The Bizarre, the Weird and the Fantastic
In my two years working with The Star, I had the opportunity to contribute to this wonderful magazine in a number of capacities. I wrote features, often helped with the editing and collected the entries for Star Diary and Write to Mita. Of all these responsibilities, I felt a particular affinity for Star Diary. Our readers shared their stories, their experiences on various issues –both private and public. It helped the magazine team to relate and connect to you, the readers, in a more personal manner. Apart from Star Diary, the letters that we received from you guys regarding the magazine content and other worldly issues boosted our morale while helping us identify the areas that could be improved.
As is the case with most publications, while all of our readers' submissions were definitely heartfelt and more than welcome, there were some that left us puzzled or in splits. We could never understand why a reader was insistent on sending 'jocks' to us, for instance. Until a wise colleague identified that the poor man only wanted to submit (his idea of) funny 'jokes' to the magazine and not enthusiastic sportsmen who are too consumed in their popularity to be interested in something else. As is the case, we do not accept contributions of jokes or jocks for that matter in the magazine anymore.
We've had poems, jokes, even lyrics to songs sent to us for print. And then we get emails telling us that they'd like to write but don't know our rules of submission. The answer is SO very simple. There is a submission guideline on the Mailbox page (that is Page 2) of the magazine. And it clearly states that “all articles should be within 1200 words.” We further mention that response time for “unsolicited write-ups ranges from three weeks to two months.” So to all our readers who demand an answer the day after they submit their article: please, CALM DOWN! If we feel that the article meets our editorial requirements, your articles will be published.
Then there are some who send us angry emails stating that their letter/entry to Star Diary/ query for Write to Mita is yet to be published while the fact is that their articles were printed weeks ago. This shows that they aren't regular readers of the magazine at all (Yes, I'm wagging my fingers at you all)!
There are also the regular 'letter dispatchers.' Unless you are a person whose job responsibility requires them to send out trains, buses, trucks or cars according to a schedule, you are not, I repeat NOT, a dispatcher. So when someone who does not fit the job description stated above claims to be a 'dispatcher', you will find a room full of confused writers who don't know how to address the person's unfathomable email.
As English is not our native tongue, it is only natural that we won't be able to write Shakespearean comedies/tragedies in the guise of articles. But an understanding of basic English is a requirement if you want to see your article and your name published in the magazine of an English-language newspaper of the country. Saying that well-known filmmakers of the past 'unleashed' their films with gusto means that you are decrying their talents and terming them uncontrollable. Some contributors might think that we will be able to decipher the illegible sentence structure of undeveloped thesis of their article but despite what people will have you believe, we are not mind readers. It takes a lot of effort and time on our part to decipher the coded language of some of the writings to make them eligible for print.
Don't think for even a minute that we fume and seethe when we find such emails in our mailbox. We do laugh a bit at the expense of the poor reader/writer but we love all of our contributors just the same. You, the readers, are what make us. You are the ones that have made us tick for a straight 18 years. While the magazine as we have known it will probably cease to exist in its current format, we can breathe a sigh of relief in the knowledge that you will continue to keep your faith in us in our new, fresh avatar. So here's to our readers – thank you, you weird, bizarre, crazy, fantastic, wonderful people for the most glorious 18 years!