Friday, July 29, 2011

Embarking on a journey

I know, I know. I have been MIA for a while. My schedule has been nutty. Pardon me if I haven’t responded to your notes or messages. Or haven’t initiated communication.

So, aside from the day-to-day commitments, what’s kept me buried is the upcoming launch of my novel: Perfectly Untraditional. The formal event is in New Delhi on Friday, August 5 at 5:30 p.m. at the Attic. A week from today.

So…How big a day is it, you wonder? Think marriage, birth of your first-born. Well, for a writer, the launch of his or her first novel is that big. You nurture your book with love, sweat, and blood. Sleepless nights. Uncertain and anxious days. Innumerable hours without knowing the outcome of your efforts.

I didn’t have a mentor or a sugar daddy or any connections. All I knew was that failure wasn’t an option in the dream that I had seen. And if I had to pull 36 hours, somehow, out of 24 in a day, I would do it.

My aunt-in-law in Minneapolis said to me the other day, “I had never thought a child from our house would become a writer. I always imagined writing to be such a distant world. You have shown us that world and done us proud!” I know, makes you want to hug her too, right? :-)

August 5 is the day I have waited for since whenever I could mark the calendar or understand daydreaming. Or aspire for wishes. I even planned what color outfit I would wear as and when my book came out. I bought a pair of Manolo Blahnik after the novel went into production. That was a treat I had promised myself ten years ago. Ya, ya, don’t judge me. There are a few stereotypical girly-girl traits in me.:-)

When my uncle-in-law in Wisconsin asked what prompted me to explore publishing in India when I have been published successfully in the US, I said, “This is the only way our families and friends back in India can be a part of my literary life and our joys. And share in the enjoyment.”

It’s not just my husband who is flying down to India, with me, for the big day. My parents canceled a major event, in their hometown, just so they could be present in flesh and blood to shower their blessings. My brother is coming down from Singapore, representing his family. Friends in the US have asked their parents to be at the launch and show their support.

One of my best friends is coming to Delhi, just for a day, from Kolkata. She could have easily chosen to show up just for the Kolkata reading. But she understands what August 5 means to me. Other friends are taking time off from work, canceling their business trips, helping me create buzz, inviting their friends, dragging their coworkers, sending sweet notes etc. etc. Relatives have been emailing their hugs and blessings. And many of them have promised to be there.

A few of my buddies in India, New York, and Singapore have bought multiple copies of Perfectly Untraditional as gifts for their friends. Some of the peeps in India and the UK have been visiting bookstores every weekend to see how and where my books are available. A few have pulled me out from my dark moments, cried with me, laughed with me, and shared a glass of wine as I whined. I feel blessed to have them in my life.

I use the term “being present” loosely. I don't expect people to stop their life just because August 5 is a momentous day for me. Many folks can’t make it to the main event for one reason or another. I understand. I know they will be present in spirit. That matters to me, a lot. You know, sometimes, despite being physically absent, some people can be present in more ways than possible. A thoughtful note, a phone call, a sounding board, an avid interest, blind support, an acknowledgement or just any of such small gestures tell me I am lucky to have many wonderful lovelies in my life.

Aside from my ecstatic, exhausted mind, the past few months have been a good learning tool for Human behavior 101. When the time comes, people tell you where you stand. While innumerable folks have been going out of their way in indescribable number of ways, few corners where I expected to find nurture and involvement, turned out sterile. Subject for a new novel, perhaps?

My father, many years ago, gave me a solid piece of advice--those days when I was young and naive.:-) He’d said, “Focus your energy on people who are there for you versus brooding over people who aren’t.” He made such a valid suggestion. In channeling our energy towards those who fail us, we tend to ignore the ones who continue to be there. We take them for granted. I wholeheartedly embrace my Dad’s philosophy.

Fortunately, writing is healing, so I don’t hold a grudge. But I have become wiser. I can see who wears my name on their sleeves. Someone said to me, “If you burn once, it was a mistake. If you allow yourself to get burnt twice, then it’s your fault.” Well said!

I will keep you all posted on the next stops on my Indian Literary Journey. I am doing a big reading in NYC tonight ( My friends from out of town and local peeps will be in the audience—so excited. Hope to see some of you there! And I might just bring out my Manolos.:-)

More until next time,


Copyright © 07.29.2011

“There are two types of people - those who come into a room and say, "Well, here I am!" and those who come in and say, "Ah, there you are."” Frederick L. Collins