The ray of the midday sun was blistering as my husband and I went out of the restaurant but we were not minding it at all. We were having an enjoyable Sunday . Also, we just had a delicious Italian lunch and a delectable cheesecake platter for dessert amidst jokes and banter. Hand in hand we strolled along the shops of a popular South Delhi shopping complex. We were about to enter a bookshop when I felt my husband tugging my hand urgently.
” Honey!” He exclaimed. Half of his body was still outside the glass door of the shop.
I turned to look back and saw him greet a woman who was walking past the shop with a tall man.
I was about to greet them also, thinking they were some artist friends of his but when the woman turned her head towards me, I felt a jolt of recognition.
” Oh, it’s Arundhati Roy! ” I exclaimed excitedly. I felt so embarrassed afterwards but still could not believe that I saw one of my favorite authors. You know what a book nut I am. I feel like a groupie of a rockstar band. Arundhati Roy wrote The God of Small Things and Listening To The Grasshoppers. She won Booker Man Prize for the God of Small Things but she gave away the prize money and royalties from the book to a group, protesting about the construction of a dam that will destroy their village. She was also a staunch defender of the Maoist rebels’ human rights which almost placed her life and liberty in danger. As my husband said, ” That woman has balls.”
My husband was excited for me too. He used to see Arundhati Roy having a meal in his favorite South Indian restaurant back when he was single and living near that area. He never bothered her ever. We are both keenly aware that some people might hate having their privacy invaded. But knowing how I admire this writer and how I love her books, he could not resist calling my attention right there and then. Arundhati Roy did smile and acknowledge our greetings.
I was still relishing this amazingly,unexpected surprise when we saw her again inside the video store we went into. She was right there beside me browsing the movie selections. I was dying to introduce my self and speak to her but all the things popping in my head sounded so inane and juvenile I could not utter a word. I was beside her for about ten minutes staring absently at the movie titles in front of me. I was trying to find the right moment to express my admiration for her writing but I kept worrying that she might not want to be disturbed. If she was giving a speech in a book conference then maybe she would be incline to talk about her work not when shes’s spending a quiet Sunday afternoon with her friend. Sighing, I watched her, mutely, walk away from me. I hope I will have another opportunity to meet her again. I will prepare my cue cards of questions and possible topics to discuss with her right away, just in case! ( hehe)
-JMKhapra copyright 2013