Rocky Dawuni…an inspired singer; his story is as interesting as his music.
Day 39 was one for walking the talk. I had to be seen as the writer I claimed to be. I had to look it , act it and most importantly be it. The day went like a day does, except that I had to attend a book launch in the afternoon.So I took out my pink cotton saree…pink being at the demand of my younger niece…thankfully fit into the blouse and set off with kohl lined eyes and silver jhumkis in place.Half an hour before leaving, I got a call from my brother, who was lunching with my Sis in Law and the girls at the mall next door to come, join them…I had already eaten but family lunches are always entertaining…so went in for a quick nibble.
The newly opened branch of the American chain Chillies, was teeming with people. The mocktail though refreshing was in a BIG glass; not one to be daunted by anything however large (considering almost everything is at least twice her size), my three n half year old luckily finished half of it, if not more, (her father’s glass had already met a similar fate).I had my first taste of calamari as I do not eat meat and chicken except at select places…long story there…Anyway it was very prawny, in taste just more fishy n chewy.I was reminded of squid…and somehow while squid had tasted nice that minute; it put me off seafood for the entire ensuing week. Again, calamari was nice but…
That out of the way, I headed out to the book launch by it seemed some Bollywood personality…I was luckily late. The decor was depressing, the tablecloth even more so.There were two books being released by the same author.I discretely took my seat at the back, without drawing too much attention to myself .The whole place reeked of awkwardness to it. With the MC and the lady who was to launch the book…leading the way, everybody seemed a little lost..the author included.
The MC kept encouraging the author to read more from the book, it was okay not bad, he was a good orator but there was nothing left to imagination…finally the organiser broke for tea..I had two cups of sweet, milky tea, talked a bit about my book to be, as well as my author friend’s (he was there as was another, both from my writer’s group).I have to start talking about my book…and talk about it with the passion I feel.It is an integral part of the pre-launch; or so they say…
The bell rang and break-time was over. It was back to the launch, my friends reclaimed their front row seats, and I the familiar comfort of the last… about fifteen minutes in, my head started spinning…don’t know why, maybe it was the heat, or the airless room. The session one and a half hours in was still on Book 1…Book 2 was yet to be. While the person who had inaugurated book1 had already left sometime back, the MC followed suit, yes she did!
The author was now finally onto the second book, while some things sounded too radical, others were simply too jaded, I missed a sense of fresh original, thought one could connected with. The author was saying something which I had just finished reading a most fascinating version of and was reading yet another, equally captivating one.The author sadly lacked by comparison…I was detached to say the least, and as I already mentioned, my head was spinning. So I put it on the back of the chair in front, and before I knew it, I was dreaming. Luckily I woke up before anyone could notice.The author was nowhere near finishing yet; he was giving a chapter by chapter account of the book. People suddenly started getting phone calls…about six of them all at once, but the author did not get a hint.
The organiser by this time had had enough, and opened the house open to questions much to the protest of the author, two people even asked question (both my friends!)…and the organiser finally, after a whole three and a half hours, declared the session over, a bit too firmly.
I was relieved to come out, the books were at best ordinary and the interaction overtly long.The hall was airless, the decor completely without aesthetics. My heart went out to the author and I resisted the temptation to go and say something nice to him. People were saying that but I did not want to sound insincere, both for my sake and his. I was more than a little miffed at the organisers, I felt they should have done more which included tutoring the author on how much and how little to say.They it seemed, had done just the opposite…they had messed up and to appease the author, egged him to speak on and some more. I learnt what mistakes not to make…
– If you do it, do it well
-A book launch is a vanity trick without media presence
– It should talk about the process with just a tantaliser from the book, avoid plot spoilers
– The ambience, the food, everything counts…people take away an experience
– If you have the money, do a thematic launch…make your guests walk the talk…
-Keep it just long enough
My author friend and I decided to hang around in the lawns outside for a while…I had a fresh lime soda, and discussed his book, mine and how a novel was more ‘respectable’ than an anthology of short stories; even if they were more clever.I lamented (a lil) the loss of my Fendi sunglasses…but was still happy that I wasn’t that sad, even though the sunglasses had cost me more than half of what the editing assignment was to pay me. Seems I am evolving and my sunglasses anyway would not have matched my look for the season…or so I told myself. We went back to my impending book…he gave me a fresh perspective and broke my limited possibility vision…he just did not understand magic surrealism 😦
I came back home to discover my favourite sun-glasses on my dresser.I was ecstatic, maybe if I had known earlier…the book launch would have been easier to bear…it was long n tedious I maintain…anyway seems I aint all that evolved…well not yet 😉