First of all, apologies for posting so late. The days before the release of a book do tend to get crazy. Also, with this new thing called Twitter, am always tempted to take a lazier option and Tweet rather than blog. However, I am a writer, and 140 characters is just not enough sometimes to communicate all that I want to. There’s so much I have to tell you, so this post will be about a lot of varied things:
- The Book – it is being printed as we speak. I received two copies by courier from the printers just one hour back. This time the cover is a flaming red. And given the price of Rs95 and the somewhat higher length, my publisher Rupa has done a pretty decent job with the quality. The paper is whiter than the previous books, the cover is striking enough to be seen from a distance. It’s amazing to hold your book for the first time. By next week, this will no longer be my story, but belong to the nation.
- The release – I would need to go to at least 25 cities if I wanted to do a proper book launch and interact with my readers. Such a large amount of travel and co-ordinating so many events well is not possible right now. Hence, we have decided to spread my visits to various cities in India over the next few months. At the moment, we are having only two launches (the book, however, is available countrywide). The first, a formal invitation event on the 9th October in Delhi, where Mr. Shashi Tharoor will launch the book. And then, we have a mega public event in Mumbai on the 10th Oct (Sat) at the Oberoi Mall Atrium, Goregaon, off Western Exp Highway at 7pm. The 10th launch has free entry, and Ms Vidya Balan will launch the book and read some fun scenes with me (she being South Indian works well). The Mumbai launch has fun treats – Cadbury’s has agreed to give out their best chocolate Bournville Dark to everyone who comes for the launch. It’s going to be a festive pre-Diwali weekend, and we will have mega fun. So, those in Mumbai and around, do come! Other cities schedule will be finalized soon.
- My mental state – I am nervous, excited, buzzed, calm, crazy, sensible – everything all at once as an emotional soup churns in my head. It is my fourth time, but some things never change. My neurosis before a release is one of them. If I think about the pressure, I will go nuts. So I try to relax, play with the kids, watch movies, tweet and keep my mind occupied with anything other than the fact that 400,000 books are being circulated across the country and soon everyone’s going to have an opinion on it.
- Columns – as some of you may know, I’ve started doing columns for Times of India and Dainik Bhaskar, the leading English and Hindi newspapers of the country. The newspapers have a readership of 2 crores each, a sizable audience. They’ve given me an excellent platform on their editorial pages to talk about national issues. The idea was to make young people read the edit page again – a tough ask, but just the challenge I wanted. A part of me has always wanted to contribute to change and make a better, modern India and this is a tremendous opportunity. I’ve had a great reaction so far and the country’s top leadership is reading my thoughts, which basically echo what young India thinks. I am glad to be part of that necessary communication chain.
- Films – After 2 States, there is another exciting thing waiting. 3 Idiots is almost ready and will release Dec 25. When I wrote FPS in office pretending to work while my boss watched, I had no clue this will lead to Aamir Khan being busy for a year. Wow! What a destiny that story has had. Of course, as you may know, the plot of FPS and 3I is indeed quite different. However, the film is based on the book and the setting, characters, premise, theme, message and most importantly the soul, is similar. I am hoping the message of the book will reach a lot more people after this movie. I will talk about 3I more later. Apart from 3 Idiots, we are also working on an exciting adaptation of 3 Mistakes. The 3 Mistakes movie has not been titled or casted yet, but we have a pretty good script now. Abhishek Kapoor, the director of Rock On, is one of most sensitive and brilliant directors I’ve met. Him, along with Pubali Chaudhri (who also co-wrote Rock On) and me are working with Excel Entertainment (Farhan Akhtar, Ritesh Sidhwani) to make a modern epic. Can’t give more details for now, but look out for this one.
- What’s next? – This is something I can’t answer as my mind is totally absorbed by 2 States. After that, I have to think. I no longer work in the bank, as I felt I had to get over the lure of money and go after what I really cared for. My next project will most likely be a screenplay. But to know what exactly it will be, I need to get away and get in touch with myself again. I am planning to go out of the country after the release of 2 States, and clear my head. The immense attention, while amazing and necessary at one level for a public person – tends to distort reality. Rather than bask in the glory of the release, I need to pray more, do more yoga and come up with more positive intentions so I can figure out what to write next. I will stay connected though this site, but otherwise will ask for your support when I go through that phase. I think my sojourn will last two months.
Thank you for your comments and support. Just like me, I am sure you have your own joys, struggles and choices you have to make on a daily basis. Best of luck with that. Face life with a sense of humor, and the joys become higher. Don’t be serious, be sincere. And say a little prayer for 2 States if you can.