In 2004, when I thought out loud with my dad’s wonderful friends, hardly did I know that a novel would come out of those thoughts. What started as a term paper for my creative writing class, was finished in 2008 and since then, Imperfect Mr. Right has been waiting for his moment in the limelight. After sitting in the dark corners of publishing house editors’ drawers and email accounts, Imperfect Mr Right was groomed into a readable book recently by Jayanthi Mahalingam and Preeti Singh at Popular Prakashan.
Finally, in March, the book shipped out to readers. It still didn’t sink in. As I printed out invitation cards, got two very special celebrities lined up to release the book, I still didn’t understand what was going on. There was no time.
The day was less than two days away. I still didn’t have a dress to wear. Wearing my hands-free, making calls to invite people, fighting off mini-breakdowns as I discovered the invites hadn’t reached people I made my way to Palladium. Nomad Wanderer was taking me dress-shopping. The hyper-ventilation reached another stage as I zipped up a pretty but ill-fitting dress. ‘You have to make a speech’ the woman in the mirror told me. The dress was rejected.
But the panic subsided when the golden zipper of the world’s most perfect black dress was zipped into place. I had found the right dress.
Hair rolled up in curlers, my dark circles tucked away under an elaborate layer of make-up, I waited for Ishita Thakkar to paint up my face. By the time I wore my dress, and trotted along to Crossword Juhu in high heels, it started to sink in. This was the evening I’d waited for my whole life. As I was told to walk to the podium from the waiting lounge, the food & drink aisle in the bookstore became my walk down the aisle, or walk down the red carpet. Passing by proud faces of my loved ones who had gathered to celebrate my book, I still wondered, is this how this is supposed to feel?
And then Riteish and Genelia Deshmukh arrived. What makes them special? Do you have to ask? Anyway, Riteish was one of the first few celebrities I interviewed when I started my career as a journalist for Bombay Times. And because the Deshmukhs are an inspiring couple!
The wrapping paper was torn, and there it was, my book. Imperfect Mr Right was unveiled to the world… The restless nights, the anxiety and the thrill of reaching a break-through with the characters all came back to me as they held up my book.
Rest of the evening is a happy daze… The kind words of Riteish, the lovely, articulate words of the gorgeous Genelia and the very encouraging words of Harsha Bhatkal, my publisher washed over me. I decided to junk my pre-written speech and speak as my heart wanted me to. And then my grandpa spoke.
Now, for my grandfather, speaking English on a formal platform is a new experience, and for my sake, he said a few lines in English and continued in Marathi… It was one of the most emotional moments of my life. Moist eyed, I choked up. And then I spotted my dad and my mom in the audience, right next to my closest friends. And I saw the pride in their eyes. It was this, exact look that I wanted to see, I blinked back my tears, and smiled.
At that point there was nothing else I wanted from life. These people, who’ve made me who I am, were proud of the fact that I was their granddaughter, daughter, friend and that was all that mattered. Of course, my boys (read my guy friends) sported ‘I am Imperfect Mr Right’ t-shirts and my girls whispered, ‘I am proud of you’ in my ears, I felt like I was floating on some cloud. Yes, all of you who came, you filled my heart with love, gratitude and I will never ever forget how you made me feel… Thank you!
And after all was wound up, I was taken home in an open-deck bus. Yes, all the way through Juhu, via Bandra Worli Sea-Link to Dadar and an all-night party followed… Yes, it was an unforgettable evening. Thank you, all of you, for making it so special!
Thanks Razzdino for the whack pics towards the end!