Word of the Week #81:

Scavenger

Have you seen one?

You probably have.

You may not have noticed them, or identified them for what they really are, and one cannot really blame you for that. They can be quite the masters of disguise.

They roam our world, lurking in the shadows, largely unseen and unheard. They lay in wait for the weakest of us, and when they find us at the weakest of our times, they pounce.

Occasionally, you can find them lurking behind traffic signals, often in packs. Sure, they are camouflaged perfectly as men seeking to serve and protect, but be sure you are not lulled into a false sense of security. They are waiting to lunge at you, any moment they can get.

Sometimes, they wait in your schools and colleges, your cricket fields, your gymnasiums. This may seem like their natural habitat, but do not be fooled. Without the slightest of warnings, they will slam upon your young shoulders the heavy burden of their broken dreams.

Quite often, they will disguise themselves as one of us, and with the promise of a better tomorrow, lead us down the sheer ravine. Of course, these vultures can fly, and look forward to the feast you provide.

Lastly, there are some that make inroads into our offices and industries, and often find their way to the very top. It is a good vantage point, you know, The Top. From up there, it is quite easy to spot the perfect prey, and to hunt them down with impunity. They get what they want, and then get away with it. Easy.

Now, with all these predators swarming around and above you, the question rings through your mind: How do I protect myself?

Well, you could try growing some spikes. It works for porcupines, it may work for you. But, unfortunately, that is not an option for most of us.

So, what do we do?

Maybe we could try growing some spines, instead?

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Word of the Week #79:

consent

|kənˈsɛnt|

noun [mass noun]

default state of a woman, unless negated through sufficient vehemence: it would be really difficult to decipher whether little or no resistance and a feeble “no”, was actually a denial of consent.

ORIGIN

Farooqui vs State, Delhi High Court, dated 25/09/2017

Word of the Week #78:

Bigotry

I remember sitting in my father’s study one day, towards the beginning of this millennium, rummaging through the cupboards, looking for something.

What I sought there must have been something ridiculously inconsequential, like a stapler or such, and what I happened to find was anything but that.

If I remember correctly, and I think I do, I stumbled upon a large, yellow notebook, uglier than most I have seen to this day. On the very first page, written in the familiar italic scrawl was a quote.

“Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves.”
― George Gordon Byron

Of course, I did not understand this the first time I read it. I was barely 7 or 8, after all. I did have a dictionary at hand, though, and I had at least managed to teach myself a new word.

I would not come to truly understand the full measure of human depravity for another couple of years or so.

You know, 2002

15 years have passed since then, and while one would expect the world to have learned quite a few things over this span, the reality forces you to pause for a moment, and try to understand just what went wrong. Just a brief scan of the news is enough to make you cringe.

How did we start the week?

Well, at supposedly one of the finest educational institutes in our country, students protesting sexual assault faced physically assault.

Yeah, you can’t make this stuff up…

And on the other side of the globe, a bloviating buffoon created a man-made disaster immediately after a series of natural disasters had just subsided, essentially declaring that protests against intolerance will not be tolerated.

The irony…

Looks like in the time I grew up, the world has gone completely senile.

Word of the Week #77:

Credit

You know what I don’t get? Loans.

Well, yeah, I actually don’t get loans. You see, I don’t have any credentials or collateral to enable me to get one, but that is beside the point.

The real point here is that I don’t get loans. I just cannot understand the concept.

Really, you are just betting that you though even though you do not have the money now, you will have it someday. Of course, you won’t actually have that money because, well, you’ve spent it on the EMI.

Also, if you took the loan to buy, say, a new cell phone, or a car, or a nice TV, you must know that the item would hardly last as long as the term of your loan.

So, at the end of the day, you are bound to end up with neither the money nor the stuff, half-broken by the burden bearing down on your back.I will admit, there are times when you have to take a loan. You cannot be a doctor if you do not go to a medical college, and those things can be rather pricey. Here, at least you know you get to keep the degree. Same with houses and real estate and such stuff, at least unless you buy a sea-facing bungalow and, well, the rising sea level leaves it half-submerged. It can happen, you know…

And, of course, there are times when you just have to borrow, perhaps for a business venture. As they say, you need money to make money.

Or, perhaps you need it because your daughter needs an urgent surgery. You really cannot ask her to just sit tight while you earn that money with your own hands, right?

Some expenses are indeed unavoidable, and some burdens have to be borne.

So, in conclusion, I guess I do get loans.

I wonder why my government thinks otherwise…

Word of the Week #76:

Deconstruct

Editing is not fun.

Every writer will tell you the same.

“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

Of course, every writer, or at least every good one, will tell you just how important it is.

“Writing without revising is the literary equivalent of waltzing gaily out of the house in your underwear.”
― Patricia Fuller

Now, the trouble is that, as many people who know me well may attest, I am a guy who would be quite capable of doing just that. Why, I am quite sure I have actually done that, more often than once.

And, therein lies the problem.

Regardless, as I mentioned in the last post, I am wiser now. I know most people cannot handle me, or my work, without being appropriately dressed.

So, how does one proceed? The solution is simple. Not easy, mind you, but quite simple, indeed.

“I’ve found the best way to revise your own work is to pretend that somebody else wrote it and then to rip the living shit out of it.”
― Don Roff

Word of the Week #75:

Sophomore

So, as you’d probably know, last week brought some much needed joy and jolly into our lives.

However, that lasted for barely a moment, before another mountain, much taller and wider than the last, stood stark in my sight.

You see, just writing a book, especially a rough, vague preliminary draft is quite similar to taking a stroll.

Of course, this stroll is long and strenuous, like the one in “How Much Land Does a Man Need?” by Leo Tolstoy, and completing it without losing your mind is a feat definitely worth celebrating.

Have you read that story, by the way? You really should. It is amazing.

Now, this ain’t my first rodeo. I have been doing this for years already. I know how it works. I know that, in contrast, the path ahead is not as simple. It may be short, but it is far more uphill.

So, while it still is a time for joy, we know how much more work needs to be done.

It is time to strap on the snowshoes, baby, and just keep walking.

 

Word of the Week #74:

Blitzkrieg

Now, now, I am not making a reference to World War II and all.

Sensible adults don’t need to be told that Nazis are bad, okay? That is like saying kittens are cute. You’d have to be a special kind of stupid to not know that.

No, I am referring to the title of the final chapter of Arrkaya: Immortals.

You see, this has been an amazing month, and we would like to end it with an announcement I have been waiting to make for quite a while.

After 35 chapters,
122 scenes,
513 pages,
2750 paragraphs,
92,958 words,
countless days of hard work,

I can say that, as of today, Book Two is finally complete.

Time to pop the champaign, yeah? Well Not really…

You see, this is just the first draft, and the work has not even nearly begun.

Nonetheless, we are near, and we could not be more pleased.

Arrkaya: Immortals, coming soon…