Sunday, October 25, 2009


Today's my day off and I get to read, have a looong rejuvenating bath and then trot off to meet a fantastic person  :D Yay!

My dad went shopping yesterday and found a peasant blouse that he thought would look great on me. I absolutely love the blouse and I'm going to be all dressed up for the fancy dinner tonight :) I had considered working on my applications today, but  decided that I needed to catch up on my reading and reply to tons of emails from friends and family.

Tomorrow, we wrap up our Macbeth project and the big presentation is on Tuesday.

I've met all pending deadlines and today's a reason to celebrate. It's back to the grind from Monday. I've also decided that I will take one day of the week off, no matter how much there is to do.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Of exploitative contracts and my thoughts on them

I'm not an experienced writer yet, but the one thing that I do know is that I will never sign an indemnification clause. A very well-respected publication (regular readers of this blog will be aware of the nitty-gritties) chose two of my stories for publication. After promising a paltry sum of Rs 500 for each story, (and this is a huge publishing house, mind you), the publishers decided that it was in their best interests to make their contributors sign an indemnification clause.

And guess what, most people did. They went ahead and signed the contract.Here's why I think that this was possible:

1. Most people were first time writers and absolutely dying to see their name in print.
2. Most were unable to comprehend the deftly worded legal jargon.
3. Some people signed the contract without reading it- The contract wanted all rights and wanted the contributors to sign the indemnification clause

Here's why I didn't sign

1. For almost a year, the editors held on to my story without any word on it. When several writers wrote to them asking for an explanation, they were rude and treated the writers like they were doing the writers a favour by publishing them.

2. The Publication wanted all rights and wanted to translate my story into several Indian languages (unfortunately I know only two and would have no way of verifying if plagiarism occured during translation)

3. The high-handed I'm big you're small, I'm right you're wrong attitude. I'm not their slave. As a writer, I am a service provider- as a publisher they are my clients. I am selling them a product. If they can't treat me like an equal, I can't be bothered to work with them either. ( I think this kind of behaviour is absolutely unacceptable and writers are exploited because they allow themselves to be exploited.)

4. I respect my own work and will never give up all rights on it. (unless I can buy a villa in South Sicily with all the money they give me.)

5. I hate contracts that are non-negotiable (Just because I'm not Madonna, don't expect me to put up with your dumb and absolutely lame reasons.)

6. They asked me to rewrite my story from beginning to end. I might consider doing so if my editor is constructive, not to mention intelligent and helps me make my story more nuanced. But I will absolutely not rewrite just because an editor thinks that having an eight word vocabulary is cool. Oh and I don't like editors who write Pls chnge, I thght ths is gd idea in an email. If you expect me to be professional, please be professional yourself.

I wrote this post not because I wanted to rant, but because I wanted to warn everyone about indemnification clauses. Read up on it before signing that contract.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Bright, Fish Shaped Candle...

I'm not too fond of presents the way some people are but what really touched me last week was a bright fish shaped candle. I was upto my neck in work ( I'm not complaining about it- the work is fabulous and the clip makes it worth it for me), but the more I worked, the more the fish-shaped candle seem to stare at me. There were firecrackers outside and the neighbourhood kids seemed to be having a whale of a time. And then, the bright-fished shaped candle was lit and it stayed right there on my desk- as unintrusive and peaceful as the person who thought of me when the lone, fish shaped candle waited for its turn to be home.

Because Home is everything to an exile :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

And Life is Good

So I've been working on a presentation and writing paragraph after paragraph and surprisingly, I'm thrilled to bits. I don't mind at all. We're working on a group presentation on the Cultural Adaptations of Macbeth with a focus on Asia and we're having a lot of fun digging up little known facts and putting together an audio-visual presentation.

I am also working on a writing assignment that I can't talk about- I'm SUPER excited about it and if it turns out the way I want it to, I'll link it here, on my blog. I'll be interviewing an incredible person tomorrow and I can't wait for tomorrow to begin. Also, I really love my editors. I've worked with some particularly nasty ones and I'm glad that the ones that I work with now are not only wonderful editors, but wonderful and sensitive human beings as well.

Last Diwali I wasn't in town and last to last Diwali I spent at home, sulking and carrying on an ISD conversation that I had no wish to be a part of. I'm so glad that this time it's all going to be different. Happy Diwali everyone. Light a candle for the special people in your lives :)

** Edits- This one's turning out to be a really crappy one too.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The need for a Blog Post.

The need to blog today stems from the fact that this blog has been dormant for quite sometime. Earlier, I was the proud owner of a sleek journal where I'd pen fragments and thoughts. And then, a poem I'd once written mysteriously appeared on some else's blog and that too, AFTER I had trusted the person and showed her my creative endeavour. That's when I decided to start my own blog and put up poetry there. Saptarshi (who is a friend now, but who I didn't know at all back then) was one of the first people to comment on that blog - aptly named An Ordeal By Innocence. The blog housed poetry that turns my ears red from embarrassment everytime I think of them. But looking back, it served its purpose and proved cathartic to an emotional, angst-ridden teenager.

That blog, despite all its bad writing taught me to let go - of things that had lost their meaning, of friends who had become strangers, of relationships that hurt more than healed. Slowly I learnt that it was more important to be sensitive than sensational, to be intuitive than intelligent. I learnt that I admire people who are actively involved in addressing problems and coming up with solutions for them. And finally and most importantly, I learnt that it was possible to be happy even when everything was seemingly wrong.

While this might seem trivial, writing taught me to fight my own demons. Later that year, I went on a trip to the mountain and overcame my fear of heights by rappelling down the mountain. It wasn't a big deal but it was a Herculean task for me and I did it nevertheless. That was step two.

Today is Blog Action Day* (Yea, I didn't know that myself. Google told me) and millions of people around the world are talking about how they think they can contribute to the world. It's taken me almost three years to know exactly what I want to do, where I fit in and how I can help and while I'm not going to talk at length about anything specific, I do know that nurturing positivity can be by doing anything - it might be trying to teach a child how to build a fire, it might be learning to fly kites, it might be trying to fight poverty. What can You do to facilitate positivity the world over? It's worth thinking about.

* The Theme this year is Climate Change