In our lives, there are a few moments of homecoming that we live for- the book launch and tour were one of those! To all my family and to friends who are like family- the book launch evening was yours- for believing in our stories and for not giving up on me even after I left many years ago.
Gulmohar Hall at Indian Habitat Centre was filled to capacity and FIVE Guest of Honour who had been a part of my growing-up years launched Peacock in the Snow in the Indian Subcontinent.
The 5 Guest of Honour were:
MIKE PANDEY ( Celebrated Green Oscar Winner, Film Maker), MAHARANI GITA DEVI OF KAPURTHALA ( Queen of Kapurthala) , AMBA SANYAL ( theatre and film actor, author, designer, artist), MADAN BALA SINDHU ( renowned Punjabi folk and theatre singer), DR.DEEPALI KAPUR ( counseling psychologist, Apollo Hospitals).
Since all the chief-guests knew me as the cover of a book, they had known me since childhood, I knew that the usual ‘rehearsed’ answers wouldn’t work with them. In fact, the usual media messages just weren’t going to work with anyone there. What fun! Collectively, our discussions ranged from the cathartic, humorous, honest, brutal- and all shades in between. This audience had more to contribute to the panel discussion that followed the launch than I could ever ask for! To my vivacious host, Nupur Awasthi, and to Rashmi Menon @Amarylllis Publications who made this possible.
Peacock in the Snow- saved me. It was born at a time when I was having doubts about every decision I had made in defiance, every advise I had ignored and every safe path I had rejected. It humbled me in ways that I am yet to fathom and preserved my faith in humanity. Today I have deep gratitude in my heart for everyone- on both sides of the globe- who accepted this story, provided critique and walked with me on each page.
The panel, The Heart of the Story: was presented in front of approximately two hundred and fifty audiences. In the labyrinth of stories, how do writers find the core truths they seek to embody in their narratives? In a session of readings and conversations, this panel discussed the identification of characters, appropriate form, and structure to give voice to their work. NATIONAL BROADCAST: Fever 104 FM- A Conversation on ‘ Baatologist Stutee’ hosted by immensely popular RJ Stutee was broadcast nationally to 2 million listeners – between 18 and 34 years. At the end of the show was a lucky draw. The phone rang off the hook when attentive listeners called in to claim their free copies of Peacock in the Snow – which went out like wildfire within minutes.
DELHI GYMKHANA LITERARY FESTIVAL PRESENTATION – Presented in front of a packed audience Yes, of course, we went over the time limit with the endless, entertaining questions from politics to the Canadian economy, geography, demographics and everything in between. Gymkhana holds a special place in my heart. During my growing up years, after school on my way home, I stopped by here every day for a quick tennis game or a swim, to grab a library book, swig to their live band or meet a mentor on one subject or another. It was always a home away from home and without presenting here my book tour would not have been complete. A special thanks to Rashmi Menon, my Indian publisher who moderated this event, to the Librarian who remembered me as the girl who talked constantly and to the Book Club secretary Mr. Suresh Goel who fit this in within such an impossible timeframe.
GRACIOUS LIVING FOUNDATION – This was my last event one day before I flew back. Another packed hall and many interesting questions and a lavish lunch at Meera and Jasbir’s.
Despite the frenzy of traveling and presenting at different locations, I was adamant about snatching a few moments to flirt with my memories, make new ones, and relive the magnificence and magic of the East. With my friends back home, I constantly shared this kaleidoscope of happenings, events, and peoples. But most importantly I bought back so much more wisdom than I had gone with and so many tales to share in Canada!