Dear Dr. Kalam
Hoping this finds you in good health.
I, Anindita Sarkar, a teacher for nine years and a corporate trainer for the last six, am delighted to be writing to you. A graduate of Banaras Hindu University, I started my teaching career in 1997. From 1997 to 2006 I taught English to high school students in various parts of the country, my last academic stint being St.George’s College, Mussoorie.
That was the year when you graced the Sesqui Centenary celebration of our school with your presence. I was the editor-in-chief of the school yearbook then, and with the editorial board, we tried to capture what you truly embody. The excitement that your visit created; your address to the students; your answers to their questions; your photographs with the faculty and all my memories associated with it have been frozen in time.
So potent was my meeting with you Dr. Kalam, that when I made a foray into writing, this visit of yours to the school became a backdrop of my book! My book, Love’s Labor, deals with the caste and communal differences that so plague our society. How the protagonists sometimes bow down, and, at other times rebel against the limiting influences of family and society; how the role of parents defines our choices as Indians; our deference to the collective consciousness rather than upholding individual wishes form the fabric of Love’s Labor.
Please permit me to present to you a hard-copy of my e-book.
I am publishing under the pseudonym of Andy Paula, as Anindita was shortened to Andy by well-meaning friends from my school days!
I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience, Dr. Kalam. My husband, Prakash Chandra, a software engineer, and I will be the two people present for the presentation. And we shall not take too much of your time.
There are some mails we send and forget; others keep us awake. This one, definitely, belonged to the second category. There was no reply from the former president’s office for ten days. TEN HARROWING DAYS! The Missile Man was traveling; he would be back by the 3rd of the next month. Did I actually think he would invite me for high tea the same evening he got the mail?! Aah, the vanities of an author.
It took a couple of calls for the president’s personal secretary to forward my mail to Dr. Kalam’s personal inbox. Duly done. Wait begun.
Good things come to those who wait, they say. And it seems, they do!
Dear Ms Anindita Sarkar,
Ref your request to meet Dr Kalam to present a copy of your e-book to him. Dr Kalam will be happy to meet you on Wed, 03 July 2013, at 1950 hrs at his office No.10, Rajaji Marg, New Delhi.
Please confirm if you are coming for the meeting.
Please confirm? Please confirm?! I have been waiting for a fortnight for just this, Mr Secretary. But then you wouldn’t know the thrill, the apprehension, the excitement, the palpitations, the zoning out that happened on receiving a mail from someone like HIM, or, technically, from his office.
The first thing I noticed about the former president was how frail he had become in ten years. He was as inspirational though, taking interest in the digital format, appreciating how we are saving trees by not paper-printing, fascinated about how global Indireads is with the authors, editors, publisher, marketing all working out of different countries; complimenting entrepreneurs that they are the employment-generators and not employment-seekers and saying all the things a budding writer would take home with her.
Was I inspired to write more, write better? Of course! The moment I come down to Mother Earth, I will…and that’s a promise.