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Monday, March 24, 2014

To My Daughter in print

Some people have lots of books inside them, some have just one. I have written a great deal of stuff since my writing was first published at age 13, but where whole books are concerned, I tend to think I belong to the second category.

Many years ago I wrote a book. It was meant to be something for my own daughter, for my many thousand ex students now scattered around the world, and a kind of summary of all the most important things about life and living that I had learnt and have always tried to teach for anyone who might be interested.

The manuscript was gathering dust for a long time. Now, thanks to the patient goading of a lot of people, my parents and daughter not least among them, it has finally seen the light of day. The book (click on the picture for a bigger view) is currently available via the websites of amazon, flipkart, bookadda and the publishers themselves, notionpress. Also look up this facebook page or twitter page. Some of us enthusiasts are hoping that it will eventually hit the bookstores. But of course then it will be a bit more expensive.

So – any reader of mine who was ever really interested in me – go ahead, buy the book, read it, get some friends and relatives and neighbours to buy it, and tell us what you felt about it via your reviews at any of the sites mentioned above, or my website, of which you can become a member and participant. Also talk about it on any social network you might be on, Facebook or some such: that will be a nice favour. It thrills me to see that five copies have been bought almost as soon as the book was formally launched: I wonder by whom!

I promise you nothing except – to quote what I have written in the introduction to the book itself (yes, do please read the introduction too) – it is not the most trivial book that I have read in my own life.

P.S, April 02: It seems the book is slightly cheaper if bought from the amazon store than from flipkart. And now that I know that a lot of people have already ordered/got the book, I am hoping that they are reading it avidly and thoughtfully, and that many of them will make me happy by spreading the word and by writing reviews about the book on the amazon or flipkart pages, or at my own website (links given above). Meanwhile, thank you to all 78 people who have rated the book with four or five stars on the flipkart page: I am luckier than I thought!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Students looking back...

I get strange messages via email every now and then.

The following is something that someone from the ICSE 1991 batch, a woman, wrote recently:

“Last night I dreamt of you… yes, again, after ages.
You were teaching me something very seriously about Cassius’ lean and hungry look. Woke up with a smile. It’s strange how we do not age in our memories and dreams.
Much love…”

And here’s another, from someone four years her junior, a male. I reproduce it unedited.

“I am really grateful to you to have you as my teacher, though for only a year. I presume that you are keeping well.
Sir, I still cannot forget the aroma of the perfume which you used to use in those days. In fact, I was crazy about that but did not have enough guts to ask you.
That aroma was too sweet and so good since our homework copies which you used to check had that sweet scent for a very long time.
I know that it is years together and the topic is not important, but would really love and appreciate if you could suggest me the name of the brand of that particular perfume which you used to put on those days since I shall try to use it forever.”

P.S., March 22: The first correspondent took just a fortnight to sour me up, entirely as I had expected her to. But God, how many of the same type must I still see? 'Would some pow'r the Giftie gie us/ to see oursel's as others see us!/ 'twould frae many a blunder free us/ and foolish notion'.

See why I have titled this blog ‘bemused’?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Life is but a dream

On this day, one year ago, I wrote about grace.

Today, I recall the Bard's immortal words: 'some there be that shadows kiss/ such have but a shadow's bliss'.

And, in another poet's words, 'fled is that music. Do I wake, or sleep?'

Friday, March 07, 2014

My daughter's new blogpost, etc

My daughter has written a post on her blog describing things that annoy her about living in India. Made me sad, but I can hardly argue with anything she has said there. Take a look.

I am thrilled to see that people are now reading my blog from all over the American continents, even the South, where I did not have readers for a long time. I wonder who started the ball rolling?

General elections have been announced, so the country, I guess, is going to gear up for what is really ‘the biggest show on earth’! Everybody seems to be sure that it’s going to be a hung parliament this time round, and the only thing worth speculating upon is what sort of coalition will be cobbled together to stake a claim to the new government, who will lead the team, and how long it will last…

The papers have been full of the crisis brewing over the international standoff centred on Ukraine (some people have gone to the extent of predicting that World War III is looming.) But the same papers are also solemnly informing us that midi-skirts are ‘in’ again this season: ‘too much leg looks jarring, borderline wag’ (t2, p.8, The Telegraph Calcutta, March 6, 2014). I also read an article about how TV makes all sorts of professions look artificially easy for the gullible teenage reader, from physics to law to math. I was laughing inwardly all the time while discussing ideas for an essay in class titled ‘News is not news today, it’s what the media manufacture for us’. I hope my own pupils will be a little better equipped to negotiate the world they are growing up in, forewarned.