Word of the Week #160:

Remunerative

I think I have spoken a lot about how excruciating editing can be, right?

“While writing is like a joyful release, editing is a prison where the bars are my former intentions and the abusive warden my own neuroticism.”
― Tiffany Madison

This is what I mentioned way back

Well, these are the problems that arise when you are editing your own work. Editing words that someone else wrote is an entirely different scenario.

It almost feels like walking into a field full of weeds, a machete in each hand, and just swinging with gay abandon!

Like, getting paid to find fault in someone else’s work. That’s the dream, right?

And if there aren’t too many faults? Why, that is just a walk through a field. Nobody minds that, right? Especially if you are getting paid for it.

So, remember: Writing as a passion is great. Much admirable. But as a profession, editing is far more fruitful.

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Word of the Week #159:

Zest

You know, when I was young, like, really young, my parents signed me up for a skating class.

Now, I fail to see how this skill would prove useful over the course of my lifetime, but okay…

Anyway, these classes… I absolutely hated them!

I was uncomfortable and clumsy, and I always struggled with the equipment.

I was not too bad at it, I thought. I could complete all the drills adequately and I never had any particularly painful or embarrassing falls.

I just didn’t like doing it. It was just not fun.

But every evening, my mom would give me one piece of chewy andy each time I left for the class, and promised another when I got back.

To my young heart, that piece of candy was one of the biggest accomplishments I could comprehend. It was worth the effort, the pain, the overall annoyance.

And for that piece of candy, I kept going back to the class every successive day.

One evening, I was laughing so hard that the candy actually flew out of my mouth and out of the window down onto the road. I swear, in that one moment, I felt a piece of myself die.

Now, considering all of this, I think it may sound odd, but I actually hated that candy too! It tasted like an orange peel flavoured eraser.

Personally, I have always prefer clean, unflavoured erasers, but that is beside the point…

I don’t think I ever mentioned this to my mom. I was never the most vocal of kids. I was always more of a ‘how-do-you-not-know-EXACTLY-how-I-feel-right-now’ kind of kid.

In fact, I don’t think I even mentioned that I didn’t like the skating class either.

Eventually, I did get good at skating. We had switched my old, clunky skated for a new, cool, more cooperative ones. We had begun focusing less on drills and more on free skating.

Eventually, I started to enjoy skating for what it is.

And almost immediately afterwards, the class ended. And I have no idea why.

But at least the candy ended too. And for some reason, I kind of miss it now…

Word of the Week #157:

Discourse

I like politics.

I suppose that might seem strange to some people, but yeah, I do enjoy it.

It is the most entertaining spectator sport on this planet, some might say. And it is definitely the most consequential one.

But as with most sports, there is a right way to play. Unfortunately, most participants do not seem to appreciate that.

You can win by focusing on your own strengths, right?

Talk about tax reform. Talk about better public education. Talk about better public transportation. Talk about clean, cheap and reliable energy. And, occasionally, back up your talk with some actual performance.

When you have true game, you do not need to rely on thumping your chest, talking trash about your opponents and stretching the rules to their limits and hoping the referees do not notice. Those skills may be a part of a champion’s wide repertoire, but are not a winning strategy.

Just play hard and play fair. If you are good, there is no reason why you cannot win.

After all, what is the point of playing dirty and winning, when half the audience is only going to hate you and everything you represent for the next 4-5 years.

Word of the Week #154:

Bohemian

Why do you write? 

As writers, we have all been asked this question, have we not?

In interviews, in queries, in casual conversation, we have always been asked this question.

And more often than not, we would respond with some words that make some sound like the perfect combination of an artist and a scholar. That is how we want to be seen, right? That is what benefits us. 

Why do I write? 

The answer is actually quite simple. I write because I do not know what else to do.

I have long believed that in humans, and perhaps in all sentient beings, along with an ability to understand arises a desire to be understood.

Some among us may be blessed with souls that are lucid. Clear. 
Some are cursed with darkness and discord.
But if you dive into the deepest of our depths, you will see that it does all make some sense.

So, why do I write? 

Why do I write ten thousand words and pray ‘t be worth the price?
To see a method to this madness, ten words would not suffice.

Word of the Week #153:

Misogyny

Even as a boy, a very young boy, I often despised how other boys would talk about girls. How they would reduce the girl’s identity to an assortment of body parts. How they would feel the right to spread vile rumours based on, well, plain malice. How they would gleefully discuss what I can now only describe as rape fantasies.

Now, I cannot take much pride in saying that I did not participate in such behaviour; much like I do not expect praise for not killing anyone in the past hour. It is the bare minimum one would expect in a civilised society.

If anything, I do feel remorse for not being able to raise my voice against any of it. It must have been partly because I did not have the strength to oppose them, and partly because I did not realise the damage such behaviour could cause.

Today, when I meet or speak with some of these boys, I can still sense the remnants of that mentality. It is often obscured by a mask of feigned civility—and occasionally it isn’t—but it is still very much there. Apparently, it is not something that can change by itself.

But one thing has changed: My willingness to call them out.

After all, there is only one way to ensure good guys no longer finish last. We need to weed out the bad ones.

Word of the Week #152:

Anthropophagus

I have never been too inclined towards male bonding, and only recently am I beginning to understand why that is.

Apparently, there comes a strange time in guys’ lives, between the age when they realise they are different from girls and the age that they realise they are attracted to girls. In this period, every boy decides the kind of man he will become, albeit rarely realising this at the time. Or ever.

It is around this age that boys receive a simple choice: To bully or to be bullied.

I still cannot understand why this happens. Blaming it on just the Y-chromosome feels weak and dismissive.

I was always strong enough to stop bullies, but not to stop bullying. This left me in a strange limbo, which soon, it solidified into solitude. Eventually, I grew accustomed to it.

These few years were among the loneliest of my life. And I spent them doing what every lonely kid does: I read, I watched, I observed. I learned how to understand the world around me. Oddly enough, since I was entirely alone, I grew up not caring about public perception or approval.

I knew my definition of self, and it was not a function of the people around me.

Unfortunately, the other boys that I watched seem to remain stuck in the roles they chose as children. They see the world as predators and prey, and they will do what they must to survive in their roles.

And we wonder what happened to concepts like compassion and courtesy. Compassion and cannibalism can rarely go hand-in-hand, right?

So, do you want to fix the world? I can tell you what to do: Fix the children.

Word of the Week #151:

Aerodynamics

Imagine you are a child.

Done? Good.

Now, imagine your parents telling you the following things at the following ages.

At 8: Kid, stay away from aeroplanes.

At 12: Kid, stay away from aeroplanes. They are not safe.

At 15: Kid, you are staying away from aeroplanes, right? You better… It is for your own good.

At 18: Kid! I have told you a thousand times, stay away from aeroplanes! No talking about them, no looking at them, no thinking about them. Nothing. This is not how we raised you.

At 21: Kid, if you do not stay away from aeroplanes, I swear to God, I will shoot you both out of the sky!

At 25: Kid, you have been good all your life, and as a reward, I am getting you a plane! So what if you have never been in, or even around, a plane… So what if you have no idea how to fly it, how to land, how to maintain it, how to make sure you won’t kill yourself in a fiery crash within the next year… Oh, I’m just so happy! You know what we should do? We should celebrate this news with thousands of people we barely know and will never meet for many, many years!

Sounds ridiculous, right? Well, that is how marriage works in India.

No wonder it is such a bumpy ride.