An experience of a lifetime

What we learn with pleasure, we never forget.

~Alfred Mercier

Mercier’s quotation aptly explains my experience at the Seagull School of Publishing.

Technically speaking, there’s a difference between dream and reality. Right now, for me at least, not really. I am living the dream for real!

On the first day, I was filled with nervousness—but also eagerness to learn and curiosity to find out about the whole course in detail for which I flew in from Chandigarh. Here, I was finally able to give a face to the person I have been coordinating with for weeks, Smita Abraham. Afterwards, an orientation session was held and I met the faculty members and people (who were to be my classmates) from other parts of the subcontinent. It felt great to get familiar with people, who, like me, are also eager to learn and grow; not just study for the sake of it.

I am here for the Editing course and during the initial classes, which were for participants of both Editing and Book Design class, I admit I was tempted to join the Design class as well—but couldn’t. To be a designer, one needs creativity and imagination; I am unmistakably impaired in that segment. Editing is more my thing. So, I had to let it go and stick to the plan!

By now, you must have gathered that these people are so good that after attending only four classes, I wanted to do both the courses. The faculty here not only wants to teach but they also make every effort to ensure that you understand and learn in a way that every single thing they teach stays with you for the rest of your life.

There’s our lecturer Sunandini Banerjee, and you can’t help but simply adore her. She makes you feel at ease and instills the sense of confidence that anybody with decent English language skills can do this. It is not until later, when Bishan Samaddar gets into the technicality of grammar usage and punctuations, that you realize what you’re (not your) actually in for!

Sunandini taught us about the entire process of publishing and the jargons associated. With her in the class, one surely can’t get bored because her life experiences leave us laughing, surprised and sometimes shocked. Her classes are not only knowledgeable but truly enlightening. It felt good to be part of her class and I made it a point that I don’t miss any of her classes, for I would miss all the second-hand experiences and the great laughs. She also taught us the editing terms from A–Z. She taught us all about the book—from cover-to-cover.

Bishan taught us about punctuation marks and its correct usage (in both UK and US styles). ‘English is a complicated language,’ he asserts, and I couldn’t agree more. I think that it is in the complexity of this language that its beauty lies.

It takes much more than just usage of correct grammar to become an editor. Slowly it unfolded that an editor has to take the responsibility for good and bad, hits and misses, profits and losses for both sides—of the author and the publisher.

In my school days, the red pen always scared me; more red ink on paper, less the marks. Here at Seagull School, I think I’m finally going to get over my fear!

I am glad that I am part of this institute as they have filled my life with CMYK colours. And, hopefully, I will be back for the Book Design course, if this GREYSCALE world allows me to.

Gunjan Rastogi

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