How I Wrote It / Why I Wrote It:
Every budding writer thinks of making it big. Million dollar advances. Critics going crazy or baying for blood. Jealous peers. Paparazzi followers. Interview in the news papers and on TV. Wild adulation. Crazy fan mails. Invitation to exclusive parties. Honorary membership in snooty clubs. Hobnobbing with other celebrities. Joining the rich and famous circles. Standard Elvis Presley fantasies. But there could be a dark down side, or buried wounds behind flashing cameras and exclusive sound bytes. That was the idea that spurred me on....................................................................................................................
The Price of Success
He parked his battered scooter in the dark, deserted basement and climbed up two stories worth of stairs. "Goddamn elevator! First thing to do is to buy a decent house in the proper locality." Overnight celebrity author of ‘PAST ’ mumbled out of breath. The impromptu press conferences after the prize announcements had left him bitter, confused, exhausted and disoriented. This was his first run in with the celebrity journalism.
He saw a dozen bouquets sat waiting outside his apartment door. The sight of flowers soothed his nerves somewhat. The yellow roses in a shiny golden clasp, the daffodils in a bamboo basket, a bunch of pink-red orchids in the ornate terracotta pot and several others. Most of the flowers he could recognize, but not the names of the senders. He put down his leather case, crouched on the floor, and started reading the rectangle tags. One with the blue roses caught his eye.
‘HEARTY COMPLEMENTS AND BEST WISHES FROM
The handwriting hadn't changed since the school days. Same outlandish flourishes to Rs and Ms.
"Hey," he thought, "Kali, you remember me all right, how would you get my address!" He fought tears as he visualized his friend he had not met for twenty-one years. Why has Rosanna not taken the bouquets inside, he wondered. His wife loved flowers too much to let them wither away outside. His wrist watch showed 12.45 . They must have delivered after she was asleep. This courier people must insist on signed acknowledgement, he mumbled. He entered the apartment with the blue rose bouquet from Kali Menon.
Rosanna grabbed his arms and cried out ‘Patrick!’
He took her in his arms, and looked around in the drawing room. Every inch of space, all three chairs, the sofa, their broad arm rests, the battered coffee table, the telephone stand, the window sills, the mantle place, the top of book case and even lampshade and the entire floor was laden under flower bouquets, baskets, gift wrapped bundles and colourful junk. The worn brown linoleum floor was invisible. He accidentally kicked a flower basket when she loosened her embrace. The room held a peculiar mix of fragrance. The husband and wife looked into each other’s eyes.
"You did it," she said in a tear-streaked voice.
"What took you so long?"
"My agent suggested an urgent press conference. It is all convoluted, clever marketing now. I am dead. What I say is through the media, or what they interpret and announce on my behalf. My publicist's fabrications carry more weight now than what I say, do, or feel. I am a celebrity. I cannot be myself. It is irresponsible, too risky. I cannot afford to be me anymore."
"Come off it. There are some telegrams. A citation from the president, can you beat that?"
Rosana, a 41-year old woman clad in faded robe, jumped over the bouquets and reached under the table to retrieve a stack of telegram among evening papers carrying his photos. He read and reread the message from Kali till he could not take it any more.
"Shall I heat up the soup and serve the dinner now?" his wife asked.
"I am not hungry anymore," he said as the room full of flowers begun to close in on him.