Lazing around on my chores and constantly being updated with my social page, I see the Meet Jeffrey Archer event on my suggestions list – hit ☆Interested☆! And leave it.
I am a complete alien to Jeffrey Archer’s works. I have had always seen his works on shelves during my monthly raids to bookstores. I enjoy his genre of writing, and do own similar books (of the same genre) but his books never got my attention. I do have friends who are his ardent fans; some of them did recommend me a few titles. If I rewind a bit, I did try to read his ‘The Prodigal Daughter’, unfortunately never completed. Last week, when I went for my book-shopping, with Mr.H (he dislikes it, but tags along – ‘the matrimonial obligations’!) and my new found companion in the recent literary pursuits of mine, we did find his latest book – ‘This Was a Man’, under the Book of the Month shelf. The friend and I mutually suggested that we don’t buy it because what if it belongs to a series (See…both of us are ignorant of his works). We discuss about the forthcoming event, but we were doubtful about attending the event.
On the eve of the event, we decide to go.
22th Nov., 2016
The event comes and we decide to go to know more about the author and if possible get a glimpse of the renowned author. Mr.H conveniently ditched us exclaiming about the evening traffic and it will be difficult to pick us and reach the place, but he did say he will join us! The friend and I decided to take the service of Bengaluru cab. The cab driver thought he was in the Furious series, taking his adventurous pursuits in the city’s epic traffic. Mr.H had already reached the venue and I ask him on phone, “Did it start?” and to which he politely replies, “I don’t think so. Well, I’m in this new clothing store!” (Oh yeah! That’s obvious!) Finally, we reach the destination in one piece, approximately after 41 minutes from my place.
It was a nice gathering of avid readers of different age groups. In fact, the younger group is more in ratio to the older group. I was very pleased to see how the young readers are still appreciating the importance of reading. The emcee stalled the crowd for another hour with some trivia Q & A and distributing chocolates till the author came. While the emcee was stalling away, the friend and I took the moment to check with Mr. Know It All – Google: about the author and his latest work. Yes! We were correct, the book we saw, was indeed part of the most famous Clifton Chronicles.
At 07:10 pm, Lord Jeffrey Archer arrives and the crowd goes crazy seeing their favourite author. He is one of the coolest people I have ever met for his stature. It was such an amazing evening centred on witty remarks and inspiring thoughts. A dream- come- true moment for the passionate lovers of his works and for someone like me who doesn’t have a clue and also an overwhelming moment when you meet an international celebrity in real life.
JA even expressed his amusement at the infamous traffic of the city, “A woman walking on the pavement overtook my car eight times and my car overtook her nine times. Two more times and we would have been engaged!” He was also intrigued by our traffic system “how does the white line go down the middle of your car!” He was fascinated by the fact that women and girls in India have changed over the years. He said that they are coming forward to do more and they are hardworking than men. Some men in the crowd made some boo-noises to which JA responded by saying that they are ‘the evil ones and stay away from me.’
JA, lover of cricket, took questions from crowd and entertained us with his wit, humour and charm. Some of his answers were so amazing, I hardly remember the questions.
Q:”How do you deal with a writer’s block?”
JA: “What’s a writer’s block? I’ve never had one…I’ve had problems, but never a writer’s block…”
JA: “My greatest inspiration is R K Narayan. A great storyteller.”
JA: “Write something you know and feel. The best example is RK Narayan from your local town in India.”
JA:”Any well-educated, well read person can be a writer. But being a storyteller is different.”
JA:”If you have talent and energy, you are a King; if you have the energy and no talent, you are the Prince; and if you have the talent and no energy, then you are the pauper.”
JA: “Becoming a Bollywood movie star is a complete waste of time.”
JA gave some life-lessons from his experiences – ‘when you are busy with 2-3 careers, you need to work out on your passion and work hard, really hard. Don’t do something you don’t want to do.’ – to that the friend and I shook our head. To our surprise, JA saw us and addressed us – “I know that feeling!” (Talk about #fanmoment). Yippee….!!!
The session got over once JA started giving out autographs and hugs to his fans. We stood there watched (Mr.H disappeared into the nearby electronics store – and yes! He was with us during the event helping us with photographs. So he needed the break). We got ourselves couple of books from the exclusive Jeffery Archer kiosk by Crossword Stores and patiently waited for the autograph (that was a really long queue).
The JA admirers were just flocking around him for selfies and groupies. We stood near the lift and looked at how he interacted with the crowd – he was brilliant and mind-blowing! And he approached near us (ahaa…we weren’t expecting that – he was going for the lift, of course!) But I asked him, “Sir, do you mind a picture with us?” And he hugged us; we ‘managed’ to get a selfie because they were in a hurry. We were in his arms. What else a non-JA reader could get! After the selfie, we turn around to see Mr.H staring at us –seriously?! We grinned.
We moved on to check out the Christmas decorations in the mall. Christmas has been always my favourite celebration. And we are gearing up for all the Christmas fun and joy (November is almost over, we can officially talk about Christmas .period.) Though 2016 wasn’t favourable in the global scenario, the year gave me lots of fun-filled, memorable achievements, which I am proud of. Thanks to Mr.H for being there for all the rough rides. He is the proton to my neutron.
When we are all hoping for that Christmas miracle to happen, I say let’s believe in the miracle.