19.5.08

Of meeting the writer of Kane and Abel

I got a book signed by Jeffrey Archer. His latest thriller - A Prisoner of Birth. For which he is touring India at the moment. So I met him yesterday for a one-on-one.

It is funny how first impressions go for a toss.

The day before I was gung-ho after listening to him at a book reading in Gurgaon. He was witty, he was sarcastic, he had a good deal of expressions on his face, he was a good speaker (Add for good measure the fact that Kane and Abel happens to be one of my favourite reads). My attention was riveted. As was that of the rest of the audience of readers which applaused him with unreserved gush. He knew exactly how to woo them all.

With ravings about Indian cricketers to an audience of Indians, you just cannot be off mark. Especially when you say, "I have to tell you all that your Indian cricketers are your best ambassadors abroad".

To top it all, he signed each and every book at the book store and refused to leave till they were all done. Touching.

Then on Sunday morning I met him in The Mountbatten Hall of The Oberoi.I was disillusioned. Not that I mistook him as a man with a spotless reputation. In fact I find men with nothing scandalous in their pasts a tad bit boring!

But what is it with foreigners being patronising about Indians? And paying backhanded 'compliments' about bloody Indians taking over Harvard, Yale, Oxford and Cambridge in the next few years? I am not sure I quite fell in line with old man Jeff.

In fact I ended up having mini verbal battles with him. He was expressing surprise about the kind of considerable audience he has in Japan and India. I raised my brows immediately and said, "What is so surprising about that?" He fell quiet for a few seconds and then said, "I guess I shouldn't be." Then he comes up with an inane sentence like, "But I guess you Indians love storytelling and romance?" Uh!

My hackles rose further. He happened to make a statement on women's wants being simply about dressing up well and going out at night. I was astonished and I reacted as such. And to my indignation, he led it off track and said, "Young lady, you are pretty and you dress well. How many people out there can have the same? Come out with me and see for yourself!" I retorted: "My reference was rather about your making women sound so frivolous." (I probably sounded like a feminist). So he pounced back and said: "Why, do YOU like soccer?" And when I replied in the positive, he said, English women care for neither cricket no soccer. What a nonsensical argument it was.

And what a weird interview it was. Where the interviewer was being interviewed as well. My lord insisted on knowing stuff like when I get up in the morning. And took me aside at the end of the interview and rasped, "So young lady, you will get up in the morning won't you?"

17 comments:

mad angles said...

:)

You forget he's a writer. So he's making mental notes, all the while, just like you.

Who knows, you might be the subject of his next book.

'The pretty girl who dressed well and liked soccer.'

AB said...

Mad angles: He quite gave me a headache. I wonder how people live with him!

Toe Knee said...

Quite like the idea of AB being the next Jeffrey Archer heroine. The pretty lady who dresses well, likes soccer and stands up to the male protagonist. Bet you can sue Archer if his next heroine turns out to be anything like you.

sayoni said...

sue? you can give your own interviews after that :-) I see we must meet while your social calender is still relatively free! When Cal?

Anonymous said...

http://www.ibnlive.com/news/jeffrey-archer-set-to-base-next-novel-in-india/65510-19.html

you might end up being a character in his book ;)

AB said...

Toe knee: Ahem...I don't know about that!

Sayoni: You bet!:-) Cal on May 27. Buzz pls...

Anon: Touche!

manuscrypts said...

he definitely mentioned in bangalore that he'd got a short story idea in delhi, basis an experience he'd had there.. :)

First Rain said...

My, my, my! Ok, I can at least claim to have known you briefly. :D

Hope you are doing well.

Ab said...

hey, first of all, even im ab....

anyways, even i attended a book signing, at chennai... didn get anything signed (im too proud for that, i guess) but i did manage to ask abt 3 questions in 30 sec's in th QnA session....

but i wasnt very impressed with him.... he is a better writer (and a damn good one at that) than a speaker.. just sounds made up to the core!

anyways....

AB said...

manuscrypts: Yeah sure!:D

first rain: Howdoo!

ab: from ab:P I was so excited initially I cannot tell you. Jeffery Archer! Like I have read him growing up. But imagine what an anti-climax:( He had words ready for everything and repeated them ditto the second day that I met him!

The Rock said...

yeah exactly....
that speech sounded like he's practised it for days. and it doesnt help that I now expect everyone to talk like Obama :D

i wanted to ask you.. are you a journalist?

AB said...

Obama and Jeff:D Well!

Yes, I am...

Divya said...

You will get up tomorrow morning won't you?- huhh? Wierd!!! This guy wrote kane and abel? I love the book.. But now the author sounds cuckoo...

AB said...

Divya: :-) If the old man ever knew what I was doing for his rep!

Divya said...

Hahaha oh maybe the interview was so bad he thought you wouldn't survive till the next day... Ok bad joke... Tht was just a ridiculous question to ask thts all :P

rahi said...

wud have ignored that from so great a man. anyways kne and abel is a hot favorite of me as well

AB said...

Divya: I thought so too! Trying to be friendly in the most stupid way!

Rahi: Hmmm...there are times when you cannot ignore certain things much as you like to:-X