I had taken in the intriguing sites of Jaipur five years earlier. My visit in November 2011 was to share
my novel “Blossom Showers” with its reading public. The venue was the Reliance Time Out store at Pink Square Mall in The Pink City.
I particularly enjoyed the event with its constellation of erudite dignitaries.
Prof. Kanta Ahuja, former Vice Chancellor of Rajasthan University professed herself intrigued with the title of the book as unusual from the standpoint of their own geographical setting. She admired the enormous non-fiction elements in the novel and the underlying research that had gone into the content she encountered. She also lauded my writing as a woman in the intimate persona of two male protagonists with understanding and sensitivity. Prof Ahuja was happy to be afforded glimpses of a West Coast socio-cultural setting, as also that of coffee planting in the Western Ghats which was not previously known to them, and also discerned some common points with North Indian culture.
Mrs Meenakshi Hooja, IAS, Chairman of the Rajasthan Revenue Board and herself a prolific writer on public affairs and poetry was admirably eloquent from an author’s viewpoint, describing ” Blossom Showers” as “gripping and un-put-downable. ” She praised the focus on human psychology, which I myself hold to be an intended focus of my writing. I’m glad she intuited it as a realistic work, true to life in depicting human success and failure at the same time. It is impressive that a saga mixing joy with sorrow finally ends on a positive note with an optimistic message, she concluded.
Mr HC Parekh of Mumbai, President – Elect of the International Book Readers’ Association, India Chapter shared his association with the book, right from gauging its promise as Chief Guest at its maiden launch in Mangalore. He found the historical aspects especially appealing, he said. Mr Parekh shared with the gathering encouraging instances of feedback from his Mumbai circle in the wake of my launch in that city.
My concluding speech conveyed that the fertile locations of my novel are different from Rajasthan’s arid golden sands. But these locations have something in common being outside the metropolitan mainstream but possessing a socially sophisticated and aristocratic lifestyle that is not otherwise widespread. I proceeded to share other features and representative extracts of ” Blossom Showers” . An inter-active session followed with interesting questions.
The gathering was an intimate and intelligent one, attended by eminent people such as Dr. Rakesh Hooja,( Retd IAS and author who now heads IIPA, New Delhi), Dr Ashok Singhvi ( IAS), PC Mathur( Editor, Indian Book Chronicle), Rajan Mahan of NDTV, respected academics and Jaipur’s book lovers.
After the event, I unwound sharing aspects of my novel and persona with New Yorker Will Foster who is presently with DNA Jaipur. There was a good amount of coverage, I understand, not all of which I have yet accessed, some of it in Hindi newspapers. However, before I left the Pink City at 6.30 AM the next morning, a copy of the DNA was co-incidentally under my door with Will’s thoughtful coverage of the previous evening. I could leave the city with happy memories of its warm and welcoming residents.