Reviewing Manuscripts

Only recently I was invited to review someone’s first work of Fiction. I dithered on whether I should or should not take up the responsibility, because that is what it is, a monumental responsibility of giving feedback on someone else’s work. For me, I welcome critics, but that does not mean I don’t feel the sting of criticism, and I imagine anyone who creates something – for writer’s are, after all, artists, and creators of world’s – feels the same sting, probably differing in degrees, depending on how thick or thin their skin. But I took it up anyway, with a swelled chest, for being asked to give my opinion meant that my opinion was, and is, valued.

The work turned out to be fantasy fiction, a genre I’m usually not too keen on reading. I did enjoy the book though, even though it was a first draft and needed a fair bit of reworking. Told the lady who wrote it as much, and thankfully she took all criticism with grace, or at least pretended to. But she does continue to ask me inputs on further changes, so I now believe she genuinely appreciates my inputs. Which is well and good. When I finish the first draft of my first novel in December, I’ll stick it to her for critique, all 50,000 words of shit. 🙂

What is it like to have a near-death experience?

Answer by Yashvir Dalaya:

I can relate two events (out of several) that can be termed as “near-death experiences”.

The first time was when some friends and I went to take a dip in a well. Trouble was, they all knew how to swim, and I didn’t. I jumped in last as the other 3 were coming out. Landed in the center of the well and I sunk. I kicked and got part of my arm out to the surface to signal to the others that I was in trouble. The others were pretty high, and so was I (in hindsight that’s probably why I jumped in the first place) but they were slow to figure out something was wrong. I was under for about a minute, and I remember thinking to myself, “wow, is this how I’m going to go?”, followed by “Must. Live. More”,  followed by some desperate thrashing of legs and flailing of arms. One of the guy’s eventually figured out I was in trouble and jumped in and dragged me out by the neck.

The second instance was when I got on and rode a bike after almost two years. I got in a tight spot, between a rickshaw and a car and I was probably doing about 100 Km/h. I had to choose between hitting the car or the rick and I chose the rick. Banged my thigh on it (broke the femur in half) and flew, tumbled, hit my head on  the ground once (they say time slows down in such instances and when I hit my head to the ground I went “I hope that isn’t going to be a problem” in my head) and came to a stop by the side of the road. My right thigh swelled to the size of a melon but it didn’t hurt a bit. I was just glad to be alive. After this experience I became a lot more cautious, and weary, of fast-moving vehicles, and of acting like “YOLO”, which is only a recent invention and a pretty stupid way to live.

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