Wednesday, August 19, 2009

So, Writer, Hm, “Copy Paster,” Hahn? Writing-witing Eeji no?

When hoi polloi hear that I am a writer, or I try to write (in a kinda, sorta way), they say I am a “copy paster” not a writer. I count that as one of the egregious insults they heap on a writer in this country by a generation that is brought up to revere formulas of maths, physics and chemistry but, sadly enough, not that of writing, I mean, good writing. This is one of the challenges any writer has to meet in a country which doesn’t respect writers and the writing craft. “Kya, writing-biting, copy-paste kartha hai, sala.” My insides tear up, my heart pounds when I hear this allegation. What can I do? I am one miserable writer whose talents are doubted in this unlettered country. It’s the same feeling I get when India is defeated in cricket by Kenya. I am of the opinion that writing and literature should be taught at the professional level: in IITs, IIMs and even the specialised graduate courses.

Copy paste? From what? Of what? If I copy paste then I am not original at all. That would be an insult to my highfalutin creativity, originality and all that thingamajig.

A while ago a colleague, a very good designer told me he wanted to write creatively. He probably thought it was like going to one of those “English Speaking” classes that promise to make you fluent in three months. I said, keep writing. But tell me, he insisted, give me some tips, na? I said, to be a writer you have to want to be one from deep within, you have to read, maybe, tens of thousands of books, tens of millions of magazine and newspaper articles, tens of hundreds of “boring” poetry, and then if you still feel you can be a writer, go ahead and try.

Hehe. Actually it’s a very difficult profession, this writing-witing business, na? It requires discipline, imagination, good memory, good eye-head-hand co-ordination (for the thought to travel from the eye to the brain to the tips of the fingers) and a thick skin to take the insults such the one of being a “copy paster.” “What men, after it’s all a few words on a page only, no? What’s so great about that, men?” Anthonybhai buts in. Damn him. He has a habit of doing that, I should tell him. His “men” itself is bad grammar, being around him has spoilt my grammar too, man.

So I ask this colleague to write a few sentences in English and show me. Huh oh! As expected, not even one, not even one of the sentences is without huge grammar, consistency, redundancy issues, the size of galactic black holes. This co-worker mine can’t even write a word of acceptable primary school English, forget attempting literary oeuvres.

Hm, in Passing

So the following didn’t come as a surprise, eh, a good one. An uninitiated school teacher is supposedly writing this letter to the headmaster, apologising for reporting late for duty.

"Deer sur,

If small small mistakes getting inside my letter, I big you pardon, ass I am not a good englis speaker. This is my fist vijit to Bombai. Stickly speaking, I wanted to joint your school more fastly, but for the following region, too much time lost in getting slipper reservation in three-tyre compartment. I tolded I has head ache problem due to migration. Still the clerk rejected to give ticket to I and my sun.. I putted a complain on station masterji. He said I to go to the lady clerk. At first she also rejected. I then pressed for long time and finally with great difficulty she gave a birth to my sun. Anyway I thanked the station master also because he was phully responsible for getting birth of my sun. Ass a hole it was a bhery diphicult experiment in my hole life. I hope u will look into explain my hole story after, and late me joint first. I am now ending this fastly. I am a waiter for your responsement. May God blast you!"

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