Moment of Silence

Imam is not a long lost friend, because he was never lost. But to find him in Delhi at the very moment I needed exactly and precisely him was – yes I’m saying it – serendipity. He came, he took everything in hand, he made the launch a smooth, happy, easy experience for us all.

The evening was made full by the presence of friends and family – friends new and old, family full of delight and support. My mother-in-law surprised me to delight and nearly tears by reading passages from the book, ones that I would never have expected her to read. In her quiet, dignified way, she silenced the small crowd and moved some of them to tears. My sisters, Meithili and Aarti, read too. They were each very different and each infused my words with their own intensity. Imam read a particularly indiscreet passage, and the audience (maybe I imagined this) held its collective breath a little, but he stopped before it went too far into impropriety.

My own reading was short and not so sweet, and the questions Imam practically forced out of the audience wielding the mike like a light saber were probing and sometimes difficult to answer.

There was food and drink and a good time was had.

At the beginning of the evening before the guests arrived, Imam made us stand in a circle and hold hands. He asked us to close our eyes and be silent for a moment. Not my thing, this sort of thing – but I had trusted him with everything, so I indulged him. Or so I thought. I closed my eyes, and in the silence of the circle, went through the list of people who were not there this night. And suddenly, powerfully, as if she were holding my hand, my mother was there at the bottom of that list. She was there for a moment.


signing the first copy of A Pack of Lies!


saheli, imam, and me.


the readers


the dudes with unsold books

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