Saturday, 1 December 2012

My (non-mathematical) editorial debut

Not long ago, I was asked most politely by this gentleman if I would care to be Guest Editor for one issue of a monthly newsletter on Universal Design that he had been bringing out for a while now, by similarly enlisting guest editors from all over the world, who seemed to have displayed some sensitivity to the need for the principles underlying UD. He had said that all I needed to do was to collect some three or four articles (including one by me, if I so desired), and write a guest editorial.

I agreed to take on this new challenge - on the basis of an unwarranted self-confidence rather than any common sense. But I made him wait for quite a few months before I finally had the necessary inputs for doing the needful; and he was uniformly courteous and encouraging (`I'm sure you can and will do a good job of it!') Anyway, I managed eventually to talk three other people to chip in with the different ingredients that went into a mixed bag which I felt reasonably happy with, and I sent the lot in to the editor. Quite promptly, he sent me back a tentative first draft of the newsletter for which he had written an editorial as usual before putting in all the stuff I had sent.

I was initially slightly disappointed with the output for two reasons: (i)  the long opening editorial was written not by me and I had not even been consulted regarding its inclusion; (I had once before done a similar assignment for a math journal and I had decided whatever went into it;) so (ii) this was not entirely my baby!. But you could see that the writer's heart was in the right place. And when you look at the web-site of the Design for All Institute of India, you notice that he has been bringing out this newsletter for more than six years (that is 72 issues at the rate of one every month!) and has maintained a uniformly high quality all the time. I realised then that my reservations were all a result of my not doing exactly what disability activists keep telling people: `Judge people by what they bring to the table, not by your preconceived notion of what makes a good dish!'

In conclusion. as the `proof of the pudding is in the eating', let me proudly present the November 2012 issue (not the one related to Japan) of the newsletter that can be found in

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