I suppose we were fortunate that we didn't have TV in the 1950s and 60s. A radio set was very expensive, though we did have one in my house. It was common to hear people say, "We're poor, we don't have a radio" in those days. Gramophones were there, but very few houses had them. We used to have a manual record player, which required a key to operate. Before a disk was placed on the turn table, the key was rotated to tighten the spring coil which would slowly loosen to allow the disk to play. We had it for many years, until one day a "kabari" bought it for a song.

So at least in my house, we would read books. My father, being a lawyer, subscribed to three morning newspapers, two Gujrati morning papers, four evening papers (including the Gujrati Vatan), the Readers Digest, Life and Time Magazine. We also used to get the Indian Express and the Times of India by post in the evenings.

But books there were in plenty. If memory serves me right, I would read at least one book a week (Perry Mason mysteries, Edgar Wallace books, Leslie Charteris novels and many others). And this is what has made me different from some of my peers, who have never read a book after graduation.

But today's young men are fed on Whattsapp video clips, so they're unable to detect fake news which are spread like wildfire. In years to come, we shall see people believing all kinds of fake stories, particularly about those whom they regard as heroes. The present political climate has polarized the people, not only in Pakistan but in many other countries as well. I have not been able to persuade many youngsters to use their minds whenever they say something unbelievable, like the earth being stationary and the sun rotating around it, or Imran Khan's wife having no shadow, or martyrs will be rewarded with "houris" who are a hundred and twenty feet tall. Yes, it's lack of reading that has produced simpletons. In ten years, there won't be a single man or woman in Pakistan who will say, "I'm reading a book nowadays".