Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dear Mr Jerry Pinto,

I’m writing again. I know authors like to hear from readers, at least they say so, the un-smug ones. Others do not ‘come down’ to reply. I’m not likely to pick their books again. Readers can be as vile.

I picked Em...in fact, got it reserved in the library and it wasn't easy because for the first two times I went, I couldn't recall the name properly, if I did, I didn't try – it was such a mouthful and, beg your pardon, quite silly for a woman who didn't wear dirty, crumpled salwar and floaters with socks, to pronounce it with serious-looking people who wear blue in their hair and pins in their tongues standing around impatiently shifting their weight from one foot to the other.

I wear 9 pins in my body, no, 7 now after the MRI they couldn't pop two back in and by the time I came home and tried, the pinholes had plopped close. I fear for the rest. In the shower, I keep seeing them flash and fall and look inside and under the pot and other unreachable places. Then afraid I have lost some, I begin to feel, one, two ... and find them all on me. My sisters say I pierce my body because I can’t deal with what I got. Hmm.... Only 9, is it? Shouldn't I look like a pin cushion already?

Back to the library. I wrote the title in block letters at the back of my shopping list and took it to the librarian asking her to please ‘give a search’ – spelling out each letter. Two weeks later, she called me to say that my Hoom or whoever, was got.

I requested Em...only because my Reading Group recommended it otherwise the black cover would not have leapt out at me. If it had, I would have kept it back unable to read the reverse text on it.

But our group – don’t worry I’m not going to add you to it and be unfriended by you because in the first place, I’m not your friend and also because it is called Books and Babes and you are neither – had nice stuff to say. So even if you've heard much nicer lately, this wouldn't hurt, no?

‎’...an amazing book, a true love story! A tragedy in every page, dealt with in a humorous fashion, without making it anything but what it really is - a tragedy! I did read in a review that this is a kind of biography - if it is, one has to admire the courage to expose one's life in such candid terms. It is a wonderful read.’

‘... a lovely read. Made my Saturday despite the book being about a mother's madness, it is achingly funny and very sharp tongued!’

So like I told you before, I glided happily into a low reading some and in the beginning, had to stop after every couple of pages to take it in, to keep my balance. But then it sucked me in and I let myself go. Wonderful happiness! Anyone who’s ‘not all there’ knows – the floating highs of illness, of drugs, half sleep, half dreams...

Imelda, who my slightly synesthetic head already saw as green, the colour of emeralds and so she wasn't one with the rest anyway, Page 100 onwards started to talk about me. ‘a book with bad binding...like one more reader, one more face down on the bed and I was going to ...lose control.’ It always feels like that.  Yet, every time you pick yourself up, dust yourself and look around for who’s watching, polite people of the family look away and pretend they've seen nothing and you have no option but to give the business of living another shot.

‘Long-distance lovers of books who ‘ didn't go to bookshops to buy. That’s a little bourgeois.’ Never read anything truer, nicer. Chocolate wrapper keeper, scribbler, letter writer, one who ‘plighted my troth over a chocolate mint’ ... how poignantly, succinctly accurate could you get!

I would say to another writer that I look forward to the next. Not to you. I know like you do, can't hurry some.

so long, 


  1. http://www.newslaundry.com/2012/10/nl-interviews-jerry-pinto/

    In which he runs down Arundhatti Roy's claim that rewriting is like "breathing the same breath twice".

    IMO that claim belittles her readers. It is like inviting people for a meal and then saying you didn't want to 'make an effort' and just threw some dal and rice together to make khichdi, or if you haven't taken care to make yourself or your home presentable for them. You are just not treating your guests and their time with enough respect, excusez-moi.

    Same goes for those that call their blogs/writing ‘rants’, ‘jottings’, ‘random musings’ and suchlike dismissive. Phony defense for staying in draft mode forever and displaying not enough respect for your reader.

  2. Anonymous5:38 PM