How I met your Paperback Writer..

The stray visitor to my blog here and there has been complaining of the lack of updation. Two posts in two months, so can’t really blame him (or the rarer her). My standard excuse is a lack of inspiration to write. So here I am, in response to the latest complain by a concerned soul, typing gibberish on my screen, with no idea whatsoever of what the next sentence is going to be. Indeed, the title I shall eventually place above will be an afterthought and I have no idea what it will be as I type these words. Reminds me of the many Creative writing competitions I took part in (Yes, there lies the genesis of this malignant (mis)conception of mine about my literary abilities).

The winding path of Life sure has an increasing number of potholes as you walk on. I remember how easy things were in the aforementioned competitions back at NITK. The board typically carried the names of a couple of firang songs passed down generations of literary veterans as topics, the favorite ones being Comfortably Numb, Stairway to Heaven, Candle in the Wind, Coming back to Life and the like. Now, this is not to hint at any sort of lack of imagination on the part of the event organizers.. indeed I met some of the greatest writers I know in that elite group. But who is to rebel against tradition. And as the baton was passed on to me eventually, I made sure I lived up to the standards just as well. In fact, I even extended the concept to include names of movies, sitcoms, soaps and my personal favorite- a jumbled version of ‘em all (Trust me.. to the unsuspecting eye, it really looks like a work of art). I guess When angels deserve to Scrub doesn’t sound very attractive right now, but I’m sure a little more thought and one can do better than that!

Which brings my wandering thoughts to the issue, or should I say, the Art of Plagiarism. I remember the first time I heard the word was during a JAM (Just-a-Minute.. an adrenaline-rush-inducing race of oral spamming) session in my first year at undergrad. It was supposedly one of the punishable offences in the game. And that is what it remained to me for the next four years until my ‘Orientation Week’ at IIMB where we were introduced to plagiarism as one of the oh-so-many ways of getting expelled from the institute. Not to mention the fat handbook we were given that elaborated on:
(a) The 1001 things that could be considered plagiarism
(b) A 2×2 for degree of acceptability of the Project Report as a function of amount of Referencing (high or low) on the horizontal axis vs number of Footnotes (high or pain-in-the-ass high) on the vertical axis. Sometimes I wonder what B-Schools would have taught or how they would even have survived but for Mr. Michael Porter and his monumental contribution, the 2×2.

For those still awake, the handout also contained another list of 10001 more ways of getting kicked out of the insti. Yours truly, of course, lost patience by the last line of the first para and decided to extrapolate (to a reasonable degree of accuracy, I’m sure) what lay ahead. Considering my experiences in that first week, possibilities off the top of my head would be coming late to class, borrowing a pen from a peer on running out of refill (for the very idea of not carrying one to class seemed laughable at the time), using font size 14 or 1.5 line spacing to cover space in project reports, and basically indulging in any activity that can potentially have roots in an intention of disturbing the decorum of the class such as ‘breathing loudly’ or any other such unimaginably gory crime. By the Grace of the Almighty, I have so far succeeded in not committing/not getting caught committing any of the above. Although as I was to discover the hard way later that term, oversleeping was a crucial offence that I had missed out on. More on that sometime later.. Wouldn’t want to drain my limited pool of creativity in one go.

My screen tells me I have already exceeded a page (Font size 12, Times New Roman, para spacing 1 line). Having successfully crossed the threshold of the average reader’s patience, I think I can safely publish the post without running any risk of criticism, even from the stray jobless readers. Only thing remaining now- to give a suitable footnote that captures the true spirit of this post!

“If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing.”

– Kingsley Amis (whoever this alter-ego of mine is!)

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9 thoughts on “How I met your Paperback Writer..

  1. Great job Mahima!!…..as always appreciate any “gibberish” that comes out of you…more than anything else it makes me feel proud of my decision to accost you at NIT market on the day of HELIOS induction….Will be glad if you repeated these acts of literary outbursts more often…And as for 10X + 1 rules of Plagiarism…I dont think u need to worry about that….Originality is not the result of compliance to any rule….its the expression of the innate talent that is possessed by one…Hope the IIMs dint “google” up too many of those rules..;-)

  2. Hehe… Gee thanks sire! As always, you are too kind! Trust me, I’m as grateful to you for that ‘accosting’ as you seem proud of it (not to mention the ‘grilling’ at the interview that followed). And considering that this blog is but an obedience of Your Honour’s orders, thankfully the flow of favours hasn’t abated.. 🙂

  3. My my! You think survival in NIT was hard? If I’m guessing your identity right, Joe, then I hate to counter a senior, but wait till you crack that call of yours.. and you are robbed of that bliss of ignorance! Oh, do I miss that or what! :D(Look what a doomsayer its made out of me.. though how i wish I am wrong here!!)… 😛

  4. Sooper Mahima !! and the blabber goes on as they say!!! With IIMB taking its toll on each of our lives..this is what we have become — Wizards of “Globe” and Masters of “MS Office”– will love to read more of this from you! Keep Going!! infact i am a witness to some of these experiences of urs too! 😉

  5. Curse those “Creative Writing” contests as much as you can, but at least they give you something to direct your anger at in retrospect. Writing is definitely more interesting than whatever else you might do at IIM-B, so might as well continue updating your blog. Hope to see more positive posts for a change though. Man, I cried myself hoarse for fun articles in The Helios and then proceeded to write a very morose one myself :P. Hey, RECK is cool but somehow it just doesn’t show in writing,at least not yet!!

  6. Phew.. can’t even BEGIN to stress how wrong you got that, o one of the best writers i know…’Reck is cool’? ‘writing is better than anythin i do here’? couldn’t agree more!’I would EVER direct even a shred of anger towards reck’? ‘the post carries negativity bout reck’?? Couldn’t disagree more!! Alas.. after all that hard work at all those CWs, it seems I still have a long way to go on the road to good communication :(will try harder next time, i promise.. sighhh..

  7. Hey, didn’t know your sentiments could be hurt this easily. Sorry! I get the sarcasm underlying your thoughts. Its funny and I am not that dumb that I missed out on the humour completely. Was just suggesting that you should sarcasm a day off once in a while :P.

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