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Posts Tagged ‘book launch’

I walked into the airport cutting a sorry picture.  As if dragging a suitcase that was larger and heavier than me wasn’t challenge enough, I was trying to do it with two other bags slung on my shoulders. And five-inch strappy heels on my freshly pedicured feet. And no, it wasn’t so much role-playing Anne Hathaway in Devil wears Prada as much as lack of space in the suitcase. Okay, okay, I admit, I ran short of space even in the large suitcase. But that’s only because I had to carry some Piggies (My publicity person asked me to carry some copies at the last minute).

In short, it which was the complete opposite of the picture I wanted to convey – that of a cool, calm, collected and sophisticated writer.

I presented myself at the Jet Airways counter, where a skinny thing with an attitude of a designer store saleswoman gave me a look long enough for me to become conscious of each and every one of the fine lines on my face. Not that I have any. Well, maybe just the beginning of a talon of a crow’ foot if you want to be anal about it.

“Sorry ma’am,” she says, “Only one hand baggage allowed.”

“It is one,” I said, patting the gunny sack on my shoulder.  “This one here,” I said, pointing to the obviously laptop bag on my other shoulder, “is my laptop.”

D-uh! Everyone knows that with women laptop bags and handbags are counted as one. As long as you’re not carrying any liquids which in my opinion just defeats the purpose of carrying a handbag. What’s the point if you can’t carry a lip gloss or a deo?

“But ma’am it’s as big as a suitcase!!!!”

“So? It’s cabin baggage specs!!!”

“No ma’am you’ll have to check it in.” Inflexibly said.

I shrugged as if to convey an insouciant, “If I gotta, I gotta.” But my heart was pounding knowing what was to come.

“You’re overweight,” she said after a moment. She quickly rectified her unfortunate choice of words to mean luggage before I could pass out from shock. The upshot of the conversation was that I had a choice. Either I could, like, a zillion rupees in excess baggage, or, open the suitcase and ditch the stuff I didn’t need.

Now I knew what I couldn’t do, and that was the latter. One, because there was nothing I didn’t need and two, I only do that abroad when flying Ryan Air. I also knew what I wouldn’t do and that was pay for excess baggage because, well, paying to transport kilos other than the precious few on my body was anathema to me.

My brain kicked into action. Wait, there was another solution.

“Business class has a larger allowance, right?”

“Yeah,” she said doubtfully, trying to figure out where I was going with this. She’d have to wait. I had to figure it out myself first.

“How much goes an upgrade cost?”

She mentioned a figure that was marginally higher than what I would have to pay in excess baggage.

She nodded.

“Do it.”

And so I got:

  1. to board the plane last and exit first
  2. a wet towel!!!
  3. more solicitous stewards, although that can be a pain.
  4. more space, not that I needed any. There’s enough leg room in economy to fit two of me. Front to back!
  5. and….and I got to carry my stuff for free!!!!

This was an auspicious beginning. Things were auguring well for the launch.

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Days preceding the launch…

Should we, shouldn’t we? Should we, shouldn’t we? Should we, shouldn’t we? This was how the conversation between AT, my publicist at Westland, and me went for about a week. And, no, we weren’t contemplating having a same sex affair. It was about something as mundane as a book launch for Piggies.

And the reason we were having this debate was we couldn’t figure out whether we ought not to spend that money in promoting the book through other means.  But then AT made up our minds and proposed not one but two launches! One at the Park Hotel and one at Landmark bookstore, Gurgaon.

And even though the proposed launch dates were a couple of weeks away, this threw me into a complete tizzy. There was so much to do. Decisions to make. The minor ones included the flow and content of the launch programme. The major ones included clothes, footwear and hair.

Now, I’ve attended several launches so I know they’re pretty straightforward. There is usually at least one more person on stage besides the author. And that guest is someone familiar with the author’s work who can involve her in a little conversation. The programme usually goes like this:

  1. Someone (usually your editor) introduces you, hopefully without abusing you too much for the constant annoyance you’ve created for her with your whining, your constant neediness and your adamant refusal to make the changes she’s suggested.
  2. Then you read from your book, hopefully fluently like a news reader on the telly. You keep your fingers crossed that the following do not mysteriously make an appearance: a stutter, a stammer, a chronic lisp or a dodgy American accent.
  3. The guest engages the author in a little Q&A. Hopefully he/she has read the book and asks you questions that do not reveal his/her shocking lack of knowledge about your book.
  4. Afterwards you throw the floor open to the audience in the hope that the few people who are a) still awake b)  not surfing the net on their phones can be persuaded to move their butts and ask a few questions, thereby sparing you complete and utter humiliation.

However, in my case, I felt pressured to do more, deliver more. For instance, I had to decide if I should say something funny, live up to the hype the books have generated. And if yes, then I had to write that funny monologue. So the days were spent agonising about the monologue, writing it and trashing it. The evenings were spent shopping for clothes and footwear.

To be continued….

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Dear All,

Piggies on the Railway is officially being launched on the 24th at the Park Hotel, Parliament Street, New Delhi at 5 p.m. and once again on the 27th at Landmark bookstore, Gurgaon at 7 p.m.

Do try and make it for one or both events. If you are planning on coming, do drop a little RSVP (as an email on the id given on the sidebar) so that the catering guys can provide for you 🙂

Landmark Invite

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