The Co-Author

People cross your path for a reason. As Master Oogway had rightly said, “There are no accidents!”. As most of you know, the research paper myself and Arpitha submitted got accepted and will be published in an International Journal. I first met Arpitha when I was in first year  of Engineering. It seems that she had seen me in one of the debates which I had won when I was in PU. She was apparently impressed by it and shared the same with Shamanth Dixit. If you don’t know who he is, you should probably stalk my FB profile and then come and read my blog. We talked about Game of thrones and some other random shit for like 2 hours or so and I returned to Bangalore.

From then till a few weeks back, we hadn’t spoken at all. She was busy winning Best Delegate awards (yes, it is plural) in Model United Nations and I was busy surviving my college. Thanks to Aryann Bhowmik, a Bengali actor, we started speaking again when she thought I resembled him. Days later, I get this message which said that KSOU – Department of Economics, Mysore, were taking in applications for research paper under the topic ‘Rural Development through Information Technology and Communication’ and somehow she was convinced that I was the person she had to come to for the ICT part because, as I have always said, the woman bleeds economics. Was I her first choice? I don’t care because ultimately it happened. I started thinking about it. It was my first time writing a paper and didn’t know anything about the process and details, and I began to wonder, ‘Why me?’.

My exams were coming up and I had about 25 days to save the semester. Agreeing to this meant spending time on it which I wasn’t really sure about. After I spoke with my mother about it, I said to myself that this is an opportunity to add something in the “I did all these before turning 20” list. I was always asking myself that it is almost 2 decades since I was born and what did I achieve? I realised agreeing to this would add as an answer to that question. I said ok, let’s do this. Two first timers started working on a goddamn research paper with no idea how it will turn out to be. I remember very clearly that the first discussion we had was whether we will be using Dropbox or Google Docs. I went to Mysore to get things into motion. We met in a cafe and started working it out without even seeing the main theme. After 2 hours of intense brainstorming, we realised that we had drifted from the topic so far that we had to reconsider all our arguments.

I started gathering facts and articles and she started to put them together in one place. She had to deal with my ever lasting need for extrapolating the sentences, and I had to occasionally answer her energy related questions. Our algorithm was, we would discuss the matter on call together, I would present her with facts and numbers I had gathered, she would make that into sentences and I would type it out along with my corrections and additions. We would reach the ends of god’s green earth to find synonyms. I hated typing in Times New Roman. I am more of an Open Sans guy. Instances of momentary happiness for me was when I would check whatever we had written for the word count. Every word I typed was a contradiction to the thought that I could not do it because I didn’t know how or what to do.  The first real challenge I faced was explaining what we were doing to Anup (again, stalk my FB profile for reference). That was when I realised, I couldn’t actually summarize what we were working on. The elevator pitch for our paper was yet to be figured out. Once the paper started taking shape one section at a time, it became more clear how it would look in the end. The prospect of being named as Authors’ was way too exciting. We initially had a discussion about who would be the first author and I was clear that I simple didn’t care as long as my name was on the paper and my signature on the copyright form.

The day we completed writing the paper was a memorable one. All those hour long discussions and pain of having to down an entire bottle of water sitting in a Cafe Coffee Day (because I’m not into coffee and it wouldn’t be fair to use their property and not buy anything. For what it’s worth, she couldn’t drink or eat cause she had braces) had finally resulted in a complete research paper. It was like our brainchild was finally born. She took care of the formatting and submitted to the committee. I couldn’t wait to put a big ass watermark which said CONFIDENTIAL and show it to everyone and I did the exact same as soon as we got the acceptance email. Very recently we found out that the editorial committee had accepted our paper and it would be published in the International Journal of Multidisciplinary Educational Research. I was overwhelmed. The very fact that we would become published authors of a research paper was prodigious.

While working with Arpitha, I realised how to co-ordinate in a writing exercise, how to complement each others work and how two first timers can achieve something which they have never tried before if we combined our writing and thoughts together. I am particularly proud of the conclusion of the paper. Because, it was while writing conclusion we realised that all these time we were not writing in our style. We were just adhering to the rules and writing merely by our hands. Once we realised it, we wrote the conclusion exactly how we both would write a blog or an article. It was our minds writing it. It was an exciting and knowledgeable experience. If given a chance, I would gladly work with her again on a paper. With her complex and intricate words and my “Simple is the new sexy” mindset, the writing would be a perfect blend of both worlds.

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