Thursday, July 15, 2010

I've been reviewed, or: how to ensnare throbbing felines

Rushing out of my car to catch the shuttle, I forgot to turn off the parking lights. The attendant whiled away a slow day by watching the lights grow dimmer and dimmer, until they were fireflies in the twilight. He could've informed my office. But no. To him, it made more sense to sit there swatting mosquitoes, and probably preparing a speech, with just the right mix of commiseration and disapprobation, to lay on me in the evening.

Only, I didn't get back in the evening. I got back, trudging the 2 kilometres from office, at 4 the next morning: things pop up at work, sometimes. And it was a Saturday. In early March. A time when we pleasant-weather-starved Delhiites should be out, enjoying the cool breeze, soaking in the sights. Not me; not that evening: I was hunched over my keyboard.

The mechanics' not being open until 10, I grouched my way back to office, with the prospect of another 6 hours in front of my computer. It was then that I stumbled upon Ask And Ye Shall Receive, aka "I will fucking tear you apart." Somehow, my mood seemed just perfect for a prolonged stay there. Filled with a loathing for the world beyond description, I glanced theatrically up at the stars (ok, ceiling covered with row upon row of fluorescent lights), muttered a "go ahead, do your worst," and submitted my blog for review.

A very pleasant rest-of-the-weekend - and a quick recounting of blessings - later, I regretted my rashness. To paraphrase Hammett, I adjusted myself to drained car batteries, and when no more of them ran down, I adjusted myself back to them not running down. That said, I continued to be a regular reader of their reviews, and have come upon a few blogs that I'm now a subscriber to.

There the matter rested, in Tolkien style. When submitting my blog, I was like Frodo - just coming of age. The days turned into weeks, the weeks into months, the months into years* - I'm now a wizened hobbit of 50 - before the story picks up again.

And pick up, it did, in ominous fashion: my blog - the announcement came, to screeching violins - headed the list of doom. I should've rejoiced; welcomed the forthcoming criticism with an open heart. But instead, the feeling was rather one that the audience of an old Malayalam movie would've known, on the sight of the hero's younger brother getting on a motorbike, all light of heart due to engagement with childhood sweetheart, having won over her family after much initial opposition. There's no more effective indicator that, in 45 seconds' time, he would get pulped by a lorry laden with plywood.

Mordor was rising, and scary creatures were afoot on the boundaries of my shire. The first: "Let's see: two Indian blogs, one that immediately made me want to kill myself and the other that first made me scratch my head, unsure of who I wanted to kill." I screamed. Reason having reasserted itself, I asked myself, "Might I not be overreacting?" No, I wasn't: that was a regular reviewer there. A short pause for breath, and I was all set with a couple more. A few "get a grip, asshole" looks helped me regain a degree of composure, but whatever-it-is-that-has-icy-fingers had just put my heart in its firm grip.

After the initial panic, my customary calmness in the face of adversity took over. Battening down the hatches, my face set in grim, hard lines. "These guys don't know who they're messing with," I told myself. I would imagine I looked a bit like Sam Spade in the presence of a man who's just, say, head-butted Brigid O'Shaughnessy - or, I would've, if he were more like the rest of us, and not prone to dreamy looks before indulging in a bit of violence.

I prepared myself for an offensive. I would accuse them of racism, of sexism, of not knowing art if it jumped up and bit them on their collective rear ends. I would whinge so long and so hard that even the worst review on their shitty little site would look like an 8-year-old's homework. But above all, it would be a private whinge; an email, and I would move on, not uttering a word to a soul. No mention at all publicly of even their existence.

But when the review finally came, they did not tear me apart. The reviewer, Forcemeat (with an avatar as vegetarianism-inducing as the moniker promises), seems to have taken a liking to my blog. I didn't set his world alight, mind you - if I've understood the rating correctly, it was more of an "above average." Still, it was very un-ripping-apart-like, and has caught me distinctly on the wrong foot. After all the huffing and puffing, I feel deflated.

I suppose the right thing to do is to display an Olympian disregard for the opinions of mere mortals. Or, maybe, thank him graciously enough, while self-deprecatingly pointing out how some of the plus points he's noted are not really plus points at all; thereby underlying my supreme coolness, and my invulnerability to failings of the flesh.

But the thing is, I'd feel cheap doing that - especially when he's clearly taken the pains to read even the longest posts of mine, and has referred back to posts of years back. We all have our attacks of conscience now and then: this is one of my rare ones. Further, the review is beautifully written, makes valid criticisms and contains delightful winks that no one apart from me would probably get** - a tete-a-tete on the world wide web.

So, there's little left for me to do, Forcemeat, except thank you warmly for your time, and hope that you'll continue to drop in here when time permits.

*All right, all right, it's been just 4 months.
**Well, not unless you memorise much of my blog.


grumpy said...

It is a bit of a let down after your review, well that is what I found. You look forward to it and wait, and wait and wait...and then it happens. After the initial 'argh' it's a bit 'Oh. well. That wasn't so bad.'

Nicely written post on the 'process' :)

Rohan said...

Yes, Grumpy. You and me, we've earned the right to put our feet up for a while, posting poetry and memes. :D

Oh, and thanks for the comments on the "list of doom" post. The ones before you had got me mighty worried!

Miss Ash said...

Yours was the first review in what seems like forever where they actually didn't tear the blogger apart. Good work!

Nimpipi said...

I've been meaning to say, firm handshake and three stars, huh: bravo!

Rohan said...

Thank you, Miss Ash.

Nimpipi: A pleasure to have you here. I came upon AAYSR while going through your archives. So, am I allowed to sit back with a sigh, and talk pretentiously of life coming full circle? Or should I have to comment on your "review" post, to be able to do that legally? I think I'll just avoid the phrase altogether...