The Remix of Orchid

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Monday, February 04, 2008

FRANK but not FREE

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Something funny happens these days: I get letters concerning my book "The Remix of Orchid" from people I don't know. They don't convey anything, not even a word either encouraging or constructive; rather they request copies of my book by post. And all of them are requests for free supply of the book.

One such letter conveyed me that the library for which they were making the request was for a group of religious ladies. I know people of Andhra Pradesh are very religious, but what I don't know is how my book will foster their religious pursuit. So I did not comply.

Another request was from a person living in the same town where I'm working. It was a postcard. I thought he would come to me one day knowing that the author lives in his town. He didn't come. So he spared me the unpleasant experience of saying 'no'.

There was one more request from an old person of eighty plus. His handwriting was so ugly I couldn't read much out of it. My respect for his age guiding me, I took help from others. They tried to contact the gentleman on my behalf, but the phone number he mentioned in his letter was found to be out of service.

I could have still supplied the book, but on a second thought I refrained from doing this. The gentleman didn't write in one letter; rather to save his money he wrote four postcards, cleverly sequencing them as 1, 2, 3, and 4. Thanks to our postal service, all the four came together helping me to decipher that it was a request for my book from an old man. Finally I decided: a careless miser does not deserve to read this book.

Another gentleman, a journalist from Ranchi, mailed me about supply of a copy of "The Remix…." I got his order reconfirmed. The gentleman asked for a book with my signature. I sent a copy, but through cash-on-delivery channel. The gentleman didn't take delivery. In retrospect, I think sending through cash-on-delivery channel was a good decision: I only lost the money I paid for the postage; not the whole book.
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By
A. N. Nanda
Berhampur
04=02=2008
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4 Comments:

  • Sir,
    The experiences narrated under this item are as interesting as the stories themselves in the "Remix of Orchid."
    Regards,
    Sincerely.
    B B Mohanty

    By Blogger B B MOHANTY, at 12:49 AM  

  • Thanks Bipin. I'm happy to see you at my blogg and appreciating the post. My other blog has been adjudged as one of the best blogs of India. Drop by at http://ramblingnanda.blogspot.com

    Nanda

    By Blogger A_N_Nanda, at 8:37 AM  

  • Sir,

    It would have been better had you not mentioned about those letters.

    Imagine an old man, living alone in the tiniest room you can imagine.Wife dead.Abandoned by children.And then he came to know of your book.Probably the reason why he wrote to you was maybe he knew you.(Ofcourse you failed to recognise him).Having no money to spare or probably he couldnt go out to buy an envelope( above 80, right?), he managed to find some postcards kept between his books.And then he wrote a request on the only four postcards he might have.He managed to scribble as clear as he possibly could.Hope.That was all he had.Hope.And you ruined it.

    I am no writer.I write the dumbest things you might have possibly read.However, it gives me immense pleasure to know that people actually read and get entertained by what I write.It's not money that drives a writer, its the reader.Wouldnt the knowledge of that old man enjoying your book during what could be one of his last days, made you happy?

    You work for the government.Heard that the 6th pay commission really made your salaries huge.Huh?

    I know you will never publish this comment.But the purpose has been served.I only wanted you to read it.Just wanted you to think over it, if you havent by now.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:28 AM  

  • Now that I've allayed your fear by publishing your post Mr Anonymous, what's next?

    I appreciate your feelings for the senior citizen. There should be more people like you to show the right path to people like us. Thank you. :)

    I'm sure you're not the senior citizen yourself who wrote those postcards to me, for yours English is only too perfect unlike the text I had to decipher in that set of four postcards. In case you're the one you can send me your address so that I can make amends by dispatching one of the two copies I'm left with.

    Now you may try to understand what the psyche of a self-publishing author. In this world of literature and publishing, people who resort to self-publishing are considered to be indulging in vanity publication. Because their creations lack worth they do resort to this demeaning thing. But I embarked on this course because I had a feeling that people were unfair to me and my writing. When people ask for free copies, they indirectly say, 'Look, your book is not going to sell. In case you want to circulate, give us free else go to hell'. So people hardly able to write a sentence of tolerably correct and readable English, who do not bother to convince me why I should give them my book make a beeline, just because I am a self-published author who doesn't know what to do with his creation. It can be interpreted as insult. At least I did it to my discredit(?).

    It's not a fact that I didn't give my books to people. My non-cash circulation is around 20 to 25 percent of the volume and bad credit is to the extent of another 20 percent.

    Anyway, my third book, a short story collection in Hindi, another self-publication is doing well. Things are looking up and that's the silver lining.

    I'm sure you'll come back and read my response. In case you don't other netizens will.

    Oh yes, a word about sixth pay commission. Well, take it as the greener patch across the fence!

    Thanks.
    Nanda

    By Blogger A_N_Nanda, at 9:09 AM  

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