Monday, June 24, 2013

Wondering What's Happened to the Novel?

In case you are wondering what happened to the novel we were crying from the rooftops about, it's well on its course. We have received some encouraging feedback from a Parsi poet friend of ours, which means he didn't mind our calling his community "Parisi." They being a very inclusive community, one of the best we have known in India. We have been to so many homes of Parsis we have known over the years and we like their openness and their propensity to laugh at themselves.

That being so, we are now in the stage of sitting back and reading the novel from a readers point of view, or, a neutral point of view as Wikipedia would like to have it. We forget we are the author (which is difficult) and we also look at the prose critically to see if it hangs together, by the tether, whatever. Several inconsistencies and repetitions have come to the fore, among them several that break the rule of "never repeat a word in the same sentence or para" which in reality is superfluous. We do a lot of that and they have to be - painfully - edited.

Then the novel goes for the final sub-editing. That should be easy as we aren't going to re-write anything, just doing line editing, as we used to do when we were sub-editor. A sub-editor doesn't think. He/she just tweaks language to an acceptable state without introducing any new ideas or concepts. Or, at least, that's what sub-editors used to do in the good old days, we being an oldy and all.

So what's our target, 2014? Don't know. We no longer work according to target. That was in the corporate days we had targets and timelines. No longer. Ciao to all that!  See you around.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Bombay Fornicator - A Distinctive Piece of British Raj Furniture

Searching the web we found this image of a Bombay Fornicator. They are spread on the verandah of the David Sassoon Library of which we are a life member. Truly satisfying is the sensation of reclining on them in the breezy verandah with a newspaper in the afternoons. The long armrests on either sides can be extended to rest the feet also. We would spend many afternoons there when we were editor of the journal of the Bombay Management Association, reading newspapers, magazines and plain watching the traffic make its tortuous progression on the MG Road below.

Then we chanced upon this article about it which cherished the feeling the Bombay Fornicator gives. 

Now why we mention the Bombay Fornicator is with a purpose. Our novel "Mr. Bandookwala, MBA, Harvard" does mention the fornicator at many places. It is the favourite seat of Jamshed Bandookwala who is father of Dinshaw Bandookwala, and elsewhere in our writing too it makes an appearance. 

Though how the name was coined or invented, I have no idea. It will remain shrouded in a veil of mystery. It may be one of the many idiosyncrasies that existed around Bombay at that time, like the naming of people such as Bandook [ gun] wala and Rassi [rope] walla. We suppose these were memes which were in circulation in those days. As we all know memes do spread faster these days on the electronic medium.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

IPL and Criminal Elements, Chota Chakli of My Novel

Guess it was bound to happen. This news items has it that the IPL 6 matches garnered a viewership of 140 million, which is twice that of IPL 1. Our mind boggles and so should yours. And the betting money must surely have been huge. If it doubles in six years what could happen in the tenth year, or, the fifteenth? And a drought was going on in the country, a drought that many people sitting in their drawing rooms forgot. A drought that went unacknowledged.

How did they do it? Was it the "Jabong, Jabong" jingle or the cheer girls.Then what a letdown Mr. Srinivasan. Couldn't you have done a little better? Eh? Court cases, inquiries and all that. God forbid if the inquiry finds you guilty. Going by such inquiries, nothing will happen. We have seen countless Special Investigative Teams (SITs) vacillate, prevaricate, and then sweep everything under the carpet saying nothing happened. That's all pleasing to people who would like to go home and sleep rather than lie down on the cold floor of a cell which is seven by six and wear striped prison uniform, remember Dharmendra and Amitabh? Or, whatever.

The wisdom (gyan) from all this goes thusly: whenever there is public frenzy, there will also be criminal activity. That's also the theme which we deal with in our forthcoming novel "Mr. Bandookwala, MBA, Harvard." The real estate industry is one of the top money-making business in India and it has its fair share of underworld involvement, which we explore in our novel. Our character Chota Chakli is based on one such underworld character whom we knew in our childhood. He is a short chap with a lot of daring. If you see him you won't look at him again, so unobtrusive is he. This insignificance, he turned to his advantage, as did Chota Chakli. He went a different way and we went a different way. Our paths diverged, we haven't met since.

It's a fact that Indian business is guided by such elements who control by issuing threats from abroad. So what do our law enforcers do? What are they supposed to do for godsake?