Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Serial comma

The Oxford comma or the serial comma, as it is commonly called, is the comma used after the penultimate item in a list of 3 or more items, before 'and' or 'or'.

Twenty-four years I have lived blissfully unaware of its existence. Actually, forget about serial comma, I never paid much attention to comma either, or semicolon or even colon for that matter! I mean ok so it reads better, but hello the bright ones will figure the meaning anyway and the dense ones would never get it anyway, which is why they are dense in the first place!

If I ever write a book, I am going to take all the punctuation marks and them all together at the end of the book. The reader is free to put them as and where she pleases. In any case, people see what they want to and read what they want to read (into things). So there.

So, getting back to where I started. I hate the serial comma.

"check the serial comma usage"
Check if the author is using a serial comma in the book...chapter-wise"
"oh cool. Eh..just one question. What is a serial comma?"
First day at work. When the serial comma made it's appearance into my life.

"search for AND in the entire book and see where sc has and has not been used. Then count both instances and decide whether the author is using it or not."

A most delightful task. After finally accomplishing the mission I dragged myself back to report

"yeah. 5 chapters following it. 7 aren't. So majority wins?"
"no. Since it is a contributed title (which means each chapter by different author), we will maintain consistency chapter-wise."
Which means the search through the 12 chapters was pointless.

"eh...can't we just ask the author to indicate whether he or she is following the serial comma or not?"


It is not that I shirk work or something, but WHO CARES!! Honestly, dear reader have you ever really cared whether the book you are reading has a comma after the penultimate item in the series? Have you even noticed?

Ah! The pains that an editor takes to prepare to prepare a book and what's the reward? Well well it's a labour of love... (and yes, it better be, coz we aren't giving you options here)

The reader would really never noticed that someone has agonized over the placement of that one comma, he just overlooked. Or the equations in his chemistry book have been carefully set in the math type by the copy editor who was at pains to understand what different variables mean so that there are no glitches in the equations. (chemistry equations...so uhum... No room for errors you see!)

And the authors. sigh. I'll be fair. 80 per cent act like jealous mothers whose sons just got married! "no" "stet" "no edit not fine. Let this be"

As if I like interfering! So unless you make blunders, you are invisible in the book. That's the beauty of this job.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

What A Twenty-Four Year Old Thinks About The Average Four Year Old

I love toddlers. They are cute. They drool over the right people at the right time. They are excellent listeners. They possess the superpower of staring without making you feel uncomfortable. They also poop and pee at a rate which makes you feel good about your own will power and self-control.

And then they grow up. I don't know about you but in the past three-four years all the kids I have met seemed determined to be as annoying as it were humanely possible. The screeching, the howling, the constant whining, the incessant *expensive* demands and the ability to throw tantrums at will never fails to make yours truly feel like she's back in high school again. So kids just crossover from infancy to adolescence now I guess.

Poor kids, right? Wrong. I've tried feeling sorry for them. After all this isn't natural. Kids should be allowed to be kids. But I swear to all the sparkly vampires in the rainy town of Forks, it's impossible to feel sorry for even a pretty little monster with chubby cheeks and dimpled chin when he opens his rosy lips to ask you in a high pitched voice, "So. How many boyfriends do you have? Have you kissed any of them?"  *insert angry red face here* *mine, in case you were wondering*

Yes. Of course that's what I want to discuss with a four year old. Oh. And while we are at this please remind me again why in the name of the great King King does this android-like midget even know about boyfriends? And kissing too for that matter. At four my interests ranged from walking without tripping to eating without being spotted. In fact they are still relevant.

And to add insult to injury such incidents are usually followed by raucous peals of laughter by the parents who go, "Isn't he hilarious?" Well. Hell to the no Auntyji. Your son is just plain disturbing. And instead of laughing you should do something about it. *how would I know what. I don't have a baby*

Why are kids born adults nowadays? And more importantly what can be done to stop this madness? Thoughts anyone?

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Insha Ka Intezaar

When a Pakistani troupe performs Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot, you cannot help but have huge expectations. Anwar Jafri's Insha Ka Intezaar does complete justice to Beckett's iconic play, modifying the script only to make it better. The play opens with Karimuddin trying to remove his boot, writhing in pain with Zulekha (yes, Vladimir is a woman!) in just as much pain (as she argues), due to her bladder. The dialogues are mostly the same (I hadn't realised till then the same dialogues in Urdu would sound sweeter) and the duration shortened to one-and-half hours.

Pozzo is Mansha (the military dictator) and Lucky Nasiban, (again a woman) the old, over-exploited, ill-treated coolie. Nasiban could represent anything — the country, democracy, the rule of people. Karmu and Zulekha are obviously the marginalised masses (both sexes find representation here, the woman, rightly being, more sensitive and perceptive). Jafri brings out the misery and helplessness of the two tramps poignantly. They are tired of waiting, they cannot do anything but wait, they fight and exchange banter to pass the time. Such is the human condition that they cannot even laugh at themselves anymore. Only smile as Zulekha says. They would merrily hang themselves, but the tree is not strong enough, neither is the rope. Mansha and Nasiban come and go, as Zulekha remarks towards the end and they can do little but watch Mansha exploit Nasiban. The saviour they wait for comes across as just as cruel a master (as the messenger girl reveals inadvertantly) and probably a pedophile. During the play, Zulekha tremblingly asks herself and Karmu, "Kya hum insha ke qaidi hain?" The tramps' sense of utter frustation is emphasized once again in the last scene as they again test the rope and it snaps.

The most poignant scene is when Zulekha comforts the agitated Karmu, insisting they cannot leave as they are waiting for insha, and asks him to be happy. She asks him to imagine that they are happy. Tell yourself you are happy, she says. There is a pause. Both grin broadly. Pause again. Then Karmu says, "Abh hum khush hai. Toh abh hum kya kare?"

P.S. A word about the audience. Noisy, ill-mannered, loud, disgusting. I cannot for the life of me understand why they turned up for a play like this. Watching this wonderful play amid phone rings, loud conversations and people walking in 10 minutes after the performance began, really made me wonder if I was sitting with an audience intended for some Rakhi Sawant Item show instead. Such people shame Delhi. Boo pseudo intellectuals.

Friday, 13 January 2012

The Colour is Blue. Thank You.

I feel blue. I really do. And this has nothing to do with my new glasses. Why yes, that's a pretty blue too. I just feel like I'm stuck inside the trunk of an elephant who's trying desperately to sneeze but doesn't know how. Does that sound gory? Very sorry.

Sometimes I feel like the Mad Hatter. Don't get me wrong now. I used to have a plan once. But since then, I've had none. I sit down to write but the words have apparently dried up. I sit down to study but the brain has apparently dried up. What must a poor twenty-four year old do? 

I feel incomplete. Like somebody stole a part of my heart and sold it online for free. I feel happy and unhappy both at the same time. I feel like I should be doing something but I really do not know what. I feel like I need to turn back time. I feel like I've changed since November TwentyEleven. I feel way too many things all at once. 

P.S: This is not a cry for help. Or attention. Or pity. Just talking the drama out. :-)

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Thought Terminal

There is a thought stuck,
stuck somewhere inside me,
like Godot it refuses to come;
a hurricane in the making,
a joker who is faking,
an apocalapse whose time is done,

Thoughts I thought 
usually rot and what not,
but this thought I think has
powers unfading, it stays and plays
like the sadist in a ticket counter; 
it stays and plays like the government,

When the day is done, when the
night has come, I think again
of that thought undone.
It refuses to come, it refuses to go,
that thought I think is building a home.
Don't hide, don't fight, don't taunt me
by flight.

Your time has come, my will is done. 
Come on, come on. Let's go.

Trinaa Prasad

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Tinned Soup!

Since the past few days I have had a nagging feeling at the pit of my stomach. It’s that special feeling associated with procrastination. You know! That deep, non-rumbling, partly-constipated feeling that refuses to go away no matter what? Anyway so here I am blogging after a reaaaally long time, with absolutely nothing to say except that I need to do this for some unknown and obscure reason.

To those of my friends who are reading this out of courtesy, hi! How are you? Call me. I’m bored. To the rest, here is something fascinating. When I first started to blog some three or four years ago, all I wanted was to change the world/bring a revolution.

I have grown up since then.

I have realised that my blogging cannot change the world simply because I have a very limited thought process. Neither can I bring a revolution because I suspect that I have only two readers. So now I blog.. almost never. 

Now here’s an interesting fact! I’m willing to bet my fellow blog owner's entire property that most of you will read only the opening lines of each paragraph. Then you will scroll down the comments already posted, cock your head to the left and think, “hmmm, this is such a meaningless blog. Any comment will do.” And then with an evil smile on your half-demon lips you will post a non-committal, could-be-true-of-anything-from-a-pwetty-shoe-to-a-biology-book kind of comment and thus ensure that I will visit your blog back. Gah.

Yes. I understand that there was no need to post this blog. It lacks that basic requirement of every man-written article: a topic. Well, so what?