the problems of being in the editing business is that one
tends to take one's job a bit too seriously. Sometimes one
takes it well beyond the confines of the office. Often it
can reach such absurd proportions that the obsessive editor
begins to start editing conversations with people she meets
or finds grammatical and spelling errors in innocuous things
like signboards or menus. While this may seem harmless enough,
it can turn mild skepticism into major neurosis.
harried editor of a modest publication who went to have dinner
at a new, fairly decent-looking restaurant. The first thing
she notices is not the tacky chandeliers and the gaudy tablecloths
but the word that grates her sensibilities much more than
it should. Why is she all bothered just because it says 'paprani
pizza' or 'beef stek'? Is there any logic that categorically
decides that just because a food item is spelt wrong it will
also taste wrong? But nothing can dissuade the fastidious
editor and she walks off in a huff without eating. Outside
there is more to add to her chagrin. A huge billboard announces
big bold letters that the restaurant has catering services
and that 'you can relay on us'. Plus it has 'live barbecue'.
enough to get the outraged editor to stomp out of the place
feeling that her unceremonious departure is more than justified.
things catch her attention and tease the editing brain. Like
what kinds of clothes are made at 'Arrogant Tailors' or the
type of garments at 'Cagey Choice' or how fast one must be
to go to 'Pick and Run', a clothes shop that later changed
its name to 'Pick and Cash' perhaps because of all the picking
and running with the goods without paying!
matter how jarring the experience there is nothing one can
do. You can't just go into a store, for example and tell them
that it's only a mini supermarket and there is no reason for
it to be called 'the ultimate shopping experience'. But such
hyperbole keeps hitting one in the face from all around. Almost
every restaurant in town is 'exclusive' and offers 'authentic'
cuisine even if it means a combination of Thai, Indian, Continental
with a little bit of Afghan thrown in. Every little store
is a 'plaza' or a 'palace' or an 'arcade'. Just as two rooms
may constitute a university!
such aberrations the editor, thinks it is better to stay in
the office where at least she knows that she can delete, rewrite
and restructure to her heart's content. But how does one interpret
'a grubby situation'? What does 'for glowing look and general
talkativeness, my concentration fell upon him' mean? Or a
rickshawpuller who wears a 'smoke protected stuff as a musk'?
of that one has to cope with the trauma of waking up on a
Friday morning to see that much of the painstakingly done
editing has not been incorporated in the final published piece
making an 'important decision' an 'impotent' one or Rapid
Action Battalion into a 'Rabid Action Battalion'. Well the
last one may not have been entirely inappropriate.
the compulsive editor cannot let go of her affliction and
continues to notice strange spellings and even stranger phrases,
being rattled by the total disregard for the rules of a language,
the knowledge of which has given her a vocation. It's a bit
like the selling pitch of a food joint that delivers its circumspect
cuisine: 'You asked for it.'
(R) thedailystar.net 2004