For a really good story about a Seth launch, go here.
The Delhi one was good fun. Reached 20 minutes early after book-buying spree (Thud!, The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, the Gormenghast trilogy (thanks, Aishwarya, for telling me they were available) and two Murakamis) and got good seats, the hordes that arrived later had to stand around looking forlorn. a Media Baron launched The Two Lives, and compared it to Seth’s other works, The Suitable Boy and The Equal Music. The whole rule-laying down thing happened here as well (and the only phones that went off, predictably, belonged to thick-headed cameramen), the audience was one of the biggest Ive seen, and Seth performed really well – in complete command, very good audience connection. Elderly ladies everywhere were tittering fondly, and younger ones wistfully.
Since the Jabberwock was absent, I didnt have to stand at the back and shepherd people away from his drunken catching claws, which was very relaxing; I actually got to listen to everything that was being said, and a lot of good stuff was said.
Questions at the end were as silly as they always are; VS deflected them easily (for example, asked whether he and Rushdie collaborated on plots, he said there could onlybe cause for suspicion if they both wrote of Icelandic hackers who liked whaling)
LONG queue for signed copies, so they asked people to write their names on post-its to save time per signing. Undoubted star of the queue, a Malayali named Darling J——. VS kept her post-it. Darling J——- later went out for drinks with us.
Met William Dalrymple, who said he read the post on the blog about how he reads this blog. Hello again, Mr. D :). ‘So,’ he asked me, eyes narrowed. ‘I dance enthusiastically?’
The Blogger With a Book Deal was present, and was attacked by editors from other publishing houses who claimed to have seen TBWABD first.
Respected Author seen deep in conversation with young lady in Superman T-shirt. Denies claims that he was later seen in red underwear.
Watched, with Hurree Babu, a Young Star of the publishing business do a fabulous impersonation of Famous TV anchor drooling over VSeth in an interview.
So, the way to tell if anyone’s a Brahmo, Bultu once told me, is to creep up behind them and whisper ‘Poand’. If they faint, they’re Brahmos. There was this really sweet artist couple (think Humpty Dumpty with ringmaster moustache and Kantaben from KHNH) displaying a painting of the cover, and an heated argument broke out among assembled literary editors about whether they were Bengali or from the south. There was only one thing to do – I walked behind them and applied the Poand Test. I am happy to report they were not Bong.
Assembled horde of writers, journalists, editors, Australians of unknown occupation subsequently reached seedy bar in Defcol and livened it up immensely. Details cannot be provided for legal reasons. Reached home around 2/230, triumphantly clutching bag full of books. Good launch.