Everything About White Print - India's First English Lifestyle Magazine in Braille

Posted on 5 November, 2015 by Team Wishberry

Braille White Print launched in May 2013, is India’s first lifestyle publication for the visually impaired in Braille. The magazine is Upasana Makati’s attempt to enable visually impaired readers to sink into the joys of reading via a monthly. We had a sweet long afternoon chat with her on the magazine, her thought starter and more.  

You started India’s first English Lifestyle Magazine in Braille! Tell us about the entire experience, how difficult was it?

Upsana: Well, one day I was just sitting in the dark doing absolutely nothing when this random thought popped in my head about what the visually impaired read for fun. Intrigued by this thought I typed into Google to learn more, but was shocked at not being able to find a single publication. There were many organizations, lakhs of literate visually impaired individuals but no physical magazines for entertainment. When I visited The National Association for the Blind, I found out that they provided newsletters that went out once every three months. That’s when I decided to work on this issue. I have no friends or family or anyone I know of who is visually impaired, so for me it was a completely new world. I first began with research on whether or not something like this would interest them. I spoke to all age groups and received a positive feedback. Most people seemed thrilled to have something like this come out. Within 3 months of working on this I quit my job and began work on the legal formalities. I didn’t want this to be a charity venture as not one person I spoke to wanted to be treated with sympathy.
White Print 2 Image Courtesy: Alok Sinha

What all topics does the magazine cover?

Upasana: The magazine covers everything about everything, Music, Fashion, Bollywood, Politics, Short stories, DIY’s, Travelogue, etc. We also have a tie-up with Caravan Magazine for content and popular television journalist, Barkha Dutt authors a column in the magazine covering political reports. White Print 3  

Can you tell us a little about the existing demand for a lifestyle magazine in Braille with respect to literacy rate among the visually impaired?

Upasana: When we began, we had 12 subscriptions now we have a little over 300. For magazines, advertising revenue is what counts, initially we did struggle to find advertisers. Now we have Coca Cola, Raymond, Airtel, Tata, etc. advertising with us. Coca Cola put in a musical ad in the magazine, which was later awarded at the Goa Fest. It also was loved by our readers I received numerous happy calls for it.  

While researching about you, we got to know that a section of the magazine is open for readers’ contributions. Have you been consistently receiving articles for that section?

Upasana: Yes, we do provide a platform for readers to share their personal story. Recently, a reader who is just 11 years old wrote an amazing crime story. This motivates them to learn, read and write even more. White Print  

This being an amazing platform for visually challenged writers do you have any plans of employing a visually challenged editorial team?

Upasana: Currently, I work from home and my proof readers are visually impaired who are from the National Association for the Blind. I’d love to have an editorial team of visually impaired writers once the magazine kicks off and I can manage to get an office space.  

Do you plan on making an online version of the magazine?

Upasana: No, not at all. We all are spoilt by choice with the internet, and going live as a podcast or an audio magazine is something I don’t want to think of for now. I want to celebrate reading the traditional way. A physical book has a charm of its own and I don’t want to replace that.

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