A LAYABOUT’S WONDERINGS
Asked for my bio and location by Twitter, I replied, layabout and Mother India’s basket, meaning a good for nothing Indian. This self-appraisal may appear churlishly deprecatory, but I liked the sound of it. Surprise! Surprise!! Imagine Twitter of 140 characters editing my entry to lay about and mother india s basket. But I am not complaining, Twitter is the only forum which publishes whatever I write within 140 characters. As I remember all those unpublished articles and letters to the editor in newspapers and magazines (even The New Yorker), I feel immensely grateful to Twitter. What’s more, the founder, Biz Stone sends me Twitter newsletter. I feel I am almost blessed. Now, I am 73, and Biz Stone is much younger, if not 37. So, why I am feeling blessed. The reason is Biz Stone could think of beginning Twitter, I could not.
Nor, I am not complaining against newspapers and magazines. I nursed a secret ambition to become a journo, like, say, Blomkvist of Stieg Larsson. Unsuccessful, I became a content editor, a sort of dignified proof reader and tackled the syntax of textbooks on electrical engineering, computer architecture and so on. It was a sin and devil was collecting tax. Alternating current was consistently referred to as AC current and Berkeley Protocol (a sequential algorithm) as Barclay Protocol. The publisher was famous for its technical books, some of which I read as a student long ago and oh! so far away! They joined hands with the prima donna of Indian industry and published those instruments of torture. People sacrifice everything for money, my sacrifice of sanity was nothing in comparison.
Proofreading…err, editing over, I patiently waited for the payment. Three months later, on enquiry, I was told that the cheque would come from Singapore. Six months and numerous queries followed, when I read in a newspaper their Bangalore correspondent’s heart-rending story on the plight of senior citizens. I sent her an email asking for help cc to the publisher at about 11.40 am. By 12.25 pm, as the there was a reply from the publisher that the cheque would be in my hands within two days.
Now you know why I regard newspapers as sweet!