Thursday, October 2, 2008

What does success mean to you?

So, it’s been a little over a month since my first book of poems, Pabulum, got published. Anyway, like any event in life, my journey with Pabulum has been a fascinating one— along with bumps and blocks, it’s been an enriching experience on multifarious levels. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. No. Not even for a cup of coffee with George Clooney:-)

I am definitely exhilarated about the release of the Indian edition over the next few weeks. Not to forget, the book party my husband has organized for this coming weekend. After all, I am a newbie (as Dr. Cox from my favorite sitcom, Scrubs, would say) in the publishing world. Every little action has a high energy reaction from me.

So, several people have asked, “How is your book doing?” A fair question. I am no saint; of course I love it when a copy sells and people tell me they enjoy my work. I was ecstatic last week to read my first review online. It was the most “real moment” in my entire voyage. Having said that, it’s funny how emotions evolve in a moment and the perspective on “success” changes.

A week ago, my older niece, Diya, who is nine and a half years old, gave me the most heartwarming accolade. She said, “Bua, (which means “aunt” in Hindi) I read Pabulum three times in just five days. It’s awesome. When will you publish your second book? Please, please this year. Then you will become famous!” Incredible, right? Not just that. She wants to take my book to her school to show it to her friends. I mean, a nine year could simply choose to read Enid Blyton and Nancy Drew, or emulate Hannah Montana, but my niece chose to read my book. Not just once but thrice. Cloud nine has a whole new meaning in my dictionary. Funnily, it’s not like she understood all of the poems either but that didn’t deter her.

A friend’s little daughter made a bookmark with beads and painted my name on it--as a congratulations gift. That bookmark will always remain one of my most prized possessions. I am nervous using it as I dread wrecking it.

What else? My dad was the first one to officially “buy” my book and launch the celebrations. My mom treated my cousins to dinner to commemorate my small success. My mother-in-law cracks up every time she reads the poem on “Bollywood.” She likes to think I wrote that particular poem for her—given her hilarious obsession with Bollywood. My sister-in-law (brother’s wife) wants to organize a book reading in Singapore when we visit them next year; my other sister-in-law (husband’s sister) was more thrilled about getting my book in the mail than she was about receiving the clothes we sent for her newborn baby.

My brother and brother-in-law have made fun of the name of my book, over and over again, which means a lot to me—it’s their way of showing they care. What can I say; we are a riot of a mad, loving family.

My husband changed his iPod touch’s screensaver from some manly-testosterone-exhibiting- sporty image to my book’s cover. He was the first one to get my book autographed. He did the whole “formally standing in line” with a pen thing.

Most friends and extended family have been an incredible pillar of support and encouragement-- some were the inspiration behind Pabulum; while others ensured that I never forgot my aspirations. Whether it’s the “congratulations parties,” “a toast to your book,” “I am totally buying your book,” or “I’ll try and adjust the babysitter’s schedule to join for the celebrations,” all the gestures hold a special place in my heart. A friend, knowing my love for poetry and Broadway, gifted us tickets to “Romantic Poetry,” an Off-Broadway Show for tonight.

All these folks know that I am no Jane Austen or Virginia Wolf. Writing might be my passion, but I have a day job (the one that pays the bills), so there is only so much time and energy I can dedicate to my word passion. Several of them have heard me say what I didn’t like about Pabulum or how I wish I could change things about it or how I see a world of a difference between my first book and manuscript for the second (I have an offer from a publishing house for the second book). Yet, without a question, people have celebrated or bought my creation. It’s not the monetary aspect attached to the purchase; it’s the feelings and time they vested to dive into my colorful world. In a world of information overdose, people took out the time to indulge Pabulum. They had faith in my dreams when I was hesitant. So, thank you.

The writer in me knows I have miles to go, but the philosopher in me knows that the expedition will be barren without all the people in my life. This milestone in my life has revealed the truth behind relationships and the ways in which success can be measured. I realize that I assess my accomplishment and gratification with human sentiments more than sales numbers.

More until next time.

Copyright © 10.02.2008

“He lives the poetry that he cannot write. The others write the poetry that they dare not realise.” Oscar Wilde


Anonymous said...

aw! aren't you chweet!

Vizzy said...

Loved it. I look forward to you blogs.

Anonymous said...

very touching

BCS said...


Jaya said...

nice one, loved it.

Sahar said...

Very heartfelt! Look fwd to more, my poet friend!

J said...

ALSO loved your latest blog