The Remix of Orchid

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Do It Once and Do It Again

The other day when I understood how one should calculate the checksum for the ISBN, I took it to be a great success of my self-learning effort. Then I went on to post a long-winded write-up in one of my earlier posts. But today I realize I was rather haste then. As usual I had missed to read a vital line in the text that handled the subject fairly extensively.

So, what was that crucial line I missed so casually?

It was regarding the changed shape of the ISBN from January 2007 onwards. From this crucial date, it should be of 13 digits, and not the 10-digit one as it used to be earlier.

Now the question was what do I do to get the 13-digit equivalent of my allotted ISBN for the book “The Remix of Orchid”? Yes, I had to talk to the ISBN allotting authority in India, the Librarian, Ram Mohun Roy Library. The lady who responded to my telephone gave me the website: There I would get help from the option ‘converter’. Precisely that helped. My ISBN number was promptly converted and flashed on the screen through the little pop-up window.

Now my new 13-digit ISBN will be as follows:

ISBN 978-81-7525-729-0

My work was not complete with this. The remaining part of the work was how to convert the new ISBN number into the barcode image. So where should I’ve gone if it was not the World Wide Web?

The site I went to locate freely downloadable software was this:

The software “Label Spirit Professional” has a lot of features, but it was also with a label editor. I got a label prepared. Then took the image to the MS-Paint by hitting the printscrn key. So here you are. The barcode image of the ISBN for “The Remix of Orchid” is ready.

But by now, I have finally done my cover design. It looks there is scope, still…. Now I will have to sit with that Photoshop professional to embed my ISBN barcode image at the back cover.
A. N. Nanda

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Picture Speaks Hundred Words?

Does a picture speak a hundred words? Not always. At least if I consider the result of what I posted in this blog yesterday.

While I posted the image of the back page of my book under print, I thought it will be clear and clarify the hundred words I spoke before it. But what came out was a very hazy thing, totally ineffective.

So let me post it again, not the repeat of the same image but the text embedded onto it. In fact, the image assembles a couple of paragraphs inside two boxes. They can be as well posted as text here.

The Andamans…everything is so different here! Its ancient desolation, its splendid anonymity, its inscrutable resignation—all make it sweet and invulnerable. Its difference yields stories for itself. One day a peculiar belief sets in: something is in the making here despite all the semblance of immutability. Writing stories for it then becomes an act of clairvoyance, inspiration, spontaneity, and thrill—it becomes an act of abiding faith. Events get inspired to happen. Interesting, isn’t it?

The stories from the Andamans you always wanted to read but had none to tell you, about mid-sea romance and woes, struggle and victory, life and death and thereafter…
‘The Remix of Orchid’ is the maiden work of prose of Nanda. He has chosen, very intelligently, a theme that few attempt. The Andamans is a place that everybody wants to visit, at least once in a lifetime. It’s a lovely place and people would definitely like to read about it. And I can say this to those who love books: your choice of reading a book on the Andamans should start right here. With ‘The Remix of Orchid’ you will not be disappointed.
-----Ruskin Bond
A. N. Nanda

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Back Page


Designing a proper cover page for a book does not mean chosing a front page only; it means, rather, adding a back page to the jacket which describes the book at a glance. In a way it is a holder of publisher's blurb, a palce to write what all has been told in praise of the book.

Definitely, the purpose should not be to misguide readers. There lies the honesty. Readers are surely more intelligent than a salesman-like author or an unscruplous publisher and they can quickly understand the trick if the back of a book is full of trash.

I understand one thing from the beginnig: readers not only read the books; they read through them.

That said, let me paste here a quick design of the back page of "The Remix of Orchid".



A. N. Nanda




Monday, February 19, 2007

Visiting Old Links


A good thing about this blog is that it tries to keep, as far as possible, a running record of the birth of the book "The Remix of Orchid". There were moments along the course of the creation of the book which I should cherish, but I'm afraid I cannot reconstruct. Blogging was not a thing familiar to me way back in 1998 when I first wrote a story for this project. It is just a very recent addition to my repertoire. So why shouldn't I keep chronicling from this moment onwards?

I'm going to post a few old links to the posts that I could gather. They will build up the archive and maintain the momentum of the blog.

The Remix of Orchid—Curtain-raiser II

He Remix of Orchid—Curtain-raiser III

The Remix of Orchid-I

The Old Design for The Remix of Orchid

The New Cover Design for the Book

A. N. Nanda

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Minor Quibbles

Who says one’s ability to bring about improvement in one’s own work is limited? It’s verily unlimited, or at least this is what I’m getting to realise these days. Yes, I’m talking about the proof reading of “The Remix of Orchid”. After twelve tedius rounds of revision and refinement spread over two years, I thought the text would go straight to the page setting from the file, which is in MS-WORD format. But now I’m stuck with the second revision of the proof: where to put the page number—at the top or at the bottom; where to use a fancy font and where not to; where to start a new story—at the bottom quarter of the page of at its half leaving the rest of the space in that page blank…. I know the DTP technician would not allow me the luxury of revision more than two.

So, I’ve to do everything in this round. And leave the text for sieving at the hands of readers and critics. I churned as much as I could; now is their turn to sieve!

Sometimes I wonder how much of the success of a book comes from its content and how much from its eye-catching appearance. With the perfection of software for DTP and photo editing, there is practically no end to the possible ways of designing a book. There are mind-boggling varieties of paper for printing. Binding, gumming, lamination—there are many ways of making the book look better. So, it is not the contents alone that can make a difference between a good book and a bad book.

The place where I’m located does not have any trade outlet for offering good quality printing paper. So I’ve to get it from distant towns. Onerous, isn’t it?

Internet cannot come to my help here. Don’t they say Web offers recipe but not breakfast? How easy it was to spot on the web a proper image for the cover page , seek the owners permission through e-mail, and get a quick design made out of it through MS-PAINT, and show it to the friends and get ideas for improvement! Now for paper of good quality, the same ease of the virtual world should not be expected; there has to be a physical movement of the real material along the real channel.

This will also be solved. “The Remix of Orchid” is blessed: here everything is inspirational and good things will happen just like that.
A. N. Nanda


Friday, February 16, 2007

Last But Not The Least

The page-setting is nearing completion. The cover page has almost been completed. But then I realised that I've used certain typical Indian words which my overseas readers would find difficult to understand. So why not add a few pages of glossary. Sometimes, appending such glossary makes a fiction look weird, say like a badly designed text book. But it does not matter. I'll place them at the end, without interfering with the main contents of the book. I've space enough in the book to accomodate that.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Finally I created a glossary of around three pages. It's long-winded, yet there is no harm if I cut and paste them here. At least this will remind me later what I understood by those words while I used them.

So here you are, the much laboured Glossary to append to "The Remix of Orchid".


ammabaru :mother goddess in various names, worshipped in the villages of north-east Andhra.

antakshari :a party game where opposite parties have to sing as per the last letter or syllable of the song just finished by the opponent.

bakhar :a herbal ingredient applied in handi for fermenting it.

ban mohua :mimusops littoralis, a type of tall tree found in the rainforest of the Andamans

bhai :a term used to address an elder brother or an unfamiliar person out of respect and informality

bhojpuri :a dialect of Hindi spoken in the state of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, known for its lyrical quality.

bhumihar :a land-owning upper caste in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

boudi :used to address the wife of an elder brother, essentially a Bengali way of addressing..

chechi :elder sister in Malayalam.

chhath :a festival to worship the sun god, observed in the state of Jharkhand and Bihar.

chullah :a stove for firewood.

clouddom: :a non-standard word coined to mean the celestial domain from where clouds appear.

dargah :a shrine of a Muslim saint where people of all religions visit.

dhoti :a long piece of white cloth worn by men that is tied around the waist.

divinedom :a non-standard word coined to refer to the heavenly domain where divine entities are believed to live.

emundi :‘please hear me’ in Telugu that a traditional wife uses to address her husband because she is not supposed to utter his name.

gola :store-cum-sales outlet.

garjan :dipterocarpus, a type of tall tree found in the rainforest of the Andamans

handi :also known as handia, it is a beverage prepared by fermenting rice.

hath ki safai :jugglery by hand.

hudi :a small dinghy, with or without a mechanical propeller.

kalapani :means “the black waters”, it refers to the penal settlement of the Andamans at the time of the British India.

karama :a tribal festival in the states of Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhatisgarh wherein sal trees are worshipped amidst song and dance.

karma :a philosophy that believes that one’s calling is determined from one’s birth and one can reach god or get a better lot in one’s next birth only by sticking to his or her fixed calling and in not interfering with that of the others.

karanvar :in Malayalam it means “the head of the family” in matrilocal tradition.

khaini :tobacco.

kurta :a loose fitting shirt worn by both men and women.

lac :a dark red sticky substance produced by insects and it is used for sealing and manufacturing the bangles.

marwari :a class of traders and industrialists who are originally from Rajasthan but at present available through out India, mostly in towns and cities.

muhurat :the beginning ceremony of a film project, a moment fixed astrologically, when its first shot is taken.

naidu :a village head man.

namaste :a word uttered in welcome while one brings one’s palms together to one’s head as a token of respect.

nanna :father in Telgu.

ossuary festival :also known as kana ha-un, this is a festival of pig-fighting, dedicated to the departed head of the family.

padauk :pterocarpus dalbergioides, a special tree available at the Andamans, strong and valuable.

pahan :village head of the tribals who worships the tribal god on behalf of the village folk.

palash :flame of forest, a tree of medium height that flowers red in spring and where worms of lac live.

punditji :a priest.

ranchiwalla :people who have come to the Andamans from Ranchi, the capital city of the state of Jharkhand or the area surrounding it.

safaiwalla :a cleaning personnel.

samralu :fairs and festivals that takes place around the village goddess in north-east Andhra Pradesh.

signiterate :a word the author has coined to describe a person who is literate enough to put his signature only.

tawanj :a mainlander, in the words of the Nicobaris.

tharavad :a primeval family identity in a matriarchal system.

tola :a unit of measurement roughly comes to 11 grams.

triveni :the confluence of the river Ganges and the Yamuna with another subterranean flow of mythological river the Saraswati. It is situated near the city of Allahabad in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

yavan :a non-Hindu, essentially from abroad (originally the Ionian Islands).


A. N. Nanda




Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The New Cover Design


By now I'm sure I won't have to change the cover design of "The Remix of Orchid" once again. The previous one I fashioned is available at my ealier blog. When I created it I had liked it. Building text patches even for the cover itslf was an idea that had appealed me then. I had made around a dozen of colour combinations, shown them to my family and had almost decided. But as I came closer to the actual completion of the project, I started to feel a little uncertain: will my readers like it? Will they not ask the question: Who's that author who couldn't have patience enough to wait till the page number one to start presenting his text?

That was the time I came across Dorothy's image. I liked it. It was a picture that matched the title of my book. So I decided to use it, of course with the permission of the owner of the image. And here I post the first draft of the design I've made out of it.



A. N. Nanda



Sunday, February 11, 2007

Mathematically Yours

Publishing a book of short stories also involves doing some mathematics. How?

Look, I've got an ISBN number from the authorities for the book. When I receieved it, it read some thing like this:

ISBN 81-7525-729-X.

I thought "X" is something open to the author to put to identify his/her book, say 1 or 2, or 3.... This means, as I understood, I had the choice of using the number 10 times (from 0 to 9) in place of "X" and can go ahead with the plan of publishing ten books. Yes, beyond 9 I knew I would not be able to use it. And I knew an ISBN number cannot exceed 10-digit limit.

But what I missed was that "X" represents a check digit. This I got clarified reading an article in Wiki.

Its calculation is a bit typical, if not complicated. Say, I had to multiply the position number of each digit from left onwards, add such products and then divide the sum by 11. Then depending on the remainder, I had to determine the extent to which the remainder fell short of 11. That's all. I've reached my check digit.

Easy, isn't it?

Ok, ok, I'll give the exact calculation. It's as follows:

10 x 8 + 9 x 1 + 8 x 7 + 7 x 5 + 6 x 2 + 5 x 5 + 4 x 7 + 3 x 2 + 2 x 9 = 80 + 9 + 56 + 35 + 12 + 25 + 28 + 6 + 18 = 269

269 / 11 = 24 and remainder 5

11 - 5 = 6

So, my check digit is 6.

And my book will bear an ISBN number like this: ISBN 81-7525-729-6.
A. N. Nanda

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thanks, Dorothy

The permission I got from Dorothy to use her image, "The Bamboo Orchid" for the jacket of my book "The Remix of Orchid" has really taken my project a little nearer to completion. I just spotted her image at her website "Dorothy Photo" linked at and liked it. But my respect for other's intellectual property right did not send me right away to design a cover page out of the box. I wrote an e-mail to the owner of that.

Wow! She could be so generous! She just agreed to allow me using her image free of cost. Thanks a lot, Dorothy--I'm favoured.

I've since done a quick designing of the cover page and sent it to her. She also liked it. My children, and all at my work place also liked it. And what about my wife. Oh, she has always some suggestions. Now I'll have to give one more sitting with lap top, clicking the buttons of MS-Paint, just to accomodate her concerned suggestion.

But in any case I'll post an image of that tomorrow. Here in this blog. That will be the first image of the blog.
A. N. Nanda

Coming Of Age

"The Remix of Orchid" is going to be the maiden book of fiction in my literary hatchery. I've been posting about this in my old blog and now the time has come when "The Remix" should make up its own home.

So, there should be a housewarming, isn't it?

Oh yes, I must. All are invited. Peep at this site to see what is brewing.

Until then, thank you all.