Sunday, October 15, 2006

How to become an acclaimed Indian author

After Kiran Desai won the Booker this year, and the resounding success of leading lights like Anita Desai, Arun'dirty' Roy, and Kaavya Vishwanathan, I've been wondering: "What exactly does it take to become an acclaimed Indian author?" Well, here is what you need to do:

- Be of Indian origin. (Well, this one is a no-brainer.) At the least, fake it.

- Immigrate to the US, or to the UK. Or better still, have your parents immigrate when you are hardly speaking

- Write about one of the following topics:
* How your Grandmother was married off at 12
* How your mother (or yourself) was never allowed to date a guy
* How your grandparents arranged your parents' marriage
* How your grandfather always had the last word in everything
* How your grandmother, mother, aunts behaved
* How you never kissed a guy till you reached the US (or the UK)

- Now, praise the US and the UK for being the free societies they are, in which, thanks to the grace of the Lord merciful, you can actually kiss a guy! (Even if you are one!!!)

- Lambast western capitalism. Fly in business class to attend World Social (sic) Forum meetings to rant against the wealthy.

- Wait until the Guardian or the New York Post publishes a review of your work.

Lo and behold, in no time, you'll be one of the grand candidates for the Booker, the Nobel, or what have you.


Anonymous said...

And if you are o fIndian Origin ......

Be a 'rationalist' without any rationale OR a self-proclaimed iconoclast.


Srikanth said...

wow i enjoyed this post.

After i heard this news , first info that i was trying to search was whether she lives in India :-). sometimes i think whether they consider themsleves as Indians in the first place.
Also we should thank our media for the hype they give to these authors after they win some awards.

Anonymous said...

LoL... The post had me in splits. Nice one gops. And u forgot one more thing to do. Borrow huge part of the book from some other book (Kaavya Vishwanathan can explain more abt this ;) )

Have to agree with srik. The media hypes up anything and everything. The same hype was created when Amartya sen was given the nobel prize. I thought he must be a prof in some uni in kolkata, only to search and see that he is staying outside india since 1971.

Media created one more hype during the recent football world cup. Some player of Indian origin was in French team, and TOI(mother of all the hype creators) wrote an article on him, concluding whenever Vikash Dhorasoo will be on the pitch, the whole of India will be with him. Gr8, this guy is born in France, brought up in France and is in the French team. Just because his forefathers were from India, why should the whole of India be with him??

God knows when the hyping stops.

Roshan Kumar said...

Very well said, Gops. :-)

H said...

Gops, fully agree with you :)

Gops said...

Sumant, Srikanth, Arun, Roshan, H,

Thanx for all your comments (and compliments)!

Nice quote, Sumanth.
Arun, Srik, Yeah, this media only survives on hype. The only notable exception is the Indian Express. The football story was particularly sordid!

Mithun said...

I haven't read any of the authors you've mentioned, so I'd better reserve my judgement. Except maybe for Arundhati Roy. I've heartily enjoyed what little I've read of her work (essays, mostly). She has a certain flair. I haven't attempted "The God of Small Things", because if I find myself interested in that sort of literature, I'd know that I've crossed an important line.

Vikram Seth's another. I've only read his poetry, AFAICR. Enjoyed that as well.

What you've listed is almost exactly what comes to mind when one says "Indian author", now... Either that, or the pretentious garbage a la Shobha De. And that's a shame, because people like Vikram Seth don't fall among that lot.

Srikanth, "consider themselves Indian" is such a... well, difficult phrase. It implies that you have a definition. I (respectfully) take it, sir, that you consider yourself Indian. I'd be intrigued to know what your definition is.

Gops said...

I'd say Vikram Seth is the exception. Arundhati Roy is a great writer, she conjures up very powerful imagery in all her writings. No qualms about that. However, her topics are crappy, as are those of all the new worthies...Anita whatever, Kavya Ms. Plagarism, and Jumping Lahiri. I've read a few of their books, particularly when I was in the US, and gender-barriers in India was all they would talk about. It is as if 'Victorianism' is India's sole claim to fame.