The Nagpur book launch had an interesting culmination, albeit four days late. I was on the train, between Nagpur and Bangalore, in Hyderabad, in fact, when my cell rang with an unknown number.
'Hello, is this Manjushree?'
'Hi, this is Mr. V.P. I am calling from Nagpur. What year did you pass out of Somalwar school?'
'Umm... 1986' I think.'
'86? Ha! I passed out in 49!'
Gosh! My mother was just born in 49! Who is this ancient old man and why is he calling me?
'And, I met Ramesh Balsekar twenty years ago!' he said.
'Really? So I am not the first Nagpurian to have met him?' I smiled, beginning to get where he was coming from.
'You are the first Nagpurian to write him in a novel.'
'Yes. I just finished your novel yesterday and I simply loved it. You have written such a lovely book. I had no idea this book is about a seeker or I would have definitely come for the launch.'
'How did you get the book, sir?'
'Ms. S. gave me the book. She also gave me a copy of Life Bliss magazine you had give her. Tell me, Manjushree, who is this Nithyananda? Where is his ashram? What is his life story?'
For the next ten minutes, the poor train travelers in the compartment had to listen to an animated and loud speech (there was an old man at the other end) about my favorite Swamifrom Tiruvannamalai.
'Thank you so much, Manjushree. We must meet next time you come to Nagpur. Oh, and my wife has just finished reading a grasshopper. She wants to talk to you.'
'Hello, Mrs. P'
'Hello, Manjushree. Or should I call you Grasshopper? You probably don't remember, but I have met you long long ago. In the physics department, you had come with your mother to meet Mande Sir (Head of department of Physics, Nagpur Univ.) .
'Yes, I have met your grandmother too. I knew her during the days she was in and out of jail. And I met her again in your book. You have written so beautifully. It made me feel so good, the way you have written about your grandmother.'
'Thank you.' I felt the tears coming.
'No, no, I thank you. Your writing is so lucid, so simple, like its straight from the heart. Keep writing. '