Monday, November 01, 2010


My search for Ibid began when I chose humanities over science as my college subjects. There was a reason behind the choice. I chose Economics, Logic, Sociology, Psychology because I thought that would save me from slogging.  Arts students dont study, they dont need private tuitions, they can pass in high first class by studying for the exams just a week before the exams. That was the perception. In a way its true. But thats not the point. As students of humanities we were not required to study only the prescribed texts. For every chapter in the syllabus, the lecturers used to suggest a list of books which were in the library. I used to check them out once in a while. And most of the books though unrelated had more often than not Ibid in their footnotes. I was fascinated with Ibid. And my fascination and curiosity about Ibid increased when I found ibid in general books like biographies and autobiogrphies. Ibid, must be something like an encyclopaedia if everybody quotes from it on all subjects under the sun, I concluded. I wanted to read Ibid, because that would solve all problems. One book for everything. I was greedy to get hold of this one masterpiece which would help me deal with everything. I checked in the library and Ibid was not to be found. I checked the catalogue, there was no mention of Ibid to my greatest annoyance. I asked the librarian for Ibid and he asked me in turn who wrote it and I was red faced because I was clueless.
Since it was not to be found so easily, Ibid became even more valuable and my need to find it grew stronger. There was this guy in our class who cited 'metaphysics' as his hobby during a discussion. He knew a great deal of things and cared less for formal education. I thought this guy would be able to help me find Ibid. I dont know why. May be I had already decided that those who dont read are the ones who actually know. Since I knew his hobby was metaphysics I threw in some titles like Make believe, Unended Quest by Karl Popper etc which I had just glanced upon in my cousin's place. The guy became a friend because I had heard of Karl Popper!
One day I asked him 'Tell me, where can I find Ibid?'.
Without looking up he said 'In the same place'.
In my mind I completed his answer as 'In the same place where you find all other books, i.e.Library', so I said in an exasperated tone, 'But its not in the college library.'
Then he looked up and asked me to repeat my question. I patiently said 'I want to read Ibid, but its not in the library. Where can I find it?'
He thought for a while and said 'If you keep looking for it, may be you will find it'. I thought that since he also did not know where it was, he was trying to escape with a philosophical type answer. 
I looked for Ibid in two more libraries, then sort of gave up the search. One day while I was checking the dictionary for the exact latin words for i.e., (1) I happened to glance upon ibid as well. I read the meaning of ibid and continued to look for i.e but within a fraction of a second something struck in the mind and I reread entry for Ibid which said 'in the same place' (2). I was stunned into silence when the association of ibid in the footnotes became clear. I let the realisation dawn on me with a cringing heart. At first I was ashamed of my stupidity but huge disappointment followed which was greater than shame. Ibid was to be the one stop solution for all the great questions. It was to provide repreive from referencing so many books. It was to be the drink having all the nutrients and drinking that I would have become omniscient, so I had hoped.  But my great hopes of finding the magnum opus had been dashed because it did not exist. I had counted upon something without any existence in reality. Perhaps it was my delusional mind which created something out of nothing and made me believe in it but I still cann't stop myself from glaring at Ibid whenever I see it in any book.   

(2) Ibid

1 comment:

Atoorva said...

I must confess i had similar trial with 'sic' . Took me long time to realise why suddently this appears in a bracket in between a quote . not feel stupid. Your Post reminded me of O henry's story Cactus. Remmber "Ventomarme" ?