This past week has been kind of a mixed blessing for me. As I await the release of my next sure-to-make-100-crore-rupees film, starring the thinking man’s sex symbol, Salman Khan, people who needlessly detest me have taken it upon themselves to fling more mud at me.
A few of them have even dared to accuse me of deliberately baiting people to garner publicity for my new movie. This is patently ridiculous. Only someone desperate for the validation of the very people he constantly criticises would do that. I don’t need to speak for my art. I let my art speak for itself.
Haters Gonna Hate
Instead of continuing to malign me, my haters should be on my side. That the biggest-selling author this country has ever seen isn’t recognised in the West is appalling. It’s even more insulting than Maria Sharapova not knowing who Sachin Tendulkar is. Cricketers come and cricketers go, but books that cost ninety bucks are forever. Actually, they don’t last forever. They’re printed on low quality paper and will be in terrible condition in a couple of years. But don’t be daft. Once you’ve finished a book, what use do you have for it anyway?
My point is simple: everyone should be angry at the West for not recognising my talent. The Western media has completely ignored me for many years now! One of the bestselling English language authors in the world, and I deserve not a mention? Sure, a couple of years ago one of the world’s largest newsmagazines put me on its list of the hundred most influential people in the world. But even I know that any magazine that puts me on the same list as Hillary Clinton and Steve Jobs clearly has no idea what it’s doing.
And yes, I do acknowledge that some foreign newspapers invited me to write a couple of columns for them. I was also profiled in a little-known newspaper called the Wall Street Journal. But those are exceptions to the rule.
Why do Western media organisations ignore me? Mostly because they can’t handle the fact that someone born in India, for whom English is a second language, can write so brilliantly. Another reason is that I don’t write about whatever stereotypical version of India Western readers have in their mind. They are typical foreigners, they only like writers who are critical of India.
Fatwa Don’t Fool Me
No one is paying attention to me because writers like Salman Rushdie are sucking up all the publicity oxygen in the room. Rushdie’s books are a bestseller even before he writes them. He is universally lauded. People love him, for some reason. In fact, Salman Rushdie has never had to face any adversity. He’s always had it so easy.
On the other hand, I had to face so many difficult situations when I first started. I was just a poor investment banker with a moderate amount of resources at my disposal. I was armed with nothing but a well-paying day job, a need to brag about my sexual conquests, and a marketing plan I spent years developing. My story is so inspirational that I have written five novels about it!
Unlike a certain white tiger, I won’t be winning any Booker prize. That’s because the fiction I write is based on reality. You will never find homicidal simpletons in my books. Just regular simpletons. The villagers in my novels aren’t getting massacred by khap panchayats for daring to fall in love. Nope, they’re getting married with everyone’s reluctant permission and moving to a city to open their own agency specialising in inter-caste weddings. In my books, young children aren’t being sold into slavery. No, they’re busy going to a wonderful school that isn’t a hole in the wall run by corrupt teachers who’re literally serving their wards maggots in their mid-day meal.
The Gift Of Me
Its time the world recognises how lucky it is to be alive in the same era as me. Does anyone even know how I changed the world? I did for the English language what IBM did for the PC. I made the Indian publishing industry the way Gandhi made our freedom movement. My books have done for the aspirations of the people of India what the invention of the wheel did for human transportation.
My books are not just books. They’re little pieces of hope that my readers carry around. Every year, thousands of engineers try to get into an IIT in the hope that they will one day get to experience sexual intercourse, just like some of the characters in my books. It’s not going to happen for most of them, but it has given them a reason to live! What other writer can boast of this?
I singlehandedly changed the attitude of millions of young people throughout the country. Thanks to me, the youth of today don’t grow up hoping for a government job that they can keep for life so that it can provide them with a meager but comfortable existence. Instead, they grow up dreaming of making so much money that they can afford to have their own terribly designed twenty-seven floor house in Mumbai.
Can Jhumpa Lahiri claim to have influenced people like that? I don’t think so. When you’ve read one story about a first-generation Bengali immigrant overwhelmed by feelings of alienation, you’ve read them all! Do you think anyone who finishes reading an Arundhati Roy book has any aspiration left? Her readers are probably lying in a fetal position under their organic beds from continuously having to figure out if any of their actions are benefiting the businessmen-politician-journalist nexus secretly running the country. The only thing readers of Jeet Thayil aspire to is heroin. And the four people who still read Upamanyu Chatterjee are probably too old to do anything productive.
Eat My Shorts
I get that some agenda-driven individuals masquerading as unbiased critics still feel the need to find fault with me. What they don’t get is that it just makes me stronger. Like a bacteria spreading a bad infection, I absorb everything that comes my way. If you criticise me, then we all know you’re against me. Maybe because you’re jealous of my success or can’t stand the fact that someone who doesn’t know the difference between prepositions and adjectives has millions of readers waiting with bated breath for every word he writes. Why would I listen to anyone who has a bone to pick with me?
Thanks to the berating I receive everyday, I’ve become immune to all your criticism. You can taunt me all you want, but you won’t get a rise out of me. I am simply going to let your vitriol wash over me, just like they taught me in anger management class. I am calm, cool and collected. I’m keeping it together. Your harsh words can’t penetrate my teflon aura. Sorry to disappoint you!
Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s this Rushdie pillow I need to punch in the face.
Respond to this article with a post
Share your perspective on this article with a post on ScrollStack, and send it to your followers.