Institutions play a vital role in a country and signify the state of morality, ethics, values and standard of the country. The Times of India is known a national news paper of some standing and widely recognized in India. Since last 15 years, I have started my days reading it every morning and have certain respect for it. That is now shattered and I have stopped taking this paper. I have started abhorring it for what it is- for perpetuating a cheap stunt with most vulnerable and most valuable generation of our country - the teenagers. It hearts since my teenage son was given a sad bad experience on games organizations like Times of India plays and he and so many others like him doesn't deserve. Im talking about Times spark. It was launched with much fan fare and given wide publication. It was touted as a means to excellence through reading. A series of articles were to be read over months, there was mock exams (online which mostly didn't run- an indication of the inefficiency of Times of India) and then a final examination which was followed up with a interview on a Sunday. It was promised that there will be 400 scholarships worth Rs. 1-2 Lakh. The first sign that everything may not be in order came when we spent hard currency to attend the interview which lasted just five minutes and innocuous questions were asked which can't be used for differentiation. It is more than 6 weeks now and the scholarships are not yet announced inspite of multiple follow up from anxious parent who doesn't want to believe that they have been taken for a ride for free publicity and sales of newspaper. Worse, there is no date is set on which the results will be announced and calls to the office of newspaper doesn't elicit definite responses.
It is my sincere hope that this was not a fraud that Times of India designed to increase its penetration and circulation and they would keep their promise by giving the promised scholarships to the deserving participants. Thousands of student in 10-12 grades and their parents have invested their time, emotional energy into to achieve success with the scholarships. The participants are at the vulnerable age group of 15-18 yrs, the age where they are vulnerable, full of hope, positivity and believe the world will be just one day. If it is a game Times of India designed to play, then it is indeed very sad state of affair in the newspaper and the country. I sincerely hope that Time of India is inefficient but have principle and will uphold the promise with which they designed Times Spark.