Monday, December 15, 2008


ESCAPE cover

Last reading, this time in BOMBAY.

Here are the details:

AT: CROSSWORD, Kemps Corner, Mumbai.
ON: Thursday, 18th December 2008
AT: 7.00 pm.

Author and journalist AMIT VARMA will be in conversation with me at the event.

And here's one of the several pieces that appeared recently -- this one has a photograph taken by my sister G, at my prompting, and is a rare example of a picture of me in which I look almost human. It appeared in the New Indian Express and was an interview by Asha Menon. In the newspaper, the feature appears as a very generous spread across the middle page of the magazine section and the photograph is hard-to-miss huge. Several friends and rellies called to say they saw it, from as far afield as Kerala!
AmitVarma & Me at Crossword Books, Kemps Corner, Bombay

FRIDAY, 19th morning, post event
And ... a merry time was had by all! Or so I felt. Despite monstah traffic, high-spirited shoppers at the bookstore and a competing launch hosted by Zubaan elsewhere in the city, the event went very well indeed. Amit Varma of INDIA UNCUT made a suave and well-prepared introducer/discussionist and the audience -- composed mostly of friends and one relative -- were most cooperative, patient (esp about the noise in the store) and attentive.

Jerry Pinto, author, journalist and all-time winner of the Mr Outrageous Award, excelled himself at asking the kinds of questions that other journalists do not even whisper quietly to themselves, alone in a cloakroom("How do the men in your book -- living in a land without women -- get off?").

CROSSWORD provided an excellent space (despite the howls issuing from their coffeeshop MOSHE, on the mezzanine level)(Kiran Nagarkar, friend and author, in an e-message from Berlin, warned me about Moshe, saying that it was beyond deafening HOWEVER I had not realized at the time that this was the name of a restaurant. So I imagined he meant there was a floor-manager who was routinely out of control and screamed continuously from an upper floor, during book readings!)and their compere Algan da Costa -- whose name I have almost certainly misspelt -- was not merely good at his job but managed to absorb the entire book with one glance at the back-cover blurb, enough to ask good questions too!

And after the event eight of us strolled down towards Chowpatty, to SOAM, a restaurant serving Gujarati food for dinner. To my amazement, we were met there by the superbly omniscient SRIRAM (God Emperor of the Crossword chain of books, but no longer part of the concern) who had been sworn to attend the Zubaan event many weeks ago and therefore could not come to mine, found this wonderful method of making up. The reason I was amazed was that our team had NOT decided in advance where we'd go for dinner, so it was truly astonishing to find him not only waiting there, but thoughtful enough to have booked a table for the party, in advance. And at the end of the meal, while the rest of us were tugging out our wallets and counting out change, he had quietly settled the bill.

This was the last of the launches, and I can now look back and say that they've all been good fun, and I had the good fortune of recruiting two excellent author-friends to officiate as introducers. Now to sit back and luxuriate in the aftermath of What To Do Next!


30in2005 said...

Waiting till my next India trip so I can finally read the book!

Unknown said...

i loved your comment "The unreal intersects seamlessly with the real through the medium of thought." reminded me of eliot "Between the idea/And the reality/Between the motion/And the act/Falls the shadow." best gt

Manjula Padmanabhan said...

(note to myself: MUST try and channel Eliot more often ...)

gt -- no doubt all those years spent visiting frienz at TIFR left had an impact after all ...

30in2005, tx for the enthusiasm and I hope you visit soooon! We mustn't delay the long-promised coffee-n-cookies date more than strictly necessary, eh wot?

Anonymous said...

..and what reply did you give the irrepressible Jerry ???
btw, are you the same person who would make those lovely painting for cry cards ?

Manjula Padmanabhan said...

-- I told him he'd have to read the book to find out!!

As for CRY cards, well, I can say that I did do some for them, but not everyone would call them "lovely paintings" -- they were of little girls with flowing dupattas and big bright eyes. If this is what you had in mind, then YES, they were mine! Glad you liked them.

Anonymous said...


I just finished reading your book yesterday.I started reading it in a flight and stayed up into the night to finish it, and I loved it.

But it ended rather abruptly, and I read in JaiArjun's blog (I think) regarding a sequel and also that the sequel will happen only if Escape does well.

Please do go ahead with the sequel because am sure there are many like me who wait to know what happens to Meiji and Youngest.

Thanks once again for introducing me to such memorable characters.Wishing you all the best!!

Manjula Padmanabhan said...

Hello and thanx Dhivya! That's very encouraging. I can never be sure what exactly triggers a writing response -- I am routinely asked to confess that it's wholly based on the sales figurse of this book -- but I am perverse enough to be incapable of performing if I know it'll be monetarily rewarding. But it really helps to know that there's an active interest in the further adventures of Meiji and Youngest ...