Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Busy At Work

It's almost the end of a work day—there's still an hour to go. We just closed the March issue of New Woman. This time, the closing dragged a bit. Otherwise, it's always insane! Pages come and go, your eyes scan them, read but sometimes don't see anything; you spot some errors at the last minute, want a few changes, argue with your art director and then make peace. You blink a hundred times to clear the fog born out of reading fatigue to check the folio lines. You see your colleagues drinking endless cups of coffee, decide against emulating them but settle for tea.
The best part of closing is the food. Every evening, hunger pangs gnaw at your tummy and then there is a huge debate on what to order to keep the mouth occupied agreeably and to silence the rumblings within. This time, it was bhelpuri and sevpuri from the roadside stall and Subway sandwiches. The roadside food does test our digestive system and there is always some doubt about who'll be laid up in bed the next day with a tummy upset but the taste makes up for it all. Playing safe all the time can be so boring. As the forms are sent to press, there's the excitement of having created a whole interesting issue. Then there is a lull. Some ads have still to be confirmed. We wait and we wait. We tell each other how time has stopped still. We tweet and we blog. We talk a little about the next issue, give up and do our own thing, intermittently asking our ad department how long it's going to take.
Of course, most of the time they have no idea. They assure us that the forms will be cleared by the afternoon. Then, they promise that it will be done by the evening. It shifts to the next day. We know that's how it will be. Yet we ask. We pretend that we believe them. They pretend to give us real deadlines. Month after month. The forms go when they have to. Never before or after.
When they do, there is a huge collective sigh. The issue has been packed! Everyone who's held their eyelids open  with great effort can now allow them to droop. You can sense the fatigue now. It's kindness time. Time to allow the mind to lie fallow. Time to think of nothing, write nothing, say nothing. Time to refurbish the energies for another creative burst for the next issue. The lull dies. Tomorrow, the brainstorming begins. Over coffee and tea and some eats from the canteen. Nothing that's a gourmet's delight. But it will have to do. It does add a bit of spice to the editorial meet.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Making Choices

It starts right in the morning. To get up or catch a few more minutes of those much-needed winks. I tell you, springing out of bed without succumbing to the just-five-minutes-more temptation makes all the difference. It means that I might just manage my 50-minute morning walk and probably spot the elusive Bharadwaj or hear a birdsong. It means I don't have to rush through my fruity breakfast and gulp it down without being able to identify the fruit. It means I can actually have some decent conversation with my sleepy kids and not just bark a "Get up lazy lumps" or some such irritant in their direction. It could mean a 10-minute read in the washroom on the pot. It means I can take over from my angel-helper who cooks like the devil and actually prepare an edible meal and eat it without turning up my nose at work. It means being able to travel without encountering as many traffic snarls as are mandatory, when one is late. Today, the choice I have to make is between "My Name is Khan" (yes, I haven't watched it yet and it's got nothing to do with the infamous threats) and "My Name is Red". This evening, I'll see red. The movie will have to wait for the weekend. But then, during the weekend there will be another contender to the movie—"Karthik Calling Karthik". No despot has threatened to stall its release—yet! Actually, I'm not sure I'll have Pamuk for company today. The British Council ebrary just sent me "The Personal History of Rachel DuPree" by Ann Weisgarber. Of course, I asked for it but didn't call for this stalemate. I'll toss.