates and I believe the media publishes all views. At times we say every story has three sides to it, yours, mine and the fact. I prefer writing briefly on current issues preferably on health, education, agriculture, social issues and of course more positively rather than negative side but at times, critical in hope of getting some quick actions," Tahir said.
He even shared that he was also part of some historical events that took place in the area and most of those were sporting events more than anything else.
"I also send some news cuttings and flashback with pictures to those senior Fijians who I feel missed out. For example the Rewa, Labasa IDC final in 1972, I was there witnessing the game and I also like some historical pictures in the Sunday Times. Maybe one day The Fiji Times will publish one very old picture of my dad with the Rewa Soccer Team in the 1938 IDC, the first notch on the trophy in 1938," Tahir says.