Yesterday afternoon I went to a 'Meet the Author' session at Deloitte, Madhapur, as part of their reading month. I was invited to this event by Maliny Raju, (friend of Ram's and Sheila's and now mine as well), and I was to spend an hour at Deloitte, reading from the two novels and interacting with the audience from 3 pm to 4 pm. It was a new experience, or at least, a different one because I never did a book reading in a corporate setting as part of a Meet the Author session.
As in all IT offices, the security was very strict, grim faced and military like. They checked the underside of the car, waved me inside, asked me to reveal all metallic items on my body, scanned me, took my photograph and gave me an id card that was valid for an hour and a half. Maliny was there at the reception and soon after they let me in, we walked into what seemed like a gigantic food court with large screens flashing news on NDTV. Why anyone wants to watch news while eating is what I don;t understand. And then you complain of stress!
Anyway, this was a nice cozy place where the reading was to be, and we settled down while the event was organised. I met Vidisha who came down to say hello and we chatted until the program got started. We started about 15 minutes beyond time and then after a brief intro by Maliny, I was handed the mike and asked to take over.
I introduced myself again, something which I think sets the framework for my talk better, spoke about how I got started on writing, how I wrote my first published work 'The Men Within' and then 'If You Love Someone...'. And then I read a piece from TMW and asked the audience to read out a part as well, since it was their reading month. Shalini volunteered first and did a fine job, followed by Smriti and Ayana and one other young lady, a writer herself - thank you all for sharing my burden with me and reading so well.
A small Q & A session followed, during which many probing questions were asked about writing, getting published and so on. I liked the quality of questions, they were very focused. We had a small book signing session after that during which I met some more people form the audience, Aditya, the poet lyricist, Sourabh, Krishnan, Debranjan, Lavanya, Anu (there were two Anu's), Shailendra Gupta (I signed for his son Anshuman who is a cricket buff, and Arushi his daughter and his other son whose name also begins with A..I forget) and some more names I cannot recall right away.
I, however, forgot to sign Maliny's copy which I intend to, at the next opportunity.
Thanks Maliny and the team that put this show together, Naren specially, and all those who came down. I had fun and I hope you enjoyed yourself too!