There are things and experiences which stay with you for life. Seeds of happiness that cheer you up whenever you think about them. Yesterday was one such day.
I found out about the event by pure serendipity. Twitter was advising me to follow Chetan Bhagat, and just to see what shit the man has been writing, I clicked on his name. God bless him, for posting the link to the event.
Follett has been a childhood favorite. I remember skipping dinners just to finish the book. I remember train journeys being passed by reading his book. I have not read anything by him for a while now, since for the last year I have only been reading Narayan and James Hadley Chase, and that too not very frequently.
I remember in 8th standard, I was showing one of my friends, a sex scene described in his book, Hornet Flight. The teacher saw it, and the book was taken. I said, please I am sorry, but that is my book and I want it back. The teacher told me to bring my parents and claim it. I didn’t bring my parents, and I still hate the teacher for doing such a foolish act. Bloody Mallu. So yeah, back to the event.
I went to the even a bit early, making sure that I get a place to sit, since last time when I went to meet Jeffrey Archer I was left standing without a proper view of the author. This time I made no such mistake.
40 minutes in advance, I reserved my seat. In fact, I was one of the earliest to have come. What was a good observation on my part, was that the landmark people had made random workers occupy the seats until the author came. Indians, are famous for making last minute arrival, and the organiser didn’t want Follett’s secretary to see that there was low attendance for the event.
He came, and took his seat. And started talking about his new book Fall Of Giants. Which I did not buy like most people there, because it was too big and looked very historical to me. I, instead brought, The Modigliani Scandal which is Follett’s first book and written under a different name. Also, it was written when Follett was pretty young.
The questions asked were both intelligent and lame. But, Follett answered both of them really well. I mean that was something I learned about being a writer. Getting something interesting and acceptable from shit. The Pillars Of the Earth is his favorite book, because when he wrote it, his publishers didn’t approve of it much. But then, it went on to be a big success. “And it always feels good, when you are right and they are wrong.” Follett said.
He also mentioned about TV Drama being great, but books have to do better. They have to create a depth of understanding, which TV drama doesn’t do. He spoke about how Ian Fleming is one of his greatest influences. And how he found James Bond very exciting.
Another thing, which Follett is known for is writing how a woman feels very accurately. He said that, that was because there were many woman in his family. And they were all strong. Just like his female characters.
The mike went off once, just like every other event in our country and a duplicate mike was provided. I loved this small bit of incident, and thought I should put it in the post. It is not criticism of Landmark or anything, in fact Landmark was kind enough to even provide cookies and a drink which tasted like Mazaa.
In the end, he was kind enough to sign all our books, and some even got pictures taken. I didn’t because it was too demanding, and irritating for people who are waiting in the queue. Happily, I took his autograph and he said Hello to me. I smiled back at him with gratitude in my eyes.
After all was said and done, I roamed around Mumbai and walked like 3.5 kms on Marine Drive. And took a night train back to Nerul. The whole walk on Marine Drive was basically nostalgic because last year, I used to see it every day, for a long long time. It is here that I have ideated a lot on Creativity and Art and my stories like ‘Dear Kalpana’. Which ultimately no one read, but I am still glad that I wrote them. Just like no soul in the world is going to read this post, but I am still posting.
PS: Pics of Follett and his signed book, coming soon.