Posts Tagged ‘new delhi’

Moment of Silence

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

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


Monday, October 12th, 2009

The Westland office is above Evergreen Sweet Shop and Madonna Beauty Parlor. Diwali orders, presumably, had the sweet shop in a frenzy of cellophane and sugar that spilled out onto the street. The doorman of the beauty parlor opened the door as soon as the three of us approached, sending my self-esteem to a new low, but we all did laugh at that moment. It was a moment of triumph too, that it was the office of my publisher I was going to and not the beauty parlor.

Meeting Prita, my editor, was not like a first meeting at all. It seemed as if we had met before during the writing and finishing of POL. But I did get my promised hug in person which is not possible in email.

Our driver’s cell phone does not work, but he says “Radio, bluetooth, hookup, receive”, words that make me look at him in awe and delight and tell him that we are not so hi-tech in America.

I tell him we didn’t see any elephants that day, and he says “Maybe you will see a camel tomorrow.”

Prita and Me

New Delhi

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

An elephant with a painted head walked slowly along the road out of the airport. The next morning another elephant walked by us at a traffic light along with bicycles and assorted vehicles.

It is odd to connect the writing of this book to where I am now – with my sisters, about to meet all the people who brought this book from a Word document on my hard drive to a real book I can hold in my hand with pages that smell slightly of ink. The smell brings back the days when I was seven or eight, and I would go to work with my mother at the Times of India building, imposing enough to a child, but when a peon took me to the press floor, the smell of newsprint and the sounds of the machines were thrilling to me.

It is strange and wonderful that other people will read my words, however they react, and, however nervous and anxious and unprepared I am to do those other things that come with being a writer. I calm my nerves by listening to the fragile sound of peacocks meowing in the night and remembering elephants walking, unperturbed in the disastrous traffic of the capital city.



New Delhi Launch

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

The invite-only launch for A Pack of Lies is in New Delhi on October 14th, 2009!

If you feel like you have been greatly wronged by not being invited, send us a message through the contact page.