The old rusty old fan sounded like an EDM track, the place was quiet. No one was at the library. Except me. And this sharply dressed your man called Nikhil. No one comes to the library anymore. I went there often to enjoy the silence as I pen down my thoughts. Be it late afternoons or early evenings, this place was deserted. Only the old librarian sat there ,composing hoax to forward on WhatsApp. He couldn’t care less if you were a member of the library, always overjoyed by the sight of people in the decaying old building.
During the mornings the library was the rendezvous point for retired uncles who come and read the newspaper. After the news and they walk to the coffee shop across the road where they discuss the news to a cup of sugarless filter-coffee. It’s a book club of current affairs…that nobody cares about. Post-noon the library was home to pigeons who were incharge of whitewashing the window panes. This ensured the only one making any money at the library, was the housekeeping lady.
On most evenings it’s just Nikhil and me. I never spoke to him, and always curious “What’s a man like that, doing in a place like this?”. One day, I was infected by a bad case of writer’s block. I noticed Nikhil sitting on his usual table – next to the tall locked-up wooden bookshelf, gazing through the window. ‘Ah! Perfect!’ I thought ‘He seems jobless, let’s find out what he does’. I walked up to him striking a conversation about the only thing in sight, the pigeon poop on the window. “Well, at-least there’s something for the housekeeping lady to clean” he replied in a matter-of- fact tone. “Wow! those are my thoughts exactly!” I said in excitement sitting on a chair opposite him. “So what do you do Nikhil?” I asked. He took a long pause. His reply leads me to this article. I don’t know if I am can share this information with you… but I’m going take my chances. “I’m a head grammar Nazi” he replied. “WHAT!? That is not a profession bro! Tell me what you do for a living?” I questioned. Without responding, he silently stood, picking up a flower pot from the window pane. A voila, the grand reveal, a key below it. As he opened the tall doors of the bookshelf behind him he asked: “Have you ever wondered what is behind this door?”. I nodded not really knowing how to reply.
It was no bookshelf, behind the doors were a staircase leading underground. “Follow me, ” he said as we walked down the steps. The walls were decorated with hieroglyphics of a stick figure correcting someone’s paper. He saw my confusion and sai, “Welcome to the ‘Secret Order of the Nazis of Grammar’ AKA S.O.N.G”. Initially thought I was dreaming and I pinched myself but to no avail. I pinched myself and this time hurt myself. Then my mind drifted to “do salts feel a pain when we pitch them!?”. Nikhil broke my train of thought as he went on. “The men and women of our order recruit fresh blood. They walk around pretending to be commoners, blending with crowds, and looking out for arrogant pricks who can’t keep a spelling or grammatical mistake to themselves. We bring these bright minds here and train them to be bigger a**holes.”
I found this information hard to digest. All this felt like a fantasy fiction written by a struggling standup comedian. He went on explaining the intricacies of S.O.N.G. They run a tight ship around here.the mornings start with all the students assembling at the almond shaped hall pledging to the oath of douchebaggery. .Custom demands members to place their right hand on a Wren and Martin Grammar book while taking the oath. After the oath, members take part in a seminar.With the goal of improving their observation skill, members are given the daily edition of ‘Times of India.’ As part of this class, not only are the members expected pinpoint errors, they come up with creative ways to troll the journalists on their shortcomings. The seminar is flowed by a motivation speaker, which I found most interesting. S.O.N.G veterans and hall of famers come down and share their stories on how they spent their entire life giving themselves an ego massage for pointing and correcting mistakes on text, speech, and social media. Post lunch they have a Nazi’s Anonymous session. Here all members sit together sharing their best stories, patting each other on their backs for their theoretical excellence and their redundant yet extraordinary skills of nitpicking
Nikhil told me how at this point in life he is so drug ridden, no one can help him! His friends don’t message him anymore, his mom thinks he is arrogant and his girlfriend left him for a more good looking person (because grammar is not everything!). Nikhil went on to tell me he never wanted this life, but once he got into the habit of naz-ing he got a dopamine rush that he can’t describe is words… which is a rather ironic thing to say for a grammar nazi.
PS: I left a few spelling mistakes and misplaces puncutiones uncorrected just to mess with you. Good day!
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Also published on Medium.