I never really sought to become a good writer, I think that explains the mediocrity of this blog, until, that is, last month, when some random publishers in Allahbad agreed to publish me for some minimal amount of money (I had sent my work to them as a joke!). Now suddenly a book is looming large on my horizon and I’m subsequently sending my work to other, ahem, KNOWN publishers (with the hope that it wasn’t just some foolish act of god or perhaps the internet!)
The idea of a book of poetry has been so alien to me in India that for large part of my life I pictured myself mailing all of my life’s work to Adam Foulds (a poet who wasn’t known until he won his Man Booker for his novel) and subsequently kill myself (for that’d just be more romantic) and have him publish it (for he’d probably have no other work to do). My idea of a poem too was just rhymes that generally just contain no real meaning (like say that song “Smelly Cat” by Phoebe in Friends). People often told me how they never really understood what I wrote (truth be told neither did I). All of it changed that fateful night. There are publishers, actual PUBLISHERS who publish poetry in India and they were willing to take a chance, provided I took that chance with them.
I just realized, this is going to be a rather self depreciating rumbling (because I know little else to do in life), but having had ummm…single-digit number of followers of my blog (who by the way I LOVE) to have gotten a call from a man in Allahbad who is ready to shift the date of my publication by months just so that I have the BOOK (weird sentence) ready by then. It really did help the tiny little voice in me who told me I wasn’t half as bad. I used to tell myself that if Chetan Bhagat can get pulished anybody can. But I recently concluded (after a lot of primary survey), he writes what people want to read. And I write what they don’t really understand. Now under these circumstances do I actually go ahead with the publication? Only to force the 177 classmates of my batch to buy my book, so that many years later, they point at it and go, “Some weirdo in our class used to write shit loads of poems. I never really understood it but you know how it is, you buy it coz the mob does. There is 100 Rs gone down the drain.” Or I spare myself and them the torture and leave these 100-odd vain moments of glory unpublished.